Most children dread going to the doctor’s and can’t seem to overcome the white coat fear. They become nervous and stressed before visiting their doctor and make parents anxious too so going to the doctor’s becomes a nightmare for many parents and children. One doctor understands this and makes coming to her practice both fun and educational.

The importance of good eating habits

Dr. Nimali Fernando is a pediatrician whose practice ‘Yum Pediatrics’ is located near Washington D.C. The ‘yum’ part of the name, of course, comes from the fact that this institution is half doctor’s office, half kitchen.

The medical area includes exam rooms and a waiting area. In these rooms, Dr. Fernando does the theoretical part of explaining to parents and children how crucial it is to eat nutritious meals. Then they move to the kitchen for the practical part; she teaches them how to prepare those meals. Fernando says she aims at helping children establish healthy eating habits and inspiring parents to prepare nutritious meals with organic ingredients they have in hand.

Obesity in children

Dr. Fernando said she first started to think about what kids eat after learning about and seeing the number of obese kids in the US nowadays. Apart from that, she analyzed some of the symptoms in kids who weren’t overweight and found a lot of them had something to do with the diet of her patients.

To enlighten parents and children, she started her own blog and website and also co-authored the book ‘Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parent’s Handbook’.

She posted recipes on her website and instructed parents to take a look when she didn’t have enough time to go through all that with them in the office. She also developed a curriculum for preschool teachers to introduce nutrition lessons in their classes.

A private garden

The clinic has its own garden where organic food is grown. All recipes are budget-friendly so that’s another reason parents are loving it. Young patients, their parents, and community members come to cook with Dr. Fernando and her team, using many different tools that make cooking a fun experience. The children can visit the garden, grow, plant and harvest food and that is how they grow to like cooking because they get to prepare their own food.

Parents also love what Dr. Fernando is doing and state they also started eating better and more nutritious meals.

All recipes taste-tested

According to Heidi DiEugenio, Dr. Yum co-founder, all recipes that are posted online are tested by the team members and their families and that they get real feedback from other families. DiEugenio says that, with all that is going on in the media and the fact that we live in such a busy world, children rarely eat healthily. Parents are either too busy or too lazy to prepare nutritious meals. Kids think of fast and processed food as something great so parents often just want to make their kids happy and therefore give them such meals. The Dr. Yum project aims to change the culture around kids’ food. The team hopes that they would start a wave and inspire other pediatricians in the country to do something similar.