Thursday, July 18, 2024

Doctor Love: Healthy Nana

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Readers email your question to [email protected]. Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length

Dear Doctor Love,
My daughter-in-law is a lovely girl and she is a good wife and mother. She’s also overweight. She constantly diets, then binges and that is her choice, but my two granddaughters are suffering because of her poor example. Breakfast is a sugary cereal. Lunch is processed meats and snack foods and dinner is something like fried chicken and fries or another food with no nutritional value but lots of calories. The eleven-year-old is actually obese and it breaks my heart.
I see this more and more with Belizean children and I hate to see it happen with my two grandbabies. How can I get my daughter-in-law to see that the junk food she gives them is a terrible substitute for fruits and vegetables? I don’t want to hurt her feelings. She and my son both work hard but she doesn’t seem to understand that she is jeopardizing their health. What should I do?
/s/Healthy Nana

Dear Nana,
Tread carefully. Nothing can cause a mothers’ temper to erupt quicker than being told how to better care for her children. Your concerns might be valid, but you still need to be sensitive to your daughter-in-laws’ feelings.
With families more inclined to have both parents working, it has become easier for mothers to rely on prepared meals to save time and energy. Dialing for a pizza is faster and easier than peeling vegetables and baking chicken.
The indirect approach will be easier to swallow than a blunt observation of the obvious. Instead of telling her she is doing it all wrong, you could be proactive and part of the solution by offering to help prepare some weekday meals. Healthy alternatives to fast foods are more time consuming because of the prep-time. Take that off her shoulders and it will be much easier for her to have nutritious meals.
There is an even better alternative. What is your son doing while she is working and preparing the family meals, cleaning the bathroom and doing the laundry? It’s not just her responsibility. A working mother of two is a pretty busy lady so talk to your son and tell him he should be helping her with the evening meal. Surely as a nutritious conscious mother yourself you must have taught your son some basic cooking skills. It is time to point him towards the kitchen.
Think of how much more quality time this family will spend together if they all participate in food preparation every evening. If you’re not going to hold your son just as accountable, then hold your tongue and stay out of it.

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