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Eating Well: A Survey of Working Moms


Once upon a time, I’d feel guilty for the occasional frozen pizza. Now? Not as much. Because as much as I’d like to cook homemade meals from scratch every night, it’s just not feasible. Plus, I know that serving my family healthier meals most of the time means that the occasional pizza or convenience meal is just a blip on the nutritional radar. Everything in moderation, right? Besides, if my kids happily eat asparagus and broccoli — and recently started enjoying SALAD! (sorry, I’m really excited about that) — it’s fine with me if they have special treats here and there. No one is perfect, and I don’t think anyone has to eat “perfectly” to eat healthily.feedingfamilies

The Working Mother Research Institute recently sent us the results of a survey of almost a thousand working mothers. A few interesting tidbits when it comes to moms and food:

  • Working mothers are hard on themselves: 58% of women surveyed say they are disappointed when they serve their family convenience rather than homemade foods.
  • The biggest roadblocks to eating healthy? Working moms say lack of time (41%), expense (25%) and picky eaters (24%) all top the list.
  • 94% say they spend an hour or less preparing dinner on a typical weeknight.
  • Families spend an average of 34 minutes preparing dinner on weeknights; they spend 37 minutes planning the week’s meals (not including shopping).
  • The actions identified by working moms in the survey as the ones they consider most important for ensuring their families are getting proper nutrition (regardless of what they can accomplish every day) are serving fruits (86%) and vegetables (84%) regularly, avoiding sugary (57%) and processed foods (50%), and packing healthy lunches (59%).
  • A majority — 63 percent — go to the store with a shopping list.

I gotta say, I think I fall right in line with most of these moms. I probably spend about 35 to 45 minutes getting dinner ready each evening. The lack of time is the biggest roadblock to cooking healthy meals, for sure. After all, if I had unlimited time it would be much easier to make a perfectly balanced meal, but sometimes you don’t realize it’s dinnertime until your kids are hangry and then it’s GRILLED CHEESE ASAP THE DEFROSTED CHICKEN WILL BE FINE TOMORROW. But as I’ve added kids to the brood, I’ve definitely relaxed when it comes to mealtime. As long as I’ve got fruits and veggies handy, I’m feeling pretty good about myself.

This survey does raise a couple of questions for me though: 1) Who are the 6 percent who spend more than an hour on dinner? I want to go to there, and 2) Who goes to the grocery store without a list!?

Where do you fall in line? Do you feel like you’re not doing enough when it comes to family nutrition or are you just happy when the little people eat?  —Erin

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