Ellen Pompeo: No Junk Food for Stella!

05/06/2010 at 11:00 AM ET
Mike Coppola/FilmMagic

As 7-month-old Stella Luna begins to nosh on more than milk, Ellen Pompeo is thrilled to purée nutritious foods for her daughter. In fact, the actress is already introducing healthy habits that she learned from her own grandmothers.

“She has two teeth now and she’s already eating solid foods,” Pompeo told PEOPLE Moms & Babies at the American Cancer Society’s Choose You initiative luncheon in New York on Wednesday.

“I try to make food for her as much as I can and she eats a lot. She holds her own spoon now.”

Living a healthy lifestyle is a top priority for Pompeo, 40, who launched the Choose You movement to encourage women to focus on themselves first in order to stay healthy and to prevent cancer.

“I have to say I’ve always been a little [bit] obsessed with working out and eating right. I’ve been on this track for a while which is why I was passionate about this campaign,” she says. “I want to teach my daughter the importance of exercising and eating healthy as she grows up.”

The Grey’s Anatomy star was raised in an Italian household near Boston and says she learned to eat well from her grandmothers, who helped raise Pompeo after her mother passed away when she was four.

“We had gardens and we grew most of our own food,” she says. “We had chickens and fresh eggs … I was never a person who was introduced to junk food. It was instilled in me from a very young age from my grandmothers and it was what they served in the house. I didn’t know anything else.”

Now that she’s a mom, she’s using the same no junk food policy for Stella — not even Cheerios. “I haven’t given her Cheerios yet but if she does, she would have organic oats instead,” she says with a laugh.

But for now, the actress is enjoying every minute with her daughter. “Being a mother is magical,” she says. “I live a very blessed life and I could go on for days on how amazing my daughter is. She’s so great. She’s just starting to get a personality and she’s definitely a charmer.”

Sounds like she’s charmed her father as well!

“He adores her,” she says of her record producer husband Chris Ivery. “He’s a very hands on dad. He loves to carry her on his shoulders everywhere we go. He has a ball with her and he’s absolutely in love with his daughter.”

— Paul Chi

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting

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Amy on

I’m all for teaching my own daughter to eat healthy, but no cheerios? They’ve gotta still be children! My daughter is 14 months, and while she eats fresh fruits and veggies and a very healthy, balance meal for every meal.. she does have cheerios. And other things that may not be the best for her, but I want to teach her that moderation is the key when eating those things. I can’t imaging telling my daughter no to cheerios LOL soda? Yeah, that I understand saying no to, but I mean… really Ellen, cheerios?

Hea on

Little Stella is so cute!

Lee-Lee on

I love her! She is an awesome person and mother!

sadie on

Love her!

Lnr on

This is all so easy to say when you have a seven-month old. Ask her again when her daughter has peers and goes to birthday parties etc. or when the nanny takes her to birthday parties. That’s the real challenge. When they can’t talk back it’s easy as pie to get them to eat totally healthy.

jessicad on

Good for Ellen, I think if you start early and show them by example they will have a healthy relationship with food.

She does say not YET on the cheerio’s, she has a great attitude:)

Lisa on

@Amy- What’s the big deal about not giving her Cheeroes? If her daughter does not even know they exist than she’s not missing out on anything anyway. Cheeroes is not a necessity for a kid to be a kid. Anyway she said she would give her organic oats instead. It’s ok to not give your child cheeroes. My kids don’t even like cheeroes so I don’t buy it either and they r 3 and 4.

mimi on

Cheerios arent all they are cracked up to be…even a moderate diet of “junk food” can lead to health problems. Kudos to Ellen!!

April on

Regarding the Cheerios, she probably means she won’t feed her Cheerios BRAND but rather a healthier alternative. My girls don’t eat Cheerios either, but they do have Kashi Honey Toasted Oat cereal, which looks the same.

Anna on

I’m sure children survive without Cheerios, I don’t even know what Cheerios are!

And Ellen is just talking about at home and having her every day meals and snacks be healthy. Nobody ever got unhealthy or overweight from eating sugar at birthday parties. Obese people are eating badly at home every day, that’s the problem.

stephanie on

Ah, CBB readers. Always so reliably pessimistic.

My mother fed me very healthy food since very early on, we eat junk food once in a while but I’m 23 now and I still prefer apples to french fries 😀 What is so wrong with Ellen wanting to feed her child well? As healthy as Cheerios are, it’s still processed food.

Natalie on

Amy, it’s your choice to feed your little angels cheerios and it’s Ellen’s choice not to feed her baby cheerios. It’s all about personal choice. Either way you’re both being conscious about what you feed your children, which unfortunately too many parents are not.
I would prefer if a parent errs on the side of overly cautious and I applaud women who know how to balance moderation. Either way your children probably wont suffer from the epidemic that is childhood obesity.
So I don’t see the need for judgment either way.

molly on

I agree w/Lnr. It is easier to get them to eat what you want before they are talking and running! My son eats very well at 20mo.- we actually started him on avocados and salmon for his very first foods and went from there and give him homemade smoothies w/fresh fruit and hidden veggies inside each morning. BUT, he still gets the occasional cookie or cupcake and he is still very healthy and happy. The key is well roundedness and not to “forbid” anything that isn’t dangerous for them.

I am all for Ellen’s healthy lifestyle view, but remember, that chid will have parties to go to and choices to make on her own and if she deems something as forbidden the child might go overboard if mom and dad don’t allow some moderation. With all parents, it is a balancing act and by no means does any one person get it exactly right. We are all trying to do our best so Kudo’s to Ellen for making a healthy start for baby Stella!

