Moms, we have the most influence

image of a mom with her daughters 

Whether we are single moms, full-time working moms, stay-at-home moms, mothers to many or a few; we have the most influence in our children’s lives. 

We are the primary role models and educators in teaching their values concerning food and establishing their eating habits.

We set the stage for planning meals and creating holiday food traditions. 

Women are the primary food industry consumers who stock the refrigerators and pantries of America.  We purchase over 90% of the groceries in the United States.1 

At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, it’s what little Johnny repeatedly sees when he opens the refrigerator and cupboards at home that’s going to have the most influence on his food values and health.


It would be ideal if every pediatrician would instruct their young patients about the health promoting benefits of nutritarian eating.  It would be beneficial if every daycare, school and church would educate children about the life-damaging effects of eating for disease.  It would be wonderful if every youth activity, from nursery to college, could teach the importance of eating nutrient dense foods for developing bodies. 

Reality is, moms, we purchase the food and set the example.  We are the primary educators and role models that will have the most influence in establishing our children’s long term eating habits and health.

“The key to raising a healthy family is not letting unhealthy food choices enter the house. Because when they do, the kids will seek them out, like flies to honey and fill their caloric requirements with junk; crowding out anything health supporting. (Wheat flour listed as a first ingredient means it is junk food. It must be ‘whole wheat flour.’)”  -Dr. Fuhrman

Are we teaching, by our example and purchases, to eat for disease or to eat for health?


Reference:  1. Too Busy to Shop; Marketing to “Multi-Minding” Women  by Kelly Murray Skoloda  

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Comments (11) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Cindy - December 9, 2009 7:09 AM

Thank you, Emily, for this reminder, which is especially appropriate at holiday time when we are barraged with junk food even more than usual. I've told my family that I'm not baking any Christmas cookies this year. Though they protested, it's kind of freeing for me. Plus I was the one who ended up eating the cookies anyway! Anyone have any tips on "special" holiday food that is not junk--interesting fruits, for example?

KW - December 9, 2009 11:12 AM

I was thinking that a good holiday treat would be fruit leather cut using the holiday cookie cutters.

Wayne Ferguson - December 9, 2009 11:13 AM

Nice article, Emily--keep up the good work! :)

Emily Boller - December 9, 2009 12:02 PM


How about the Date-Nut Pop'ems? They are yummy and kids love them! Those can easily be a special holiday treat.

I'm planning on making my family a dark sweet cherry/walnut ice cream dessert for Christmas Day. I've also discovered some great cookies made from almonds.

Perhaps I'll include those recipes in a future post this month.

Stephanie - December 9, 2009 12:15 PM

Cindy--How about Fuhrman cookies? I've tried the cashew cookies (recipe on this blog), and they're pretty good. In my opinion, they could have used being sweeter, but I can fix that next time I make them.

Greg - December 9, 2009 1:22 PM

Every time I feed my 5 year old niece, I'm always pleasantly shocked what she will eat. My sister insisted she would not the eat brussels sprouts from the garden unless I drenched them in butter.

Needless to say, after helping me pick, wash, and cook them, my niece didn't even know or notice there was no butter.

Children only associate holidays with junk food or brussels sprouts with butter because their parents do. At our house, our special treat is oatmeal with raisins, dates, or any other random fruit I have sitting around.

For a winter treat, we love persimmons, pomegranates, and nuts in the shell. Most people forget how much enjoyment there is in cracking and eating nuts.

Emily Boller - December 9, 2009 2:24 PM

Yes, cracking and eating nuts! A lost art . . .

I remember cracking nuts as a kid. I haven't done it in years; in fact I don't think we even have the tools. Time to remedy that and bring back a 'new' holiday tradition. Thanks for the reminder Greg.

I was raised on a farm. My parents had a huge garden. My childhood summer memories are sitting under a shade tree in the backyard, pan on my lap, and snapping green beans with my family. We talked while snapping beans. Truly great memories centered around simple vegetables.

Between fruit leather cut-outs and cracking nuts, we are on a roll for the holidays.

Great ideas everyone! Thanks for sharing.

aunt cia - December 10, 2009 6:38 AM

Today we have begun a 2 wk trip to a distant state to visit relatives and friends. I "agonized" a bit b4 hand about what I was going to do with the food issue as many of those we will mingle with are the typical SAD Americans. I have embraced the knowledge that I am the keeper of my family's health. Therefore, I took it upon myself to pack lots of salad options and fruit. I also offered to make some of teh meals at my sis in law's where we will be spending half our time. She was ok with that and so I feel like I at least have gotten a handle on my "problem" (maybe I should look at it as a challenge, instead!) I'm dreading the extra junk my family will be exposed to and who, all but me, will reach for with little or no conviction to do otherwise. My son has battled a cough for several wk now. I keep thinking that if I've been feeding him nutrient dense foods during his "flu", how is his body going to handle the extra stress it will have from these other "foods"...I hope to encourage him to make wise choices on this trip. It's hard to "swim against the tide"...
Thank you Emily for the gentle reminder of what a responsibility lies with me, the mother and keeper of my family's health...

nora manwiller - September 19, 2010 5:42 PM

We just returned from a 2 wk. trip to my in laws house. In the past my mother in law allowed me to shop and cook for my family b/c there are some food allergies and she didn't want to talk about how to cook differently. This year she decided she would make a priority of cooking gluten free. She shopped and meal planned ahead of time and was very hurt when I shopped and cooked the first two days as usual. She let me know that she ALWAYS plans/cooks meals for her company and that she had been careful for everything to be gluten free. Unfortunately she didn't understand that dairy free was also necessary, or that meat/eggs at every meal and sugary gluten free cereals were not our ideal. I struggle with how to handle future visits now that she has decided to do all the meal planning/cooking for us. She is not open to conversation on the subject. She believes a gracious guest eats what is served, and does not "quiz" the hostess about the meal plan. Any advice?

Emily Boller - September 21, 2010 11:03 AM

So diabetics are supposed to eat decadent desserts to be considered a gracious guest? That's manipulative nonsense.

What if this was a two-week heroine relapse? Whatever you and your husband decide to do will set the precedence for future visits.

I'd say it's time to establish some new traditions. If she's not open to discussion on the topic or a workable solution for all, then perhaps extended visits to Grandma are over, but extended visits from Grandma will always be welcome!

You are in control of you and your family's health destiny. Not the culture. Not the doctor. Not the pharmaceutical companies. And certainly not unsupportive relatives.

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