“Mom guilt.” It’s like laundry. No matter how hard you try to wish it away, it’s always there. Now more than ever, this fast-paced, technology-driven world puts pressure on young moms to do what’s right for their family. Is this car seat safe enough? What kind of milk should I buy? What age is safe to play tackle football? As a mom of three, I have certainly felt my fair share of failures and have days where I’m positive my kids are destined for therapy. Although parenthood can create insecurities for me, as a farm wife and our home’s main food buyer, I am 100% confident in choosing food at the grocery store. Buying food for your family can be tough, especially with endless amounts of marketing and deceiving claims that flood the aisles and confuse our shopping experience. Food companies know all about “mom guilt.” They know you want to feed your family the best, and unfortunately, are cashing in on a mother’s insecurities. But you can take back control and feel guilt-free about your purchases with a few simple tips:
Read labels, not the front of the package. The best way to know the nutritional merit of a food item is to turn it over and read the label. I love convenience food just as much as the next mom, but before you blow your budget on a bag of plant-based “chicken” nuggets, take time to read the label. Make sure you are comfortable with the sodium content and the list of added ingredients before purchasing.
Be confident shopping the produce aisle. If you are anxious that buying non-organic strawberries will ruin your child for life, stop it! Farmers, both organic and non-organic, fundamentally have the same values: producing safe, secure and sustainable food. Studies show only one-in-ten Americans consume enough fruits and veggies a day. So, purchase produce that is affordable for your family. Organic or conventional, just eat more. Check out safefruitsandveggies.com to calculate how many servings a person can safely consume and not have adverse effects from pesticide residues (the numbers may shock you!).
Know that farmers and ranchers feed their own families what they grow. Livestock farmers follow strict guidelines set by the USDA, and meat is rigorously tested before it is sold at the retail level. Our family eats the same beef we raise for other consumers and do not take that responsibility lightly.
While I don’t have a solution for the endless piles of laundry, I hope you can cut yourself some slack and leave your “mom guilt” in the grocery store parking lot.