This is one of the best books I've read about nutrition facts.  Ms. Dorfman encourages parents to become Nutrition Dectives by knowing What's Eating Your Child.  Ms. Dorfman wants parents to learn how to watch for symptoms and analyzing your child's ailment.  Ms. Dorfman's book informs the reader about vitamins, minerals and supplements that will help any child have energy, be more motivated and help boost school performance.

What’s Eating Your Child?
2011, Workman Publishing Co. Inc.
Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND

Dr. Natalie Geary, pediatrician, says this about Ms. Dorfman, “Nutrition is the key to so many underlying issues in child development and behavior.  This book is a great resource for any parent.”

Richard E. Layton, MD, pediatric allergy specialist, says, “She is a true Sherlock Holmes.  Her ability to listen to a history and use her common sense, brain, and intuition to determine the source of a problem is truly remarkable.”

About the Author

Kelly Dorfman grew up with Amish grandparents that had very traditional practices especially around the holidays.  However, her mother didn’t like to cook so she relied on can vegetables, potatoes and dried out meat which she overcooked for dinners.

Ms. Dorfman says fast food was never allowed and soda was only for special occasions. She ate fruit because it was good and easy. Ms. Dorfman became interested in nutrition when she went away to college. She was appointed by the governor to serve on the Maryland Board of Dietetic Practice.


Book Index


Part 1:  Nutrition Detection At Work
            1.         How Important is Nutrition, Really?
            2.         Becoming a Nutrition Detective
            3.         The Conundrum of Picky Eating
            4.         The E.A.T. Program.  What Is It and How It Works

Part 2:  When the Body Behaves Badly
            5.         The toddler Who Could Not Stop spitting Up
            6.         The Girl Whose Tummy Always Hurt
            7.         The Case of the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow
            8.         The Little Colon That Couldn’t
            9.         A Case of chicken Skin

Part 3: Kids & Their Many Moods
            10.       The Child Who Wouldn’t Fall Asleep
            11.       Hyper & Annoying: Otherwise Known as Tyler & Oscar
            12.       The Bipolar Child Who Wasn’t
            13.       The Worrier

Part 4:  Learning & Behavior in Kids
            14.       Two Cases of Chronic Ear Infections
            15.       The Tales of Chuck and Dale
            16.       The Child Who Couldn’t Speak in Sentences
            17.       The Overly Sensitive Child
            18.       Frequently Asked Questions

Forward by Dr. Richard E. Layton, Pediatric Allergy Specialist

Basic Nutrition Facts

Good nutrition helps the brain and body grow and develop at its optimum.  Nutrition plays a part in how well your body fights illness and produces energy.

A 2010 study showed that 40% of consumed calories for 2 year olds to 18 year olds were in empty calories of pizza, soda and cakes, cookies and granola bars.

Source: (J. Reedy and S.M. Krebs-Smith, “Dietary Sources of Energy, Solid Fats and Added Sugars Among Children and Adolescents in the United States,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110no.10 (2010) 1477-1484.)

Suggest daily vitamin requirements for children are:

  • Vitamin C         100mg
  • Vitamin E         DV recommended amount
  • Vitamin A         no more than 2,500 IU
  • B Vitamins        B1, B2, niacinamide,  B5, B6, folic acid,                              B12
  • Calcium - At least 800 – 1000 mg in addition to daily intake of dairy products
  • Minerals - Zinc, Selenuim, Magnesium, Chromium
  • Vitamin D - At least 800 – 1,000 IUs, especially in the winter months

When buying vitamins avoid:

  • vitamins which contain fillers such as gluten, dairy, soy and food colorings and flavoring.

  • gummy vitamins because these are filled with sugar and don’t often contain the B vitamins.

BEWARE!!  Iron interferes with antibiotics.  If you have been prescribed an antibiotic and are taking vitamins with a high dosage of iron (prenatal vitamins) stop taking the vitamins so the antibiotics can work.

Fiber Requirements:

Constipation results in the lack of fiber.  Fiber can be found in fruits and vegetables.  How much is enough?

  • 1 – 3 years old                             19 grams per day
  • 4 – 8 year olds                             25 grams per day
  • 9+ year olds                                30 grams per day

Essential Fatty Acids:

Essential fats are the Omega 3’s and Omega 6”s.

EFA’s or essential fatty acids cannot be made in the body; they must be eaten.  EFA’s are found in red meat, nuts and seeds.  Without getting too technical, let me explain why essential fats are so important.

25% of fat in our brain is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). This is called the “good fat” and is essential for the development of our brain and eyes.  Developing babies and breast feeding infants will gain this essential fat from their mother’s food intake.

AD/HD, dyslexia and other behavior and psychological problems may be linked to deficiencies in the essential fatty acids.  If the body doesn’t get enough of EFA’s, it will take what it can from the other inferior fat sources.  Since EFA’s are used to build the cell walls, it is important to eat the right kind of fat.  If a weaker fat is used because the only fat available is the bad fat in junk food, then the cell walls will be weak and easily destroyed by sickness or disease.

Scaly, chicken skin and dry skin, dry hair, excessive earwax, excessive thirst or no thirst, toe walking and eating butter alone are all signs of a EFA deficiency. 

