Why the ‘almond mom’ style of parenting is harmful for kids | #parenting



Different people have different parenting styles. But, with changing times people have become more open to newer parenting styles, adapting to changes and giving up practices that could harm the development of a child.

One such parenting style — that has been doing rounds on TikTok — is something called ‘almond mom’. The term comes from a controversial statement made by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Yolanda Hadid. It instantly went viral after an old clip resurfaced on the internet showing Yolanda instructing her then-teenage daughter Gigi Hadid to follow an unhealthy diet to stay thin.

“I’m feeling really weak. I had, like, half an almond,” Gigi tells her mother.

“Have a couple of almonds, and chew them really well,” Yolanda advises her daughter.

Netizens called out the parenting style that is rooted in diet culture and focuses on staying thin at the cost of health.

According to Dr Parag Dekhate, clinical director, pediatric department, KIMS Cuddles, a lot of attention is given to physical appearance than to health and diet. “So, instead of focusing on a healthy diet, whenever a child asks for food (as they have higher energy requirement during growth phases) most of the millennial parents tell them to have a few almonds (as it is a healthy option and would take care of there nutritional needs and not make them fat) which is actually harmful a harmful practice,” he said.

Diet culture
It is commonly believed that appearance is more important and to fit the bracket people resort to compromising on their diet without realising the health impact. Such people do the same thing with their kids. “We start cutting down on the food rather than modifying the diet, which causes severe deficiency of essential fatty acids and proteins and fibres. Also, it reduces metabolic rate and over time it becomes difficult to lose weight and become healthy as the BMR is low and a further reduction in food would not change your body weight.

“An unbalanced diet causes a deficiency of a lot of minerals and vitamins and leads to loss of bones and muscle strength. The most important thing to avoid in kids’ diets is excessive carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates like sugar-containing foods,” the expert said.

He added that such practices lead to body shaming. It leads to comparisons between kids and sometimes families as well. “Parents try to match others’ expectations which are nutritionally harmful to kids,” said Dr Dekhate.

How to inculcate healthy eating habits in kids?

Healthy eating is not only for kids, but also the family. The expert suggested giving reasonable options to kids such as rice or chapati, apple or banana rather rice or chips, banana or chocolate etc. He also listed the following ways parents can inculcate healthy eating habits in their kids.

*Healthy snacking like salad, fruits, low carbohydrates food
*Include natural proteins in the diet like eggs, dals, or pulses
*Avoid refined carbohydrates like maida, Maggi, excess sweets
*Avoid excess salt. For instance chips (one packet of chips is equivalent to 1 week of salt intake)
*Include salads in all meals (constipation is a very common problem in kids nowadays)
*Take care of hydration as it is very important
*Don’t force-feed
*Motivate kids to follow a healthy diet

‘Almond mom’ kind parenting style can have long-term impacts including social and emotional pressure on kids and family, more focus on weight than health, and chances of malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies. “Also, it may make kids food-shame other kids, making it very difficult to change their food habits over time,” Dr Dekhate concluded.

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