Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Touro Infirmary.
Moms are survivors when it comes to our families. We find ways to get things done – even when there isn’t another ounce of time or energy to spare. We can taxi our kiddos around to every practice, play rehearsal, or meeting without missing a beat. We can juggle homework, clean the kitchen, and calm the sibling drama in the other room without batting an eye.
The question is … why is nutrition different?
Why do we tend to put our health, and the health of our families, on the back burner of life?
When it comes to nutrition, I would assume that there are two types of moms. One type is the mom who knows what to do and knows that nutrition is important for the family. She just doesn’t have that extra time to provide nutritious meals all the time. Thus, this leads mom to a feeling of defeat. Then, there is the mom who has the desire to make her family healthy; she just doesn’t know how to make it happen properly – again leading to a feeling of defeat!
It makes sense that parents want to feed their family healthy things.
No woman would want her children to be unhealthy (or sick for that matter), but where do you start? In a world full of promising nutrition advice, how do you know what is going to work? What changes can you make that are realistic for your family? Of course, it is easy to feel defeated when you see other moms who seem to have it all together – exercising daily and feeding their children the most nutritious foods. However, when you’re not focusing on you, and what will work for your family, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Feeding an active family a nutritious menu is never easy, especially when time is short and picky eaters are on board. Just like there is no “one way” to parent, there is not “one way” to provide wellness to your family. What is important is that you learn what works best for your group of loved ones, and make wellness a priority. Maybe it’s not searching the internet for healthy meals (that you don’t have time to cook at home), but it’s learning how to eat out at restaurants and make healthier choices. Maybe it’s not joining a gym like your best friend, but it’s finding exercises that you can do at home when the kids are in bed. Maybe it’s not making your picky eater clean his or her plate of spinach (like you have been taught to do), but teaching your child why we eat healthy foods.
Lead by example
Let’s look into this concept. As children transition through life, they tend to go through picky stages of eating. This is normal! There aren’t too many two-year-olds who eat a full plate of vegetables. What tends to happen is that we assume our children will never like vegetables, and we never reintroduce them. They then develop into teenagers who don’t like eating vegetables. Being a picky eater is typically a personality trait. Some children are just more open-minded to trying new foods, where others are stubborn and resistant. Again, this is normal! Our role as parents is to learn what healthy food choices are, provide these foods to our children, encourage (not force) eating of these healthy foods, and to lead by example!
You see, the best thing that you can do for your family (once you realize how important balanced nutrition is), is to let the family lead you. By keeping your eyes on YOU, and what works for YOUR family, YOU will be able to find a better balance.
About Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN/LD
Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN/LD, is a registered dietitian with Touro Infirmary. She is licensed in the state of Louisiana & Mississippi. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. She completed her dietetic internship at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans. Julie brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling, and believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable. As a registered dietitian, Julie has counseled hundreds of clients of all ages and status assisting them in meeting their individual health goals. After all, she’s a working mom who has to balance her professional pursuits with a busy home life.
This is very comforting. I’m currently struggling with getting my family to eat better and it is a long slow process. It took watching the documentary “Hungry For Change” to learn that I was clueless about proper nutrition. I have found that the path of least resistance is to add in more “clean” foods a remove the junk a little bit at a time. It truly is a labor of love but I think it’s working!