Allie-Rose on

Props to Ellen for teaching her daughter the right habits at such a young age. The earlier the better

@Amy – I see nothing wrong with not giving a 7-month-old Cheerios. My own mom didn’t allow me to have boxed cereal until I was 10 and I dislike any kind of boxed cereal now

rachel on

I love all this judgement. I would think that, as a Mother, people would understand that she is trying to do what SHE thinks is best for her child. She isn’t telling you that you are a bad Mom for feeding your child Cheerios. All she said is that she would like to choose what she thinks is a healthier alternative. In this day of rampant childhood obesity and diabetes, eating healthier is something we should all try to do. Why, as women, do we have to tear each other down? We are all different and we all try to do our best as parents. I certainly would hate for someone to tell me what’s right for my Children. So if her methods are over the top to you, great. Just tell your own children to be thankful that they have a Mom that will give them Cheerios and realize that maybe instead of judging someone else’s parenting style, we should all concentrate on our own.

Ash on

“I am all for Ellen’s healthy lifestyle view, but remember, that chid will have parties to go to and choices to make on her own and if she deems something as forbidden the child might go overboard if mom and dad don’t allow some moderation. With all parents, it is a balancing act and by no means does any one person get it exactly right. We are all trying to do our best so Kudo’s to Ellen for making a healthy start for baby Stella!”

Exactly this! My parents never banned my sister and me from eating anything growing up. They even kept a huge jar of candy in the house at all times, usually leftovers from Halloween (can you say reverse psychology? lol). Because it was always there, we NEVER wanted it. It just wasn’t a big deal to us. However, when my little friends came over to play, it was a totally different story. They would gorge themselves on it because their parents didn’t allow junk food at home! They had no self control whatsoever.

I’m now in my late 20s, and I’m one of the only people in my high school class who has not gained weight since graduation (I’m 5’5″ and 115 lbs so pretty thin). My sister is even skinnier. Moral of the story (in my experience at least)- kids have a tendency to go after forbidden fruit. You have to remember that a time is going to come when they leave the nest and go to college. They’ll be free of your influence and restrictions which can be mighty tempting. It happened to my husband. His mother put him through all kinds “diets” growing up… there were times he was only allowed to drink rice milk because supposedly it was healthier, all organic, no soda, etc. (you get the point). This had a huge effect on his psyche so once he got to college, he basically rebelled by binging on all the bad foods his mom wouldn’t let him eat. It took years to break his Sprite addiction! haha I’m not saying that’s typical, but I know many people who that happened to. I don’t plan to hold anything back from my children, and I won’t go gung ho on the organic fad either. My goal will be to teach them which foods are healthy but that even junk food is still okay as long as you don’t go overboard. Armed with that information, hopefully they’ll be able to make good decisions about their eating habits later on. I don’t want them thinking they have to deprive themselves of sugar because the second you do that, that’s the moment it becomes a preoccupation.

Emily on

I agree with Molly. A healthy relationship with food means making the right choices as much as possible, but also feeling free to indulge once in awhile. Children who feel strictly forbidden from eating junk food will often find ways to eat it anyway, only will do so secretly, which leads to many more problems down the road! Balance and moderation are key. But good for Ellen and all parents who begin instilling the value of healthy living from early on. That is very important!

Ash on

Also, because I know weight isn’t necessarily indicative of health, I should mention that my blood pressure is excellent, and my recent glucose test shows that my sugar levels are perfect (despite enjoying oreos a couple times a week and Publix cake… yum! lol).

R on

Good for her. A child who grows up never being exposed to junk food will never crave it and will make better choices as they grow. It isn’t a necessary part of our diet, and everyone who is saying she should let her kid be a kid should realize that that does not have to include eating crap that will turn you into a less healthy adult.

Ash on

“only will do so secretly, which leads to many more problems down the road”. Bingo! You totally reminded me of my husband’s sister. I almost forgot about how she used to hide junk food in nooks and crannies of her room where her mom couldn’t find it. Then she would stuff her face in the middle of the night. I’m not kidding! It actually got that bad lol.

Ash on

“A child who grows up never being exposed to junk food will never crave it and will make better choices as they grow.” Where’s your proof for that? Tell that to my friends who, once they got to college and started living in the dorms, were exposed to all night studying sessions complete with extra large pizzas and couldn’t resist the temptation. 50 pounds later, they wondered what happened lol.

Tara on

Its easy for celebrities to say how they have their kids on a healthy diet when they can afford a cook, trainer, nanny, maid… but when you are a mom on your own it is harder to do a lot of the things celebs claim when you don’t have help. I try to feed my girls healthy natural foods with a mainly high fiber, organic diet minus soda or high fructose corn syrup… but when my husband is on deployment for months at a time and I am running a household on my own sometimes it is easier to take shortcuts and buy stuff that is ready made. I think it is all about finding balance and doing what works for you. Good for Ellen for having that mindset. I wish I had all the help she had and my kids would have a even better diet than they do! I just hope she doesn’t instill her obsession with working out at an early age, it is hard enough being a celeb kid I am sure without having a mom that is obsessed with being skinny!

mom2 on

There are healthy alternatives available…cheerios aren’t as great of a choice as people think. Way to go Ellen…being an older mom does have its advantages

M on

I am European. I live in New York for 7 years. The difference btw what people are feeding their kids here and in US is huge. Now, I do not like to put labels on things and I do not want to say that here every child eats healthy food and in US everybody eats junk, BUT. When we start feeding kids solid foods we get list from our doctor when to introduce what to prevent allergies and also the digestive system is not fully develop and can have difficulties to proceed certain food.. I would never such a small child any kind of cereal… Sure it is also about healthy approach to food but there is only certain amount of time when we can influence what our kids are eating. So till I can do it I will try to do good job. My daughter is three now and I can say that she tried started to eat potatoes at certain age, pasta at certain age, rice was the last, fish at one year of age as well as bread… Now she eats fish at least twice a week and she loves it as well as drinking: I was giving here only water..and guess what ..it;s her preference till today. Even though she goes to preschool now, to parties and other occasions. She is offered other stuff, she will try, but goes back to water. I do not tell her not to drink this or that, but she is used to it. So it is up to us to introduce our kids to healthy food and try to delay candy and other stuff. I never forbid her to eat something. But I also never gave her candy till she was about two and half. Last summer I went to visit my good friend in NY. She had 11 months old daughter and every day she fed her hot dogs and BBQ. I could not believe it!. She is smart, intelligent woman…so what is the problem. Maybe the way we are being educated by our pediatricians. I do not know what is the difference but I know for sure that the longer you will keep your kids away form junk and unhealthy stuff, the better.

