Happy Mother’s Day: 5 Nutrition tips for Mom

Moms everywhere are on the front lines of nutrition.  They feel responsible for their family’s food choices, and the media is happy to promote the idea that perfect nutrition can be achieved, if only you buy the right products.  Given that the definition of “right products” seems to change daily, it’s no wonder moms end up confused and stressed.

  • Pregnancy: I should eat a perfect organic vegetarian diet.  Why am I craving cheeseburgers?
  • Infants: I should breast feed, even if I go back to full time work.  Why is formula starting to look like a good idea?
  • Toddlers: they should only eat perfect, home-made organic food.  So why do they want nothing but hot dogs?  Is ketchup a vegetable?  Why won’t they eat the family meal I worked so hard to prepare?
  • School-aged kids: they must eat a large variety of vegetables.  They must never eat sugar.  Why do they only want carrots and chicken nuggets?  Why won’t they eat the family meal I worked so hard to prepare?
  • Pre-teens: Why don’t they eat the home-made lunch I make?  What are they eating when they’re with their friends?  Why won’t they eat the family meal I worked so hard to prepare.
  • Teenagers: Why?…. Oh never mind, just order a pizza.

5 Family Nutrition Tips for Moms

  1. Chill out.  There is no such thing as Nutrition Perfection.  Trying to achieve some ideal diet for your family isn’t even advisable.   Kids don’t need rigid diet rules.  The best you can do is model good eating habits, and offer a variety of foods.
  2. Go with what works.  If your 7 year old only likes carrots and green peppers, keep the frig stocked with those, and put a small plate out with dinner.  If new foods aren’t accepted after one bite, say the magic words: “You’ll like it better when you’re a grown up.”  What kid doesn’t want to be grown up?
  3. Let convenience be your friend.  There is no law anywhere saying you have to cook everything from scratch in order to have healthy meals.  All of the following can make healthy meals easier: pre-cut veggies and fruit, pre-sliced meats, the growing number of packaged meals made without additives and with wholesome ingredients, healthy take-out.
  4. Don’t fall for every nutrition fad, or labeling hype.  Your family isn’t going to get much benefit from probiotic ice cream, high fiber snack bars or omega-3 bread.  Better to get your omega-3, fiber and probiotics from natural sources like fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and yoghurt.
  5. Don’t let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good: eat a reasonably wholesome diet, but don’t forget to enjoy food and to treat yourself occasionally, to ice cream, good chocolate, birthday cake or whatever foods make you happy.  And be sure to enjoy something like that on Mother’s Day.
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