Food For Thought: My Personal Reflection on Nutrition Choices

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It was brought to my attention earlier today, that the post I’d written this morning may have offended some readers.

I want to let everyone know that it was not my intention to judge the mother or undermine her parenting. I do not know her situation at home, her finances, health, self-esteem or self-worth. I was merely trying to point out that our society has a huge problem with our current approach to health and the relationship we have with our food. Education and resources for parents are slim, and with the economy being as poor as it is, it definitely doesn’t help us get ahead of our food battle.

I understand that there are many families that have a very strict budget and that eating healthy is a luxury for many.

In working with many families in the time that I’ve been practicing nutrition, it is evident that many of us don’t know that we can eat healthy on low cost foods. It’s amazing to watch families that spend upwards of $900/month feeding their family on empty foods, switch to bulk grains like rice, pulses like chickpeas, chicken, homemade granola bars and oatmeal, and actually cut costs and eat healthier. But, I didn’t go into this information in my post this morning, and for that I apologize.

It pains me to watch families making the choices that they are. I don’t blame them. Before receiving my certification in nutrition, I had no idea what to eat. I was the person with the grocery cart full of pop, chips, and granola bars. I can honestly say that I thought I made healthy choices. I knew that Thursdays were double cheeseburger days at McDonalds, and that I could get a Wendy’s frosty with a medium fry for $0.99 on Fridays.

So, I understand that people make choices based on the education they have.

What my post should have been about, is the impact that a lack of education has on the choices people make for their health. If that Mom had been through a course on how to feed her family in a healthy [cost effective manner], I can imagine that her choices for her family would be different. Or you know, maybe they wouldn’t. Treats are good once in awhile, and part of a healthy lifestyle.

If I was a parent 5 years ago, I would have thought that the conversation that mother had with her children was fine. It just hurts me, down to my soul to see people making unhealthy decisions. I should have approached the post like that, but I didn’t. I can’t expect you guys to fill in the blanks when I’m writing a post. I should be more descriptive of the points I’m trying to get across.

I apologize if I upset anyone or if you felt that I encouraged negative conversations about parental food choices. It was not my intent, or the intent of those that left a comment.

I hope that I didn’t offend as many of you as I think I have. I hope that I can continue to be counted on to encourage you and your family to make healthy choices and that I didn’t come off as being self righteous. I can only imagine how challenging it is to be a parent and the choices you have to make when you’re on a crazy schedule, times are tough, and money is tight. I can understand choices are made and life goes on.

Next time I will be more mindful when I speak about other peoples’ choices, and think before I blog.

See you all tomorrow morning.

– Leanne

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  1. I love this post! I am only a fifteen year old, but I have learned a lot about nutrition and I beleive that if I put good in, then I will be able to put good out.
    I hate to see people I know and love making bad nutrition choices, like going for a bottle of Pepsi or eating a nasty chocolate muffin from the lunch line and some chicken nuggets for lunch rather than going for vegetables or fruits. I often get made fun of for my “healthy people” lunches I pack at school, but I don’t care.
    I understand that treats can be healthy, and I eat dessert/something sweet every night. It’s part of my eating ritual, so to say. I am a very active person and I don’t eat a lot of other unhealthy/fatty things usually, so I find nothing wrong with treating myself around 7:30 or 8:00 to a glass of chocolate almond milk or a piece of dark chocolate.
    My only problem is when parents go to the extreme of nutrition on the other end, and restrict anything bad from their kids, because then the kids tend to binge on these “forbidden fruits” the moment their parents have their backs to them. I was that kid at one point, my mom wouldn’t let me ever drink soda, so whenever I got to go to my mamaw’s house, I would drink three or four cans of Coke!

  2. I may be only fifteen, but I completly understand what you are saying. I grew up in a household with two pescatarians as my parents. I ate a lot of foods as a kid that most kids my age wouldn’t imagine eating (what kind of 12 year old kid asks for a big spinach salad topped with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, feta cheese, and cranberies for dinner with balsamic vinaigrette dizled over it instead of pizza for dinner?).

    I’m in band, so me and a bunch of other people my age and I all end up eating together a lot, and I always pack my own food, even if a meal is going to be provided for us because I don’t want to eat their nasty foods. I see them eat all sorts of nasty, processed stuff, and then feel terrible because of it. They’ll eat their weight in pizza or chips, and wash it down with Dr. Pepper, then wonder why they feel terrible out there on the parking lot when we’re marching in the hot sun for several hours. I hate to see them eat so badly, because a lot of them comment on how they’d like to loose weight, or how what I am eating, which is so much better for them then what they’re eating, actually looks/smells really good.

  3. Couldn’t agree with you more Leanne… I work as a personal trainer, and see some shocking things come through our doors, parents making terrible choices which lead the the sad, unhealthy kids and teens we see in the gym. Good nutrition and healthy choices have to start with the parents, even if the decisions aren’t popular with the kids – when my sisters and I were young, we ate Maccas four times a year, and that was it – once in each school holidays! And as much as we whinged about it, we’re all healthy young women now and we owe that to our parents holding strong and making good decisions for us! It’s all about education and good choices!

  4. I loved todays post. I work in the nutrition field and have 2 teenage girls. My 15 year old has refused all fruits and veggies since the age of 2 and I can’t even begin to describe my frustration. I have my issues with fast food restaurants but I’m a busy mother and I don’t feel the need to apologize for a visit here and there as a special treat. Denying teens only makes them want it more and encourages sneaky behaviour. My girls know McDonalds is my last choice but they also know I believe in moderation and not making a big deal out of it makes it seem less ‘forbidden’.

  5. Hey, I’m a mom of little people and I wasn’t offended. I believe most people do the best they can with what they have but I wish that more people would take control of their eating and be able to return back to an agricultural base more. I think we’re kind of crazy as a society because we are so far removed from the process. Back to growing things!

  6. That was a very considerate apology, although I was a bit perplexed as to why you were apologizing.. Although most of the focus here seems to have been on the fact the parent was taking her kids to McD, what strikes me more is how easily the kids got their way. The instillation of the expectation that “I will always get my way” is way more damaging and disturbing to me than that of unhealthy food choices.

  7. But why do people have to use McDonald’s as a treat in the first place? Are there more healthy “treats” we can be giving our kids?? Yes. There are. McDonald’s does not care about the “food” that they are serving us or our kids, they only care about their bottom line. And while a once a week trip to McDonalds is not going to kill anyone, for me it is the principal. I will not support a company who sells crap food marketed SPECIFICALLY to small kids, to get them addicted. No way, no how.
    Does that mean that my kids are never going to go to McD’s as teens or adults themselves? Maybe they won’t, maybe they will. When they get there they will be able to make their own choices, in the meantime, it is my job to show them that there are options. And that no trip to the grocery store is going to get you a free MEGA sized chocolate chip cookie from the deli no matter how poorly you behave.

    Keep up with the encouraging posts, if it makes ONE person change their attitudes about what constitutes healthy eating, then it is so worth it. I ~heart~ your blog!!!

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