Susan on

This is ridiculous, in fact I’m upset I’m wasting my time reading and commenting on this article. The child is a toddler, of course it should be feed with healthy foods as its still developing but for god’s sake it isnt learning healthy eating habits, it can’t talk yet. Get over yourselves Hollywood and folks stop “eating up” all this crap.

Laura on

unrelated to the article, really….. but she’s 40?! NO WAY! i had no idea, she looks so fantastic!!

M on

Susan, what has talking to do with learning healthy eating habits? Of course she is learning.

Dee on

You know what if the woman does not want to give her kid Cheerios right now that’s her business. Who are we to judge?

I completely agree that as parents it is our responsibility to set food examples with food for our kids. This is something that they will take with them when they get older and it can most definitely affect their relationship with food.

As a kid I grew up in the islands and we did not eat “JUNK” food. We ate a homecooked meal three times a day and in between meals we munched on fruits, veggies and “sweeties” made from scratch. They were sugary but our parents made them so they controled how much of everything went into these treats.

On that same note it is not to say that when we went out we couldn’t have a special treat. We were never deprived of “junky special treats” but it wasn’t something we gorged on.

When we migrated to Canada it was a whole new world. We saw what the kids were eating and we just in awe of these HUGE packages of chips, cheetos, caramel corn, chocolate bars, candies etc.

Of course being young and in school we tried everything but it didn’t become something that we did everyday. Now that I am older it is rare that you will find junk food in my house. We are having a baby in a couple weeks as I am completely devoting myself to teaching my child how to have a healthy relationship with food. No junk or sweets or eating out at McDonalds or anything like that.

When they get older if they want to go there then we can take it from there but I refuse to pollute my kid’s body with greas and sugar from a young age.

So that being said….there is no reason to critize people on what they put in their kids’ mouths. It is unfortunate that a lot of us cant be home more to cook more meals for our families but the reality is we live in a society where a two income household is needed to pay bills. And lets face it, we are a lazy society. We want everything done for us and so big corporations give us what we want.

We can pretty much nuke everything in a microwave and serve in on a platter. So kudos to her for making her baby food from scratch. I have a year off so I intend to do the same.

Eliza J on

First, I want to say kudos to Ellen for instilling healthy eating habits in her daughter from a young age. And good job on the organic food…I think a lot of the health problems we face now are due to a lot of the toxins in our food and water. I do agree with everyone however that you never want to “forbid” your child from having the occasional treat.

My parents were extremely healthy when I was growing up. Sugar, chips, soda, anything with white flower, cereal, etc. were forbidden when I was growing up. We exercised for at least an hour every morning before school on top of all our other sports & activities. In total we were doing about 5 hours of exercise most days as well as swim meets on weekends. My parents were extreme. However, when my brother and I started having friends; we would “sneak” junk food, lots of it. It got worse when my parents got divorced because my mom was a lot less strict than my dad. We started eating tons of fast food after school; stuff that we had never had before. We were still sneaking it though because mom had to work full time and dad was no longer there after school or practice.

I say this to say that we both have had weight problems since we were teenagers. Mine started around ten, my brother at 18. I have been as high as 310 pounds in my adult life @ 5’9″ and my brother is 5’2″ and 270 pounds. Although I do eat mostly organic food and pure water, I don’t like soda, I have never had pork, stopped eating beef as a child, don’t like fried food, and still prefer a home cooked meal to eating out, I have struggled most of my life it seems with weight. Although I finally conquered my weight issue, it has not been easy. Because I have exercised all my life (even @ my heaviest); my body does not respond to moderate amounts of exercise. In order to lose 145 pounds, I had to exercise really hard for 2-3 hours a day and eat an extremely clean diet. Walking, jogging, light weights do not work for me. I had a personal trainer for 3 years, did high intensity interval training, heavy weight lifting, and on top of that at least an hour of hill running or rolling stairs six days a week. I have trained for and ran marathons in order to get lean.

As someone who can honestly say that I have been there; teach your kids good habits but, I think once or twice a week they should be allowed to have a “treat” meal. That way, they learn moderation; their tongues will enjoy the taste of healthy food but they won’t have to feel like they have to sneak other foods. It won’t be a big deal to them. All sneaking food means is that you’re going to be eating twice as much so that your parents won’t know that you already ate something somewhere else.

Anonymous on

All things in moderation people. This business of only eating organic is such a bourgeois concept anyway. Organic produce and eggs…lovely if you can afford them (most cannot). Will your kids die young if they eat Cheetos or drink kool-aide once in a while? NO! The point if you teach your kids about moderation and exercise they will be fine. If you obsess over what you eat so will they…and that is no way to got about living.

Sarah on

@Tara: Eh, everyone doesn’t work out just to get skinny. Many exercise to get HEALTHY, not getting as thin as possible. Some people, like me, doesn’t have to work out to get skinny, they’re naturally thin. I exercise a lot, not to get thin because I already am, but because I want to live a long and healthy life. Being obsessed with working out is not the same thing as being obsessed with being skinny. I’m not saying that some never work out only to get thin, I’m sure there are, but you should stop assuming things before you even know the facts.

So many doesn’t care what the put in their kids mouths. So kudos to Ellen for setting an healthy example for her daughter.

Rachel on

I want my daughter to eat healthy too and to make good choices as she gets older. Though, I think many people forget that children need to eat a lot of fatty foods for the first couple years of life to help with brain growth and development.

Annette on

I think that’s great Ellen! I have made all of the food for my 15 month old son and he is such a great eater!! I give him organic O’s for a snack when in a pinch, and have been a nazi about getting fruits and veggies with every meal, with meat mixed in and organic mac and cheese.