If any of the above is apparent, start taking a EFA supplement immediately.

Where do I get Omegas?

Foods that contain essential fatty acids: pistachios, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts and humus (sesame seed butter).

  • Make sure the EPA and DHA make up at least 50% of the total fish oil concentrate that is listed on the vitamin's label. 
  • 1000 mg of the omega’s or 2 servings of fish per week is all that is needed for therapeutic use.

NOTE:  If the fish oil is too strong tasting for you or your child, then mix it in pudding.  You can by fish oil that in individual packets which is like an orange pudding.  It is just a spoonful so no real harm is do when compromising trying to get the fish oil into the body.

Zinc Deficiency
Zinc deficiency causes suppressed appetite and smell and taste acuity is hampered. Zinc is needed for the production of the growth hormone and a deficiency in zinc could lead to short stature.

Zinc deficiency causes children to be poor eaters because food smells bad or tastes bad.  For instance, a banana may taste sour or cooked onions smell like vomit.  Children react to a zinc deficiency in 2 ways: 1) children will stop feeling hungry or 2) some become so hungry they overeat.

Some medications and
environmental toxins prevent zinc from being absorbed.

Zinc is found in meat, nuts, and seeds.


Ear Infections, Autism, Learning Difficulties and Auditory Development

Most children get at least one ear infection as an infant or toddler.  The number of children with developmental challenges and chronic ear infection are rising.  WHY?

According to Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND in her book, What’s Eating Your Child, says there is a correlation between ear infections and when children are put on milk.

Auditory processing development’s critical time is from birth to 3 years.  If a child has ear infections during this time, then s/he is missing out on auditory development, a time where a child is learning to discriminate different sounds as well as imitate sounds.

Ms. Dorfman also sees a correlation of ear infections to a child with ADHD.  As a child grows, the infections often move from the ear to the sinuses.  Allergies of many kinds are usually present as well.

Picky Eaters:

Picky eating can be a sign that your child is not getting the nutrients s/he needs. Picky eating, especially at an early age, should not be ignored.  Colic, spitting up and reflux in babies can be a sign that the child is not getting enough nutrients especially if you are using formula. Picky eating may be a sign that your child has a food allergy or sensitivity.

If your child is a picky eater it may be because the food he is eating makes his stomach hurt.  The hurt may be so slight that he doesn't make a big deal out of it.  Instead of telling you that his stomach hurts he may just say he doesn't like it. So he gets turned off from all foods that are associated with what he ate and hurt his stomach.

Studies have been done on twins to determine what effect eating behavior has on a child’s development.  Verbal development is hindered most by a child’s picky eating.

A picky eater gets emotional when asked to eat something else.  This may be because he isn’t getting the nutrients he needs from the food he is eating to feed the brain.  The essential fats affect the development of the brain and are calming.  Since a picky eater isn’t getting these necessary essential fats and vitamins, he will be very emotional when he is expected to eat.

When a child’s neural network is out of balance and the body is not receiving the nutrients needed, it builds a weaker system based on what nutrients are coming into the body.  For example, consuming the wrong kind of fat from chips and fried foods will make cells weaker.  Therefore, the nerve membrane is less able to process and interpret incoming signals.

Zinc improves taste and sense of smell.  Children who are picky eaters usually have low or no zinc levels.

The 3 A's:  Autism, ADHD and Allergies


Ms. Dorfman also reports that research shows that children with autism have a higher number of ear infections than the typical child. Researchers have also found that children with autism have immune deficiencies.

Another correlation can be drawn between ear infections and autism. Scientists aren’t saying that ear infections cause autism but combined with genetic factors, environmental triggers and food allergies an ear infection may send a child into that closed off world.


One symptom of ADHD is the inability to stay focused.  If a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD had several ear infections during the critical auditory developmental years from birth to 3, s/he has lost the time where a child learns to listen in order to discriminate sounds.

During this auditory development, children also learn to prioritize sounds.  For instance, a child might hear 2 sounds, the mother who says, “I’m coming!” and the sound of a door closing.  Which sound is the most important to the child?  Which one will he prioritize?  Most likely he will prioritize his mother’s voice.


Allergies in children under 2 years of age cannot always be detected.  WHY? The immune system is still developing.  Eosinophils in the blood confirms that an allergy is present  However eosinophils in children under 2 is not always produced.  Therefore a negative test for allergies using a blood test can be unreliable for children under 2 years old.

Eosinophils are white blood cells that are activated by allergens.  Once activated histamine substances are released that causes irritations such as the runny nose and itching.

Milk based protein, casein, is one of the most difficult substances for a human to digest. It is important to keep our “gut” healthy.  The mouth is one of the easiest places for bugs to enter into our body and then grows in the stomach.

Good bacteria called lactobacillus helps keep our immune system stronger and our digestive system healthier.  Probiotics improves the gastrointestinal tract and therefore helps keep the immune system strong. Soy and milk casein is much alike.  Goat casein is closer to human casein.

As I mentioned above, What's Eating Your Child is one of the best and informative books I have read on nutrition for children.  Are you ready to become a Nutrition Detective?  You can order this book now!  Every parent should have this book on their shelf!

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