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7 simple habits that create a lifetime of healthy eating

Never use food as a reward or punishment

I don’t have a memory of my mom ever saying,“if you behave well you can have – insert food here.” Or “You can’t have cookies because you didn’t do your homework.” My mom never wanted us to connect food to our emotional state or the way we behaved.


Instead treats were offered because they are yummy. And once in a while a treat was okay. However, she didn’t always let us have treats, some reasons were because it was too close to dinner time or I had already had a treat the day before.

At the time I didn’t know it but this created a good habit of teaching me as an adult not to connect my emotional state to food, also known as emotional eating.

Kids and adults both eat the same meal

One of the reasons it was so easy for my mom to make homemade meals is because she was cooking the same meal for the whole family. She never separated our meals from adult meals, whatever she would cook for herself she’d cook for us.

This habit taught us to eat all different kinds of foods like fruits, grains, beans, vegetables and different kinds of meats.Though we didn’t always finish everything in our plate in time we learned to eat everything that was given to us. And mostly because it was all delicious.

Make homemade meals

This was her foundation and key to raising healthy eaters. We did eat out from time to time, but most days she would make sure that we had a homemade meal.

And she made everything from scratch using fresh ingredients.

She, like any mom, didn’t have the time to make chef-style meals every day. So she found delicious, easy meals that didn’t take a lot of time and she became an expert at making these in no time.

As a mom now I’m surprised at how many delicious, easy recipes I can find online. In her time, she had books and books of recipes she had to search through.

Keep healthy treats at home

My mom always made an effort to have treats at home for us. She made homemade Popsicles from fruit juice. Or once in a while she would make us homemade French fries to go with our meal. And she always kept at least one bag of chips for the impromptu picnic or movie night.

Though she wanted to instill healthy habits, she also knew that as children we needed these treats. And what better way than to make our own? To this day one of my favorite treats to make myself is homemade pizza or homemade fresh salsa and tortilla chips.

Only allow mom or dad go in the fridge and pantry

This “habit” was never spoken to us as a rule, it just was. We knew that if we wanted something to eat, we didn’t just go to the fridge or pantry and grab something to eat, we had to ask mom or dad.And they picked what they gave to us. The only time I remember going to the fridge to grab something was after dinner to grab a popsicle as dessert, and we still had to get mom’s approval.

This clever habit was the reason we would forget about our Halloween candy, because my mom never offered it to us again.She would take out an apple, or piece of cheese and we would take it and keep going on with our day.

Make sure fast food and treats are for special occasions

Because we mostly ate homemade meals she would never feel bad for taking us out to have happy meals once in a while. She would let us indulge in the occasional candy or ice cream.

And she never worried about days like Halloween because she knew that a day of indulging didn’t affect the hard work she was putting in day in and day out to teach us about good eating habits.

And because of this habit—I promise I’m not making this up—most of the Halloween candy would be left in the pantry to rot because two days after Halloween we had already forgotten there was candy left.

Never give up

My mom was a stay-at-home mom when I was young, but things changed as time passed. She had my brother at a later age and through a difficult time she at one point had to work several jobs. During this period, she had two teenagers, a preschool age child, a husband who worked full-time, and her own job to manage. And yet, she never gave up on making homemade meals every day.

This is the most difficult habit for me to accept and follow. I know that as a mom now, my excuse is to say that I don’t have the time to make homemade meals every day, but then I always remember that my mom somehow did it. And she never gave up. She continued to believe that a healthy meal was important and found the time.

She taught me that creating healthy habits in your family is not easy, but it’s also not impossible. Now as a mother myself I am thankful for the foundation that she instilled in me and I am now challenged to repeat this with my daughter.

And I hope that just like my mom and her mother I can continue another generation of healthy families who love all types of food.

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I can honestly tell you I love vegetables.

All kinds of vegetables. I am always eager to try new foods and my definition of comfort food is salad with homemade vinaigrette, my mom’s homemade pumpkin soup and lentils and rice. And I promise you, I’m not kidding, or even trying to sound healthy. Mama just loves herself some kale.

I’m not a vegetarian, and I do enjoy a good craft burger, however, fresh veggies truly are some of my favorites.

But I can’t take credit for this, in fact, family lore holds that I was actually a very difficult child when it came to eating. And anyone who knows me from when I was young can tell you some horror stories when it came to meal time. So I have to give all the credit to my wide love of food to my mom.

My poor mom went through a lot to instill healthy eating habits and for us to eat all kinds of food. She had the help of my dad who taugh tme to enjoy Pâté, prosciutto, an array of cheeses, and later as an adult, a good glass of wine.

The journey to instill good eating habits and a love of all different types of food for all of their children wasn’t always easy. But I believe my mom gave all her children a great food foundation. It’s because of her I am a healthy adult who loves a variety of foods. And I’m now in my own journey of teaching my daughter these same habits.

But how did this all come about? How did she turn this picky eater into a wide lover of food? As I have recently begun introducing solid food to my own little girl, I checked in with my own mama about how she helped raised healthy eaters.

Here are her secrets, more like habits, she followed every day until the day I left home.

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

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2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

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3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

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4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

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5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

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With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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