Keep it up, they’ll thank us someday.


cris on

REALLY…CHEERIOS!!! Why do some of you believe Cheerios are a required right of passage for a child? It appears that there are so many insecure mothers on this site that read about a mother providing healthy food to her baby as some sort of a slap-in-the-face to them…why all the guilt? Are you the same mother’s who take your child out for fast-food regularly or who think that feeding you children macaroni and cheese and hot dogs or chicken nuggets for dinner repeatedly is okay?
It is your job as a parent to feed your child healthy food. Junk food every so often, of course, but desert every day/night? Lazy parent’s = obese children.

Shay on

I limited what my kids ate when they were little. How your children eat when they are very young will determine their relationship with food for the rest of their lives.

Now my kids are both battling being under weight. To me they look fine. They eat all they want, they just eat mostly veggies. They will even ask for veggies when offered ice cream.

I didn’t go to the extreme of no cheerios. I did allow them small things in moderation, such as Nilla wafers. But never anything that was super sugary.

sgv on

@ Tara: I totally agree with you!

Emily on

All she said was that she hasn’t given her cheerios YET. Her kid is only 7 months old…she is too young to eat them with only 2 teeth. And there are many versions of “cheerios”…I have seen organic whole grain versions in my health food store.

Mary on

I tried giving my daughter organic faux Cheerios when she started eating finger foods. She choked on them because of their shape. Cheerios are a little smaller and have nice rounded edges so they are easier for kids to swallow. If a mother chooses to buy an organic brand, watch out for the shape of the cereal or wait until the child is mature enough to handle the larger size. Personally I don’t know how I would have survived many a shopping trip, church, etc, with my toddlers without a baggie of Cheerios in my purse, but to each his own!

Debi on

Hopefully, with all of her organic fruits & veggies, she is still primarily getting breastmilk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the infant under one year of age’s diet should primarily be breastmilk with solid food added to supplement breastfeeding in the second six months of life.

Ann on

I don’t see anything wrong with her trying to make sure her kid gets the best nutrition that she knows how to give her. That she would want to raise her child the same way her grandmothers raised her is no surprise either nor do I find that to be odd or weird. It is natural to try your best with your child. It is not a diss to mothers who have a different opinion about what the best choice might be.

I have noticed that the foods you grow up with are often the foods that you prefer when you get older. For example, my only exposure to tomato soup was of the campbell soup variety. To this day that is my idea of how tomato soup should taste. If I am given some made from scratch I cannot stand it even though it is probably healthier. My friend was raised in Hong Kong and she made sushi in Home Ec. To her that is a normal food. So I think it is good to set your child’s favorites to be healthy and good foods whenever possible. It paves the way for her future eating.

I don’t think it is necessarily a good idea to forbid a food either. There is no food that is just awful so long as it is eaten with moderation. However, a baby that age probably wouldn’t understand a lesson about moderation anyway. That could come later. And in the meantime she would be getting very good nutrition to aid in her growth.

Stella Bella on

Cheerios are processed junk, no argument there. But there’s definitely something about this article that rubs me the wrong way. Whatever. On with my day.

Megan on

There are many varieties of organic cheerios that are the same shape as non-organic cheerios- it’s kind of laughable to argue against organic versions of food because they are a choking hazard.

Besides, I’d rather take that chance than feed my kid corn syrup filled and genetically modified cheerios. You might as well give them animal feed from a trough with all the corn syrup that’s in basically all non-organic processed food. And genetically modified foods are the reason food allergies in this country are increasing to levels never seen before.

Cindy on

Actually banning food can cause problems for children mentally. There are diseases where teens are eating so “healthy” that they have made themselves ill from not getting enough nutrition and calories to balance out their low calorie diets and extreme exercise regime.

It’s important to introduce things in moderation otherwise children will either have unhealthy eating habits (eating too much or too little ). People are so focused on obesity that you don’t realize how many teens are out there with anorexia and severe eating disorders due to these celebrities promoting their so-called “healthy eating” diets & extreme exercise. Balance & moderation is the key; not banning foods.

mel on

I have two sets of twins (almost 5 and 17 months) and they have never had formula nor baby food. I believed that they could eat whatever we ate. So they do. My older kids have been to birthday parties at fast-food establishments and they won’t eat it. The first time we took them to a friend’s bday party, they poked at the food and asked for ‘good stuff’. Thankfully we had packed for such a thing.

I think that if you teach/feed your child(ren) from the get go healthy, tasty food, that’s what they want.

My kids idea of chicken fingers are homemade and they prefer baked sweet potato fries over white fries. It’s just the way we eat. Hopefully, this continues.

Annika on

What’s the discussion with the Cherios all about? That seriously must be an American thing. For since when are sugared flakes a neccessary (or in my mind even an appropriate) part of baby’s food. I never got them as a baby and even later we only very rarely had cornflakes and the like. You definitely do not have a bad childhood because of that.

Becky on

come on people. You have to be lying if you say you have never eaten Cheerios. I’d rather give my daughter Cheerios than doughnuts for breakfast, but guess what? This morning both my daughters had pop tarts for breakfast. OMG, can you believe that?

cris on

Annika…No, Cheerios (which are not sugared flakes) are NOT “an American thing”…..but thanks for generalizing.

TL on

Ok, so I will give my opinion! When my first son started eating food, he ate veggies and fruits. He loved his veggies and ate them very well. I only gave him the healthy snacks. He didnt even have a regular potato chip till he was 2 (and that was bc my aunt gave it to him) but he didnt just sit and eat junk.

Once my second son came, he started out the same, but then he started refusing veggies. So I give him fruit more w/ him meals. Also, my first didnt even get a fast food burger till he was almost 3. My second child has had them already (he isnt 2 yet) I think the main reason for the change of eating habits and being less strict w/ the 2nd one is the fact that for one I have a busier schedule w/ 2 of them and now my husband travels so its just me taking care of it all most of the time. Neither really care for french fries, but they like plain cheeseburgers. Also, they do not drink pop at all. My oldest has had it before, but only b/c it was the only thing in the car when he was really thristy. Both of my kids are healthy and of average weight for their ages.

