Real Food: Feeding Your Children Right

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: May 12, 2010

Giving your children food that is unfettered with chemicals and unreadable ingredients is a special privilege that some food brands simply don’t afford parents. As a result, food movements throughout the country have been engaging moms and dads in their plight to feed their children right.

Andrea Howick and Lianne Castelino, best known as co-founders of – Canada’s foremost online parenting community – are each mothers of three children and both committed to educating and empowering families to eat well.

“From organic food markets popping up on every corner to the 100 Mile Diet, parents are searching for ways to get questionable elements out of their kids’ diet,” explains Andrea. “While healthy eating habits start at home, food manufacturers can have a significant role to play in helping families to make smart, nutritious food choices. It’s not only a question of maintaining good health, increasingly it’s become important to keep healthcare costs down for ours and future generations.”

In response to the growing healthy food movement, and in a somewhat surprising move, Hellmann’s – the brand best known for its mayonnaise – has launched its own healthy food campaign, The Real Food Movement, which includes simplifying their products’ ingredient lists, beginning with one of their most popular products.

“We have removed many of the unpronounceable ingredients from our half the fat mayonnaise-type dressing to align with our belief that good food should come from natural sources wherever possible,” says Stephanie Cox, senior brand manager for Hellmann’s and mother of two. “We’ve also switched to 100% Canadian free run eggs in the same product.”

As part of their Real Food Movement, Hellman’s also conducted surveys to gauge how Canadian families view healthy eating.

“For the past few years, we’ve surveyed Canadians to find out what they’re looking for in their food products. According to the Real Food Survey we conducted this year, more than 9 out of 10 Canadians [92%] say they prefer products made with real, natural ingredients,” states Cox. “As well, 70 per cent of Canadians often or always read foods labels. The survey confirmed what we have been hearing from Canadians for some time – there is growing desire for real, natural ingredients and products.”’s Lianne Castelino finds Hellman’s desire to meet the needs of its customers refreshing.

“There are so many opportunities to eat poorly,” Lianne says. “Parents have a responsibility to lay the foundation for healthy eating in their children really from their very first bites. But with time, money and other constraints that goal is difficult to reach for many families. So when companies like Hellman’s step up and recognize that they could be doing better for their customers, it’s a signal to parents that they’re getting the help they need to make nutritious and delicious food choices for the entire family.”

In support of their Real Food Movement, Hellmann’s is donating $100,000 to community advocates and organizations that are helping to advance the Real Food Movement by either educating people about or connecting people with real food through an event or experience. In addition, Hellmann’s is working with celebrity chef Chuck Hughes to create easy and delicious recipes made with real, simple ingredients.

Other useful links:

A podcast with Missy Chase Lapine, “The Sneaky Chef’:


From our multiple award-winning DVD, Yummy In My Tummy:

Hunger Cues…

Guide to Starting your Baby on Solid Foods

A great recipe for salmon salad:

For more information on the Real Food Movement:


Don’t forget to tell how you and your family are making efforts to eat better!

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