What Is an ‘Almond Mom?’ and How to Not Be One

The trending TikTok term "almond mom" is rooted in diet culture, and it's harmful.

Teenage girl looks at herself in the mirror touching her bra straps.

Gillian Vann / Stocksy

There's a new parenting style making the rounds on TikTok. And, unlike "scrunchy parenting" (a balance between natural "crunchy" and modern "silky" parenting), this one isn't something to try at home. It's called "almond parenting," and it's gone viral thanks to some resurfaced clips of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Yolanda Hadid talking to her then-teenage, now-supermodel daughter, Gigi.

"I'm feeling really weak. I had, like, half an almond," Gigi tells her mother.

Yolanda replies with diet-culture-inspired advice: "Have a couple of almonds, and chew them really well."

Yikes. So, basically, "almond moms" dole out unhealthy but unfortunately common eating advice that really needs to go back to the 20th century, where it actually never belonged in the first place.

The advice is harmful, as other TikTokers shared.

"I'm glad we're calling out [almond moms] on this app," says one TikToker named Dr. Karla, who posts as @imecommunity and says she's a pediatrician. "This is a really concerning trend. It's really harmful…it's rooted in diet culture, internalized bias, fatphobia, projection, the pursuit of thin privilege, and not health."

That's a mouthful, but Dr. Karla isn't wrong.

Another mom, Charlene Johnson, says she was relieved when she heard Yolanda's comments because she never made comments about her own daughter's weight. But then, she self-reflected and realized she may have been a different kind of "almond mom."

"I think there are definitely two types of almond moms," Johnson says in a video that's been viewed nearly 24.5K times. "There's the almond mom who made comments about her own body, her own body image, and her daughter's…and everything was about being thin…and then there's almond mom light."

Johnson admits she raised her children during the height of diet culture and knows they saw how she handled it.

"As much as I try to let my kids eat what they wanted, never talked about their bodies, never talked about my own body in front of them, they still were watching what I was doing," says Johnson, a former fitness instructor who said she'd be more marketable if she lost weight. "What I was doing was exercising for hours a day. I never ate what they ate, and I was [fanatic] about eating clean."

Johnson has since walked away from the industry and reminds parents that they aren't perfect. But her video shows that our relationship and comments about food and body image affect our children.

Experts share that healthy eating starts in the home during childhood and involves so much more than what's on a nutrition label. To promote these habits, experts suggest parents and caregivers:

  • Steer clear of food shaming. Labeling certain foods like vegetables "good" and cookies "bad" may make children feel like their eating habits define them as "good" or "bad." Instead of saying, "eat your carrots," try, "orange foods build immune strength." Does your child want a cookie? Try, "Sugar gives you energy, but cookies aren't on the menu tonight. We can have those tomorrow. Which type would you like?"
  • De-emphasize the scaleBody mass tools are particularly problematic because they're race-based and center white people. And, generally, focusing on the number on the scale may trigger disordered eating. Instead of weight, try to help your child focus on how movement and eating fish and veggies gives them more energy and releases endorphins.
  • Get gets involved in meal prep. Experts say that kids who help with cooking and baking are less picky. It helps them learn more about ingredients and empowers them to help out—and it can be a bonding experience.

Experts suggest that role modeling moderation, such as eating produce and protein—and a treat here or there, too—can also help a child build truly healthy and sustainable eating habits. If you're concerned about your child's eating habits, speak with a medical or mental health provider.

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