As for Ellen…good for her, but once her child is older or you have more than one…or you arent a celebrity, having a strict diet for your child is a bit harder….If I had the resources she had my kids would not have fast food, I would have a cheif prepare some healthy. Or if I had a nanny to help watch my kids while I slaved over a stove then the food would always be good….its easy to do what she is doing when you have all the resources! But I do also say that she will expose her child to those things in a few yrs…7 months is a bit too young to brag about what you are feeding your kid!

Tara on


Nerdista on

What a boring life!

Tara on

@Sarah, I’m not jumping to that conclusion, she has been in the headlines so many times for being too skinny before she had her daughter and she said she is “obsessed” With working out. It is one thing to want to be healthy and thin and work out (I run and stay in shape but I am not obsessed) and another all together to be an actress in hollywood who has to go to extremes to stay thin or they won’t get any work. It is her job to be thin!

Jess on

Are you guys serious? They’re CHEERIOS….my gosh! They aren’t candy bars or cheetos. Get over it!

Ash on

“And genetically modified foods are the reason food allergies in this country are increasing to levels never seen before.”

I’m sorry, Megan, but I believe this is a huge oversimplification. I’ve read a lot on this topic, and the researchers don’t even know for sure what’s causing the rise in food allergies so to say that they’re definitely being caused by genetically modified foods is unsubstantiated. Can you cite your sources?

Scientists currently have hundreds of hypotheses for why food allergies may be increasing; everything from parents cleaning too much (not enough germs in the child’s environment) to heredity to exposing children to certain foods at too young an age (like peanuts for example). I’m not saying that genetically modified foods don’t play a role or that they don’t have other health consequences but to claim with authority that they are the sole cause is premature, and there isn’t sufficient evidence yet to back that up. The fact remains that scientists don’t know!

Furthermore, it kind of makes me laugh when parents assume that organic foods are a cure all because 1) Some organic foods are still grown using non-organic fertilizers, 2) It still doesn’t guarantee that chemicals and pesticides were not used, 3) Some organic ingredients are being imported from countries like China where standards are harder to enforce so in many cases, the food quality is falling just so the manufacturer can slap an “organic” label on their products, and 4) the term organic is an overmarketed buzzword and often misused. I could go on and on but if you google “organic myth,” you’ll find more interesting articles to read about it.

cris on

ASH…You said it so perfectly!!
I am so tired of hearing about people only eat ‘organic’ foods…not to say that organic isn’t good, it just seems to be another on of these fads that are so overly hyped (just as the ‘green movement’ has been for the last few years). But hey, to each their own, if someone chooses to spend twice as much for organic foods, that is on them.

Jen DC on


The baby is 7 mos. old. She’s eating mostly breast milk (apparently) with solids mixed in from time to time to help her grow. So Ellen doesn’t agree with Cheerios; ok!

I’m a live-in nanny to a friend of mine (not wealthy – legal aid attorney and school teacher) and we make most of the kid’s food ourselves with the KidCo grinder. For protein, it’s breast milk, whole fat plain organic yogurt, cottage cheese and tofu. He’s a skinny little thing, but heavier than he looks (I should know – my back!). He’s healthy and thriving but I’m not gonna lie: It takes time and effort to feed him this way.

I think we as Americans need to think about child-rearing and our wants and desires differently. That is to say, what all do you want in your life? It’s easier in a two parent household to go the extra mile and provide homemade, garden-grown fruits and vegetables, particularly if there is only one kid. When you start adding kids and subtracting the amount of time Mom and Dad spend at home, obviously and necessarily the equation changes. This doesn’t make you a bad parent, it just means that you have made a different decision and have reprioritized some things.

Now that I’ve had this opportunity to spend time in this family, I have a greater understanding of how I want to prioritize any family I may bring into being. IF I have a child, it’ll likely be a single kid (I was an only); I want to have my husband there from start to finish and not succumb to the 50% divorce rate we’re currently experiencing. I think I might want to move out of the city I live in to a smaller town because that’ll make it easier to do away with what city kids “need” (read: fashion, tv, video games, etc.). But these are my choices… I think we just need to stop being down on each others’ choices and realize that everything that we have in our lives was put there rather deliberately by ourselves. You have the choice to live a different life; don’t blame Ellen Pompeo (or any other rich celebrity) because of the choices you made. Just change *your* life.

Hea on

What the *beep* is Cheerios and why is it almost described as one of our human rights?

Erin on

cris – I’m trying to understand how the organic and “green movement” have been overhyped for the last few years as you claimed. Until about one hundred and thirty or forty years ago (Industrial Revolution) people grew their own food and didn’t have a very large carbon footprint. If growing your own food or buying it from a local harvest (notice I didn’t say “organic” – which is a problematic label) is a fad then I think you need to reconsider the entirety of human history.

ctl on

I agree with the people who worry about Ellen passing on her obsession with weight loss and exercise to her daughter. There is a very fine line between teaching kids how to eat right and stay active (which is good) and counting calories and being anxious about their weight (which is very unhealthy, especially for girls.)

A red flag for me is people who use the term “work out”, which carries a negative connotation towards exercise. I run and play soccer and hike, but I never say that I’m “going for a work out” because I view it totally differently — not a chore, but something to be enjoyed. Another tip off is people who use machines to exercise along with TV to distract themselves from the activity, to make the time pass more quickly. Clearly not the right attitude.

I don’t mean to be critical of Ellen — of course I don’t know her, but it seems like she loves her daughter and is a great mom. I just worry that daughters of women who obsess over body image are much more likely to have an unhealthy attitude towards their own bodies.

alexis on

The second ingredient in Cheerios is sugar.

Kelley on

Why is it so important for children to have Cheerios? I have a four year old and a ten month old and they have never had cheerios or any cereal for that matter. It’s nothing but processed oat and corn meal. We eat oatmeal from a natural foods store, but mostly yogurt and fruits.

