I recently had a conversation with an administrator at a NYC school. She was relaying to me the demands parents placed on her and their school in terms of nutrition. As a parent I could understand some of the requests (hormone free dairy, snacks free of allergens and low in sugar). As a nutritionist, I know how “nutty” some NYC parents can be. At the end of our conversation, the administrator said “and the juice, do you know how many juice boxes leave this school at pick up? Parents give these kids juice but demand we do not.” Interesting.

This made me start to think. Do we, as parents, demand more from schools, camps and babysitters in terms of nutrition that we do for our children ourselves? And do we expect our children to eat in a manner we don’t even replicate in our adult lives? Question: how many of you will have breakfast or lunch today made with organic produce and hormone free meat?

I have had many parents tell me “I made sure we had a healthy snack when your kids came to play.” I can only gather it’s a healthier snack then they normally have. And I’ll be honest; I may up the antioxidant ante when I have kids over at my house. While my kids may have an apple and a cookie afterschool, we may have carrots and celery and clementines for a play date. So am I guilty too? Am I a health hypocrite? This surely extends beyond the parent and child relationship. Ladies, do you shun the bread basket when out to eat but eat the bread when you’re on your own? I always laugh when the sugars and fake sugars are placed on a restaurant table. It often goes untouched. I would love to follow my friends and see if they are “sugar free” when solo at Starbucks.

Many of us want to wear a halo of health. Perhaps our nutrition knowledge and habits are part of our image like the car we drive or the clothing that we wear. I could go on and on (read past posts I do) about reasons to eat well and exercise but this faking it strikes me as a waste of time and likely counterproductive. If all of this faux health creates stress it may well be making us less healthy. Can we all agree to be imperfectly healthy and reduce eating stress and stress in general? I wrote a post entitled Fast Food Slaytons a couple months ago. I described a run in with a burger joint my family had on the way home from Vermont. I cannot tell you the number of emails I received. People were thrilled to hear that I too had slips and that we didn’t have to pretend French fries never happen because, even for nutritionists, they do!

Are you a health hypocrite? Do you have any examples of faking it you’d like to share?

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