With babies and toddlers at home, moms and dads choose convenient foods—and let saturated fats seep in.
So much focus on weight gain by pregnant moms ignores a larger looming problem—the less-healthy diets of moms and dads once the baby comes home.
The reason their diets lack discipline is obvious to anyone who knows them: lack of sleep, lack of time, and devotion to their kids (and jobs). So they tend to choose convenience often.
This adds up to more saturated fats vs. people without children, finds a study that followed 2,000 young adults for 20 years. The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults research, which ran in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, compared the self-reporting of what new parents ate for seven years vs. peers without children.
Dr. Helena Laroche, the study’s lead author, told CNN: “Parenting is the great teachable moment when you can make sure the whole family eats well—because kids do want to eat what you eat. If they see you eat vegetables, they will want to do that too. We need to take better advantage of our influence here.”
At the same time, we feel at The Lempert Report, supermarkets can use convenient merchandising to encourage healthier eating by new parents. If, as we believe, navigating an entire store with kid(s) in tow is one impediment, why not remove it and make shopping less nerve-wracking.
One idea: monitor when moms with babies and toddlers are in your stores. During these hours—maybe it’s between 8 and 11 a.m.—wheel out some assembled racks of healthful snacks to be near the baby needs aisle. Pre-sliced fruits and vegetables, peanut butter sandwiches on whole-grain breads, pre-cooked chicken strips, hard-boiled eggs, string cheese and Greek yogurt could be the right touch to help get kids and moms through their errand-filled days with energy and minimal saturated fats. Perhaps a shopper survey would help pinpoint the assortments moms would like to see.