I was raised by parents who believed in moderation but they also kept junk food out of the house. The only time we ever had soda, candy or things like pizza was on birthdays or holidays. I am 29 and I have never had a pop tart, hot pocket, little debbie cake or any processed junk. I have raised my children the same way and so far my four year old has no interest in it. He is not forbidden to eat things like cake at birthday parties, but he also doesn’t care much for it. “Treats” can also be more than candy or junk. My son loves to use the blender and make smoothies. We use organic yogurt, fruits, granola, etc…We also have a shaved ice/snow cone thing and he loves to make a snow cone with ice and fruit juice! That is a treat to him.

We believe in eating for health and survival. If you don’t want your child to eat something, don’t give it to them. We don’t reward him with food, that is just setting up a bad habit of using food to feel good. I don’t understand this whole idea that if we don’t give it to our children now they will lack the discipline for it later. I was raised to eat very healthy and I still eat that way. Why don’t we stop judging each other and support each other instead?? Don’t we all want to raise healthy children? I don’t use the way I raise my children to put other parents down, but I sure do see a lot of negativity on here about parents trying to be healthy.

Ash on


I think what a few people above are getting at is that some parents take healthy eating to the extreme. I have personally witnessed this with friends, and it didn’t turn out well for many of them (as I mentioned previously with some of my friends essentially rebelling once they got out on their own and discovered the world of junk food). That’s primarily what has shaped my view of the whole thing. My parents did not raise me with the attitude that sugar is evil, and I’m pretty darn healthy :).

I think people are sometimes too quick to vilify sugar (which is necessary in small amounts for the metabolic processes in our bodies to work) and glorify anything labeled organic which is dumb. There’s another online forum that I frequent, and I’ve actually seen ladies on there try to claim that fruit is bad because of the sugars in it. That’s completely absurd! And inaccurate to boot, but that’s what happens when people fearmonger. They internalize all of the misinformation that they hear on tv or read on the internet and take it to the extreme. Sadly, they’ll probably teach their kids these thoughts and behaviors (even though they’re wrong). I think the point people are trying to make is that teaching your children to eat healthy is important but to ban some foods completely is going overboard and could have the opposite of the desired effect in the long run.

Becky on

i don’t allow chips, cookies, or soda in my home, but by golly we will eat pop tarts and cheerios on occasion and we will enjoy it. ya gotta live, people. free the cheerios!!!!!!!

Ash on

Becky, that cracked me up!!! LMAO

Mj on

So, basically.. “I don’t want MY daughter to be fat! It can cause cancer!” So does everything these days. Let your kid choose what they want, at least after they learn to talk!

Anonymous on

Iron fortified cereals are a must around 7 months! Organic cereals don’t have that stuff

Milka on

Good for Ellen! She knows that food is fuel and she will teach her daughter about proper nutrition. The problem here is that most Americsns have not learned that they are the adults and parents and if you do not serve “junk” food at home, your hildren will be less prone to want it. I grew up in a family where food was respected, it was not entertainment, nor did we carry it around with us in the car everywwhere we went. Unheard of, and no one was fat and unhealthy because we ate right and were active. Cheerios are okay, but they are processed and not real oats. It is too bad that most people do not even know what good food really is and it shows in their weight and other helath problems. Ellen is forty and looks great and I wish more people thought liek her.

JMO on

I think if you can afford organic food then I say go for it! Wish I could for myself but unfortunately money’s tight so I buy what’s affordable! There is nothing wrong with being health concious. I grew up being able to have whatever I wanted but it didn’t make me grow up to be a junk food addict. I still eat fruits and veggies and yes occasionaly splurge on french fries or my weakness for chocolate chip cookies! I mean you only get one life to live so you can’t deprive yourself of all the good (or bad) things in life. It’s called moderation.

When your children are babies and toddlers you control almost every meal so you can choose to give them all the best foods but it’s hard to keep kids from being interested in other kinds of foods especially when they’re not in your care (i.e. playdate,school, parties). But if you can do what you can while they’re small then I say do it! Teach them the right foods to eat. We already live in a world where the obesity rate is high among children so why not try your best to instill the right kind of eating habits in your children at a young age.

E. L. Taylor on

I think everyone needs to remember that what Pompeo is saying seems offensive and arrogant because, generally, most people have eaten Cheerios, and have an adorable image of a chubby cheeked tot with little “O”s stuck to their fingers.

What she is doing is not wrong; in fact, remember, a child who has never experienced Cheerios will, probably, not be phased if (s)he does not get to eat them. People are, perhaps, getting angry because it is being interpreted that Pompeo is meaning to imply anyone who gives their child Cheerios is a bad mother – frankly, I highly doubt that’s the case. How is what she is choosing to do any different from people who believe drinking a glass of red wine every day decreases the chances for a heart attack? Whether people allow themselves to admit it, or not, there is always a social-current, which guides, or at least influences, the choices we make. There will come a time when her daughter can choose to eat all the Cheerios she likes; however, in the mean time, until she can make the informed decision for herself; as her mother, Pompeo is responsible for making these choices for her. Frankly, I commend Pompeo for taking the safe route by avoiding the highly refined cereal; people might not realize it, but just because the box says it is healthy, does not mean it is preferred (it could just be a better choice than Count Chocula). As parents, I do not believe we have the right to take our children’s health for granted; when they have grown up, they may choose to do whatever destructive things they wish, however, it is our responsibility to get them through development as strong as possible. Simply because we ate Cheerios when we were little, and our hearts ache when we see that chubby-cheeked baby with the little “O”s, we still do not have the right to put our selfish desires before the well-being of our children. There was a time when we did not know smoking was unhealthy, but with the information currently available, it would be a unwise, although a considerably informed, decision than the people of previous generations had. The same idea applies.

Choosing to set a positive example, even if it means doing something “unconventional”, even “offensive”, to the majority of society should be commended. Simply because we uphold an image of key hallmarks of childhood, it does not mean such ideals are in their best interest. At one time society valued slavery, then segregation based on skin colour; thousands of men, and women too, gave their lives in battle to change the common, public, opinion surrounding such social “norms”. This may be an extreme example, but considering how homogenized Western-culture is becoming, it should not surprise us that such reforms are striking us on such a personal level.

