The Nutrition Nook ~ Momfluence: Your Power to Get the Family to Eat Healthy

Header - Post - Healthy EatingThe Nutrition Nook is a monthly column featuring nutrition information for healthy eating from Renee M. Simpson, RDN.  Renee is a registered dietitian who loves good food herself AND she has had her share of battling the bulge.  Soul Food TherapyRenee’s corner of the web is located at the Soul Food Therapy blog, which “provides recipes, articles, and encouragement for anyone who has a love affair with food, and desires to live a healthy lifestyle.”  I pray that you are encouraged by what Renee has to share.  * Remember to consult your primary care physician or dietitian before beginning a new nutrition regimen.*

Most likely if you’re interested enough to be reading this post, you are a woman, and a mom.  And I think you probably have no idea of the power and influence you have when it comes to your family.  RaspberriesOr maybe you do, and you’re using it in a way that is making the family very uncomfortable (i.e. getting on their nerves).  Whatever the case, I need you to step back, relax, and take notice of the following:

  1. What are you eating?  Because whatever you’re eating, the rest of the family will follow, eventually.  You can’t force them, you can’t bribe them, and you can’t trick them.  You just have to be the example.  I’ve had many moms come to me for counseling for their obese daughters.  The mom complains about the daughter eating whatever she wants and gaining weight.  Then, I look at mom and she is probably 40 pounds overweight herself.  Sigh.  It seems like a no-brainer – do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right (Luke 6:31)?  Show the family you can eat healthy so they can do the same for you.  But then, like Paul said, (Romans 7:19)  “For I don’t do the good I want to do, but instead do the evil that I don’t want to do. (Yes, eating a whole pack of those Trader Joe Lemon Cookies would be considered evil.)  So the real issue is: are YOU eating the way you want your family to eat?  If no, make that your focus.  If yes, read step 2.
  2. Are you stressing or nagging, or both?  I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning and she talked about thinking you’ve got your crap together and looking down on others who don’t.  If you’re looking at your family and thinking “you need to be more like me”, umm, that’s not gonna get it.  That’s actually going to repel them.  The self-control that you exercise to consistently follow such a healthy diet, use that same self-control to not stress anybody out while they learn to follow your lead.
  3. Provide the nutritious, healthy foods that you’d like for your family to eat, and make sure it’s tasty.  I mean, nobody wants to eat cardboard with a splash of fat free sauce.  If you’re clueless in the kitchen, sign up for the Rouxbe cooking classes.  You’ll get 2 weeks free when you sign up through my link.  Healthy food that doesn’t taste good is sooo 70’s.  Get with the program and fix that problem starting now!

I recently read an article ( stating that parental influence on diet is limited.  The study gave more influential credit to external sources like commercials, what other kids are eating, and the nutritionally devoid options that most schools serve for breakfast or lunch.  However, this study was done on a small sample – not sure how small they mean when they say small, 10? 50? Who knows?

I’d love to know what your experience was when you were growing up.  Did your family’s dietary habits rub off on you?  I remember when my mom began to eat tofu, she eliminated red meat, fried foods and even dairy.  We all turned our noses up at her new diet for the longest.  Eventually, we saw the changes it made in her and got on board.  She never said a word.  She just did.  Oh, and she didn’t buy crap like chips and cookies, so if we wanted that, we had to get it ourselves.

Make a promise to yourself to use the power that you have to 1) Be the example, 2) Let your kitchen be a nag free, worry free zone, and 3) Exercise your control over what’s eaten within your household by providing healthy, delicious meals and snacks.  Try it, and let me know how that works out for you!

Renee M. Simpson, RDN