Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of you moms out there! I hope someone makes you breakfast in bed…that’s what my brother, sister and I always did for my mom on Mother’s Day.
My mom passed away 7 1/2 years ago. She was such a great person and I am so thankful that I had her in my life for 23 years. She had (and continues to have) such a huge influence on my character, personality and values; she also had a huge influence on my healthy lifestyle.
When I was younger I probably couldn’t appreciate the fact that she didn’t keep sugary cereal, Oreos and candy in our house or that we could only have a Coke for a “special treat.” We actually used to ask, “Mom, could I have a coke tonight for a special treat?” Now that I am older I can appreciate what she did for me.
However, sometime I think I see things about her and the way we ate “through rose colored glasses.”
If I really think back to it, we didn’t always eat perfectly. We ate spaghetti (white pasta) with beef meatballs, hamburgers and fried chicken tenders. She would occasionally bake a cake or make cookies for us and sometimes we would have a frozen store bought fruit pie after dinner (with ice cream). She would pick up Popeye’s fried chicken and biscuits or order delivery pizza, sometimes. And during the summer we would get snow balls.
But, all of these things were occasional and weren’t readily available in our home. We didn’t eat out a lot and my mom cooked on most nights. She mostly made things like baked chicken, pork tenderloin or fish. We always had at least one vegetable (and usually a salad) with dinner and we didn’t have dessert every night. She’d tell us to cut up an apple if we wanted something sweet. This way, when we did have a “special treat” it was okay – no need to feel guilty.
That’s how I eat now, too. Believe me, I eat my share of dessert, beef, full-fat cheese, etc. (although, I rarely eat fried food). Most of the time, however, I eat more nutritious foods…that way I can afford to have a treat.
So, just remember that it’s what you do MOST of the time that’s important. Don’t keep junk food in your house – it’s too tempting (so many parents tell me they have to keep it around for the kids, but the kids don’t need it either). Make it a family event and go out once or twice a month for ice cream, pizza or another treat in. That way those “forbidden” foods go from being “bad” to “special.”
One of the most important things a mom can pass on to her kids is good eating habits. It’s an ongoing gift that can lead to a long-lasting healthy life.
Blair Buras is a dietitian, dancer, food enthusiast, blogger and healthy recipe developer. She is also the New Orleans Saintsation director, choreographer and nutritionist.