The nature of being a mom, a woman’s maternal nature, is inherently instinctual, which makes it difficult to consider Pompeo’s decision objectively. We are constantly comparing ourselves to one another; to admit that Pompeo’s decision is beneficial for her daughter (and potentially tots in general) forces us feel the only way to validate her theory is to admit we were wrong, and it is harmful to give children Cheerios. This, however, is just not true; to accept a new conclusion based on an alter perception does not invalidate previous decisions made by the individual.

Raising a child in the 21st century is complex at best; the multitude of parenting-styles can be overwhelming. To combat self-doubts, we over compensate by attacking the decisions of others in efforts of bolstering the meagre confidence we feel within ourselves, regarding our own parenting choices. I have become a mother three times; in the face of my doubts and worries about making the “best” choices, I have confidence in the love I feel, and that my decisions are rooted in the purest part of myself.

Diversity in styles of parenting across the planet should remind us that the only truth we are able to be sure of, is how little we actually know about what is “best” for raising children. Perhaps it would be better to understand what her decision is attempting to achieve, free from a personal-bias; only when we can set our own beliefs aside, for a moment, can we objectively learn about where another person’s decisions are coming from. Pompeo is a mother, which is something that connects every mother on the planet; it is a very simple, organic connection, which deserves respect.

In the face of the “nutrition-hysteria” bandwagon, generally supported by scientific research available, tends to agree people should be aware, if not concerned even, by the amount of chemicals available in processed foods. As much as the “organic” movement has become a pawn in the capitalist Western-society, and causing it to be docked integrity points, we still cannot argue the value of playing it safe. Choosing to purchase organic is the equivalent to self-grown vegetables. The choice to go “organic” is not arrogant; it would her attitude towards those whose beliefs are different from hers, which would be the determinant if she were, indeed, arrogant.

Shannon on

Hmmm, i think ‘healthy food choices/diets’ can be subjective and also can go the other way.
Ellen could do with a cheerio or two here I personally think. http://tinypic.com/jfays9.jpg

Just saying.

I’d hate young Stella to have a fear of food and fat before she’s lost her baby weight for goodness sake.

CelebBabyLover on

Tara- I think all Sarah was trying to say is that being obsessed with exercise does not mean you are obsessed with being skinny, and vice versa. The two do not have to go hand-in-hand. 🙂

Anyway, I’m glad Ellen wants to teach her daughter to eat healthy….but I hope she also allows treats occasionally, cheerios included. 🙂

E. L. Taylor on

Also, there is discussion on here regarding “banning” foods from children’s diet; although I agree with the “forbidden fruit” philosophy, there are always children who are negatively affected but in the end, once the child is grown, it is their choice how they approach food in the future. I was one such child who developed a negative attachment to food, mainly because I connected certain “comfort” foods with the emotional support and security that was lacking in my childhood development. Simply, I would eat to soothe – and I know I am not the only one. However, after looking at the 270-lb me in my wedding photos, I decided then and there, that enough was enough. I had endured years of being the fat kid my peers made fun of and boys only dated because my boobs were enormous. I hid myself inside all that fat and created a protective cushion from all the attacks by the outside world. However, in the end, my own behaviours were my choice; I abused food because I could, and no one was stopping me. I realised I was the only one who could choose to make the future different.

Giving up 125-lbs of me was like becoming a new person, but it was not even close to ending my entire battle with food. My habits were modeled at home and were concentrated and absorbed by me, so I became even worse than the family members I witnessed in my young years. Experience has taught me to keep a neutral stance regarding nutrition, and avoid the extremes. It seems we emphasize “diet” and nutrition too much; if we simply did more “doing” and less “talking” about healthy behaviours, we would be setting future generations up for successfully, and healthy lives.

The parent sets the standard, when the child is old enough to ask why her best friend “Sally” gets fruit roll-ups, then the parent may introduce hints of “healthy eating”. By avoiding the “healthy diet” vs. “junk food” divide, we avoid the “forbidden fruit” analogy also. When children are ready to handle further understanding, we have an opportunity to enlighten their minds by sharing truths (not biases), and allow them to make up their own set of beliefs. By allowing children to feel they have made the decision for themselves, they will not feel they are going without, because nothing has been taken away. However, all decisions are rooted in the model and structure most familiar to them; if they generally get fruit and oatmeal for breakfast (without the stigma of a “healthy diet” label attached), they will be more likely to maintain those behaviours in the face of less-healthy options. The same is true for those who get Froot Loops. What is brought into the house is ultimately up to the parent, but fostering those “healthy” habits means allowing children to become a part of the process from the time they choose to engage in it but that doesn’t mean their decisions aren’t influenced by what they have experienced before they decided really think about it.

E. L. Taylor on

Modeling healthy behaviours towards food and instilling a fear of fat, are two entirely separate issues. One does not guarantee the other.

Babies have baby-chub based on their biological make-up; their bodies will determine how much fat is necessary to store to secure their safe development. However, as parents we should not exacerbate the production of fat deposits for the sake of a “chubby cherub”. If a tot is getting a regular (and healthy) supply of food, their body will know to store it, or not. We need to allow their teeny bodies to do their job, all we can do is give it the proper fuel to support development. We have gotten ourselves into major trouble by trying to be smarter than our own bodies; research has given us some guidelines as to what is healthy, yet we continue to make poor choices. We need to stop making excuses to justify why we continue to indulge unhealthy choices, people may not like to hear that, but it is just the truth. I was that “fat” girl the majority of my life. I was told, for as long as I could remember, that I was simply the top percentile for baby-weight and I was just a naturally bigger girl. I was just “big boned” (anyone else heard that one before?). Sorry, but it is all a lie. Yes, there are different sizes and structures to our skeletal frames underneath, but the size 6 me was nothing remotely close to the “big” girl I figured would remain after I lost the weight.

kmb on

Dear God E.L. Taylor, this is not Novel Writing 101 lol.
People are nuts, and blowing things entirely out of proportion. She’s a mother, and it’s her child. She’s not harming her, and she loves her, and she’s feeding her healthy food.
Why are half of you acting like she’s a sinner for not feeding her 7-month-old Cheerios? They’re little round cereal bits.
Ridiculous people, come on. I don’t think she thought her interview would generate a host of backlash regarding a general mills cereal product.
This all started from “I haven’t given her Cheerios yet”???
Wow, CBB is turning into a warzone.

