Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Diet & Nutrition

Get Email Updates

Diet & Nutrition Guide

Christine Jeffries

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Childfree Couples Eat More Healthfully Than Parents

By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide
 
Rate This
Childfree Couples Eat More Healthfully Than Parents 0 5
Diet & Nutrition related image
Photo: Getty Images

I knew it! If it weren’t for my kids I’d be a perfect (?) size 0 and I’d be doing that whole organic, whole grain, vegan-fussing-over-carbs thing! Well, not really, although I was not the best eater in the first three years of having three children. I ate too many processed foods, even as a devout vegetarian. Like many other mothers, it took me awhile to get back into the grove of eating like I did before having kids.

Results from the British government, that took nutritional information regarding the grocery purchases of over 7,000 families and were compiled to compare the eating habits of the English show that apparently, I’m not alone.

The results showed that the more well-off the family, the better they ate, with a diet including vegetables and fruit, as well as meat. Younger households (age-wise) tended to eat more fats and sweets, with older households seeing a decline in those kinds of foods.

But some were taken aback by the finding that one group who ate more healthily than another group were child-free couples, as opposed to parents. As a parent (and former longtime childless person!), this does not seem remarkable at all despite some reactions to the findings as “surprising”. Couples without children were not just healthy eaters by a small margin. The findings saw that they ate on average 4.4 pounds more of vegetables and fruits over a two-week period than parents. One economic professor from the University of Reading said that “For whatever reason, the social dynamic in a household with children makes the diet on average more unhealthy”.

Again, it’s surprising at all the surprise! For “whatever reason” seems pretty obvious to parents although at the end of it all, we parents need to make a better effort at eating more healthfully.

Generally speaking, double-income-no-kids couples (DINKS, as we used to be called) have more money and can afford to spend more on really good veggie and fruit options, especially all that delicious out-of-season fare that unfortunately can cost an arm and a leg.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Jadecarpet

How did parents 100 years ago manage without all the over processed (junk) foods of today. If it's not in the house, then they know there's no point in asking!!! Believe me, I am no domestic goddess. There have been days when it's been 7pm before my poor children have sat down to a dinner. Fish, chicken, some red meats, veg/fruit, seeds, nuts & grains. I made my kids eat them from the very start. I insisted on fish dinners minimum twice a week. They LOVE fish & I always have. Funny how that shocks people! They go crazy for olives, gherkins and seeds (sesame, sunflower etc). I am no size 0 (generous portion sizes!), I would be about 30-35lbs overweight but my kids are in their normal weight ranges. I have no-one to blame if my family do not eat healthy. I do the shopping, I cook meals. I try to plan meals a week ahead. Like Sunday roasts become Monday leftovers. Tues & thurs: fish days- poached or in a pie or grilled. Wednesdays can be spicy grilled chicken with all the veg trimmings or maybe Lasagne, loaded with veggies (freeze leftovers). Friday can be casserole, guess what's for dinner on Saturday? Healthy doesn't mean complicated, expensive & time consuming!!! I think that has a lot to do with why a lot of people opt for the convenience of junk food, mostly they're afraid it will be complicated & take too long to cook. Test yourself for a month with eating healthier, change recipes to make them easier, some might even be surprised at what their kids WILL eat. Dear God your kids are going to whine & cry!!! Let them, be cruel to be kind, there really is a lot to that old saying. Just pray your nerves hold out! No child likes to go hungry & it's hard not to give in but something has to give. Childfree couples? Please! They work, go home, stare & smile at each other, have great social lives (I am moderately jealous of that bit) & have greater disposable incomes. Like us parents didn't already know that! So, does that mean it's safe to assume, that it's easier to afford, prepare & eat healthy with all that free time childfree couples seem to have? Of course it's easier for them!!! But let’s be honest, no-one said being a parent was a stroll in the park, if anything the opposite & I wouldn't swap my 'challenging' life for the easy one if it came draped in diamonds. So go on you childfree couples enjoy your super healthy eating because once parenthood arrives to wake you up, then the challenge begins - Can you maintain your super healthy eating habits????

January 14, 2011 - 7:18pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

ok I think that most children are pretty spoiled when it comes to what they will and wont eat. It is a whole lot of work to make them eat healthier and listen to their constant whining. The other day my 10 yr old daughter looked at me and said" can't we just for once be like normal families and have junk food for dinner." I cook a lot of veggies and my kids still manage if I do not watch their plate, to sneak away and leave those veggies on the plate. It is frustrating, and it is the rare child who does not prefer pizza and mac n cheese to grilled veggies and fish. I can see why tired parents who just want to feel like they did thier job and gave their kid some dinner would opt for junk instead of healthy food. Yes parents should do the healthy thing but it is difficult.

January 13, 2011 - 5:25pm
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1793 Health

Changed

695 Lives

Saved

552 Lives
17 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

What's your favorite veggie? :
View Results