Connection, Food, and Caring for Our Kids (And Everyone Else We Love)

Deborah MacNamara, PhD

What does it mean to be nourished?

Nothing could be more basic than food. However, food is only one part of the concept of nourishment, but it has consumed our focus and eclipsed something far more critical for thriving—connection. We have lost sight of the fact that feeding our families is about human relationship and emotional well-being.

In Nourished, developmental and relational clinical counselor Dr. Deborah MacNamara shows us how feeding is part of the caretaking relationship and cannot be separated from it. Informed by attachment science, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and research on human emotion, Nourished reframes our approach to providing for our kids and helps us hit the reset button on our relationship with food. After reading this seminal work, it will be impossible to ever view food as just plain food again.

As parents we need our kids to be receptive to what we offer but the road to the stomach must go through the heart. As relational and emotional creatures, our deepest hunger is one that food by itself cannot fill. In this book, Dr. MacNamara gives us the keys to transform the everyday act of feeding our children (and other loved ones) into a most fulfilling and nourishing dance of attachment. Based on developmental and relational science, qualitative research with families, counseling parents, and her own experience as a mother, in Nourished, MacNamara combines storytelling with science and puts food in its rightful place.


“In this timely, wise, and much-needed book, Dr. Deborah MacNamara brings home the message that our responsibility as parents is not simply to feed our kids, but to nourish them: a task that depends on our nature-given capacity for relationality, for holding our kids emotionally long after we no longer need to hold them on our laps. In a society that alienates us from our innate caregiving instincts, its lessons could not be more urgent.”

“This book is stunningly beautiful—an ode to love, relationships, and food. Dr. Deborah MacNamara shows how true nourishment is about connection and how the family meal can be a celebration of emotional closeness. I love Nourished for many reasons, but most of all, for reminding us of the intimate connection between relationships, nurturance, and food. Dr. MacNamara provides us with an uplifting road map for how nourishment is much more than feeding; it’s about intentionality and caring while respecting culture, neurodivergent status, and family traditions.”

Nourished is not only a book on parenting, but also arguably a foundational book on becoming a provider in the deepest sense of that construct, from the inside out, to all sides of the child, and for all the seasons of parenting. I can’t think of a better portal into the arena of parenting than through the topic of food, or a better way to master the basic dance steps of parenting than through the act of feeding.”


“Reading Nourished felt like a feast for my mind and food for my soul. Dr. Deborah MacNamara has masterfully blended science, research, and personal experience to create this enjoyable, easy-to-digest book. Her wisdom, insight, and caring heart remind us to go back to basics, to trust our intuition, and, most of all, to use food in the service of togetherness. This treasure of a book holds the power to transform the way we see food, and in so doing, provides us with the key ingredients for preserving and deepening our connection with loved ones, and others, no matter the distance between us.”

“This book is a gift. Read and ponder so many aspects of our relationships, our attachments, and our relationship to food and feeding, nourishing. I ate it up. Every other paragraph had me stopping and reflecting. Such a provocation and a legacy to pass on, explore, and create dialogue with your own children and grandchildren. Read Nourished and be inspired.”

Nourished is for everyone. It isn’t really about food; it is about the relationships surrounding food rituals and how important they are in our personal development. I now see it as a key part of my toolbox in helping young students and their families.”


Dr. Deborah MacNamara is the author of the bestselling book Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One) and The Sorry Plane. A clinical counselor and educator with more than twenty-five years experience, she speaks regularly about child and adolescent development to parents, childcare providers, educators, and mental health professionals as well as on radio and television. She resides in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two children.

ISBN 978-0-9950512-4-9
$24.95 CAD $19.95 USD
Published September 19, 2023
6 × 9 320 Pages
Paperback, ebook