J on

Wow Annika, really? You don’t even know what the product is and you make that sad comment about America.

Steph on

Did any of you even read the article properly?? She was asked a question, you can tell by the way she answered and judging by the link it was a deliberate choice to promote the brand by the inteviewer. So maybe, just maybe, she has never even thought about freakin Cheerio’s and was just saying what came into her head instinctively.
This must be an American thing, to have Cheerio’s in constant supply, maybe we have something similar in plain biscuits for bub to suck on? Regardless, giving or not giving said cereal to your baby is not going to change their health and well being- its just cereal!!

Hea on

J – I think you misunderstood Annika.

Chris on

Seems a bit neurotic but it’s her kid so she can do whatever she wishes.

Chris on

Also just because something’s organic doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Same with low fat, low carb, low calorie, etc. People need to educate themselves on being healthy overall, not obsessing about labels and names.

Marcus Norville on

I am a single father raising four kids 3sons and 1 daughter ages 7,6,3,2. I am a teacher so I do not have time to run around always looking for organic food. I buy regular food and watch what my children eat. By the way on fridays and saturdays we eat out. Sometimes even during the week. All of my children are healthy and very active. Its all about portion control.

MiB on

I am quite astonished by the comments here. Where does it say that she is never going to allow her child a “treat”? She grew up the way I grew up, with healthy, home cooked, and occasionally home grown, family meals (yes, both my parents worked full time) and a candy treat on Saturdays (or if we bought it with our own pocket money). McDonalds was a once in a while thing (not really seen as a treat) and cakes and stuff was reserved for special occasions (wether a birthday party or a day out with grandma). But once or twice a week? No way! Most of my friends in the mainly working class neighborhood grew up ths way (though some definitely had more processed foods than I did) and this is the way I will raise my children if I am ever blessed with any. She seems like a pretty normal mom to me, I guess that’s why I just don’t understand the fuss. And no, I am not that old, I am younger than Ellen

JMO on

I used to babysit for a family who only gave their kids homemade organically grown foods. And anytime her son saw a french fry he’d freak out bc he wanted it so badly! This was odd considering he’d never have one. But it looked “good” to him. So one day she gave him one and he spit it out!! The salt and grease I’m sure he thought, “those things looked better then they actually tasted”!! So it’s true if your children never have the foods they probably won’t care to eat them but that’s not going to stop them from being interested.

And as far as the cheerio thing…hmm I didn’t take any offense to what she said. I think cheerios are great (I love them myself) and for kids it’s a cheap small snack to hold them over. It’s not like your handing your 8 mos old the box and saying have fun! AT most they get a few at each sitting which will NOT hurt them long term! I’ve tried organic cheerios and they’re truly no fun!!

Rebecca on

Sounds like some of the moms on here are prickly because they feel judged by Ellen Pompeo’s comments on what she feels is right for her own child.

grace on

i love how these hollywood moms can afford to express their attitudes about eating healthy. i would love to afford organic fruits and vegies and meals and shop at whole foods all the time, but sometimes you do the best with what you have.

Rebecca on

Anonymous, iron fortified cereals are not a must for children that age. My 2 1/2 year old never got iron fortified cereals, they’re overly processed and the vitamins are synthetic. We gave her steamed fruits and veggies, which she fed herself (obviously cut up to a small enough size to leave them safe, I wish I didn’t have to put that but the way the people twist comments on this site I feel compelled to.)

Grace, eating organic doesn’t have to be expensive. Organic pre-packaged foods are expensive, but you can make a lot of things yourself for much cheaper, or *GASP* grow it yourself. I was in an apartment in Pittsburgh growing vegetables from 5 gallon buckets I drilled holes in (I got the buckets for free from Denny’s, they get pickles in them and then throw them away, they were more than happy to save them to give to me.)

dfs on

Why would you need to steam fruit?

Rebecca on

Dfs, steaming apples makes them a little easier for babies to eat. Steaming stone fruits, like peaches and plums, also makes them a little easier to eat if you don’t want to wait for them to get overripe. Bananas and avocados you can give as they are (cut up of course). Steaming the fruits also gives it a different flavor, so if you want to change things up without adding sugar, steam the fruit for a minute or two.

ollie on

Moderation, not deprivation is the key, folks ;0)

Krissy on

No where did she say her personal chef or nanny makes her child’s food. She said SHE’S happy to puree the food, and tries to make as much of it as she can. I think people are overreacting. I’m sure there will be times in Ellen’s life, just like everyone else’s, where she will not have the time to do all of the things she’d like for her child, but I applaud her for doing what she can.

GO on

Seriously, If Ellen doesn’t want to give HER baby cheerios, than that’s her choice. Not ours. I would say go Ellen!!!
and she is a good mom for deciding that!!

Anonymous on

Wow, women in the US are mental. Way to put me off moving to Houston for my husband’s work! As Mum’s we should support one another and focus on the good things we all do for our kids. Everyone’s different, makes the world go round. To Cheerio or not to Cheerio… who cares. Enough is enough. I support Mum’s who feed their kids Mac and Cheese and those who puree their organic veggies.

Now let the bashing begin for my “generalising”.

mike on

I have seen someone who backs up what Ash was saying. My niece and her brother have a restricted diet. I think they do get dessert once a week, but for the rest of the week it is restricted and they can only eat at certain times. If they are hungry before the designated time they have to wait.

Well, when we were on vacation this summer this niece stayed with us for two days without her parents. My brother in-law had been given this big box of chocolate bars and he brought it to the cottage. We kept it up in a cabinet and gave the kids some at night for dessert or a daytime treat. We didn’t really make a big deal of keeping the location of the box a secret. Well guess who ate the most candy bars? It was her.

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