A study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, one of the first to examine the eating habits of adults at different stages of parenthood, has found that the first seven years are the most difficult for parents to remain conscious of establishing nutritional boundaries and staples for themselves and their child. The reasons for this are pretty intuitive: every day is suddenly more chaotic, according to one mother interviewed. She had maintained a healthy diet and exercise plan before she had a child, but slipped after her daughter arrived, saying "Admittedly, I just wanted to hang out with [her.]"
Additionally, harried new parents are more likely to bring into the house what the study's author, Dr. Helena Laroche, refers to as "convenience foods," high in saturated fat. She says that her study's results clearly indicate that a little time needs to be taken to plan a healthy eating regimen. "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," says Laroche.
For her part, the mother cited at the beginning downloaded an app that adds only nutritional staples to her grocery list in an attempt to avoid junk food and now shops at a farmer's market. But for parents to whom neither apps or farmers markets are readily available, it's somewhat more difficult to come by these easy solutions—something that may be worth its own study.
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