• HealthClaimsUnpacked

The mother of all food shopping

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Chris Ryder, University of Reading


As adults, we probably all do at least some of the food shopping, whether for the household or just for ourselves, but there is one group of people who clearly hold the crown as guardians of what food can come into the home: Mothers.


Our research has shown that mums most often do the food shopping for their family, and this means that, especially in today's more health-conscious world, they are often strict regulators of what their children can and can't have. We all know that sugar, salt and saturated fats are bad, but they tend to be high in just the sorts of foods that children (and, let's be honest, adults) want most. Luckily mums are on hand to say "no" when it gets too much!


Interestingly, however, this doesn't mean that mums impose all their own buying or eating habits on their children. Our focus group volunteers explained that they will make some "sacrifices" if it means that their children will get a benefit along the way:


  • Orange juice can be high in sugar, but it also contains vitamin C

  • Cereals can also be high in sugar, but children will eat it with milk, which contains a lot of calcium

  • Tinned beans are often high in salt, but they are also very high in protein (not to mention convenient!)


It can be tempting to forbid ourselves our favourite foods in order to be healthy, but perhaps we should sometimes give ourselves a break if they're giving us benefits too. After all, we're always told that the most important thing is to get a balanced diet!


Do you allow yourself some sacrifices even when trying to eat more healthily? Are you a mother who has similar or different opinions on buying food for your children? Let us know your thoughts using the Contact Us link above.

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This activity has received funding from EIT Food, the innovation community on Food of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the EU, under the Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.