Quinn on Nutrition: Lessons from wise moms

May 15, 2017

I enjoyed the commentary on mothers in the May issue of Capsules, the newsletter from the Auxiliary at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. It includes some cute mom-isms, such as the answer to the question, "How did God make mothers?" posed to elementary school students.

"Magic plus super powers and lot of stirring," said one kiddo.

We moms get a lot of stirring from wise women over our years of raising kids.

To this day, after living in New Mexico most of my life, I get hungry for green chile enchiladas when the weather is rainy and cool. Why? For some unknown reason, those rare rains hitting the desert always meant Mom would be making enchiladas for dinner ó "stacked" with an egg on top.

Marge, one of my "adopted" mothers, gave me this advice that she had received from her mother: "Remember dear, at every main meal, include two vegetables ó one that grows above the ground and one that grows below the ground." Turns out this advice makes more than just practical sense. Colorful and nutritious combinations such as broccoli and carrots, tomatoes and onions, green beans and yams are rich in compounds that guard against cancer and heart disease.

"Be home for dinner." Even back in the stone age, my Mom recognized that itís important not to just feed kids, but to eat with them. Today, research confirms that children and teens who eat regular meals with their families (no television, cell phones or computers, please) are more likely to get better grades in school and are less likely to fall into unhealthy behaviors.

From my early school years, I can still hear my mom say, "Breakfast is almost ready," on cold mornings when I was not particularly motivated to get dressed. So Iíd put on my clothes in front of the heater vent and watch for her to place a bowl of warm oatmeal and a glass of milk on the kitchen table. Studies continue to show the benefits of "breaking the fast" before running out the door. Students learn better, workers think better, and dieters lose better when we start the day with nourishing food.

My mom seemed to know instinctively how to teach healthful eating habits to her children. She understood what registered dietitian and child feeding expert Ellyn Satter calls the "division of responsibility" for feeding kids. Parents, says Satter, are responsible for what, when and where their kiddos eat. Children are responsible for how much they eat Ö or if they eat at all.

Now I get to practice this all over again as a grandmother, who someone has described as "a mom with lots of frosting who never runs out of hugs or cookies."

Enjoy your Motherís Day!



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