More Than 1 in 3 Moms Believe They Eat Less Healthfully Now Then They Did Before They Became a Parent

New Poll Finds 81% of Moms with Kids Under 18 Admit to Eating Off Their Kids’ Plates Either Before, During or After a Meal (Graphic: Business Wire)
New Poll Finds 81% of Moms with Kids Under 18 Admit to Eating Off Their Kids’ Plates Either Before, During or After a Meal (Graphic: Business Wire)

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A pizza crust here, a chicken nugget there, can eating leftovers off your child’s plate really add up? The answer is yes. A new survey conducted online in April by Harris Poll on behalf of Nutrisystem found that 81% of moms with kids under 18 admit to eating off their kids’ plates either before, during or after a meal. What’s more, more than 1 in 3 (36%) say they eat less healthfully now than they did before they became a parent.

Some of the top foods moms are guilty of eating off their kids’ plates are:

French Fries – 62%
Pizza Crust – 53%
Potato Chips – 46%
Chicken Nuggets – 41%
Cake/Cupcakes – 35%
Mac & Cheese –34%
Pancakes – 28%

“While the leftover foods that are on your child’s plate may seem small, the calories in those extra few bites really can add up over time,” says Courtney McCormick, Corporate Dietitian at Nutrisystem. “And those extra calories can really put your calorie needs out of balance and may be detrimental to your weight loss efforts.”

As ‘The Grown-Up Consequences of Cleaning Kids’ Plates’ infographic depicts, what many moms don’t realize is that, on average, eating leftovers once a day for one week can add up to more than 400 additional calories. Snacking at that rate weekly equals nearly 6 pounds per year. The more you pick off your kid’s plate, the more the calories go up,” adds McCormick.

To help moms everywhere make healthier choices and avoid reaching for that leftover pizza crust, McCormick provides the following tips:

  • Be Aware of How Much You Are Eating. The first thing to do is be aware of just how much food you are picking from your child’s plate. If you are doing it every so often, say once a week, then it probably isn’t a big deal. But if you are cleaning their plate every day, you may need to cut back.
  • Reassess Your Child’s Portion Sizes. If your child consistently has food left over on their plate, reassess the portion size you are giving them. Similar to how we often overdo our own portion sizes, we often put more on our child’s plate than they can eat at one time. One way to know the right portion size is to look at your child’s hands – protein (like meats, fish, chicken) should be the size of their palm; fruits and veggies should be the size of 2 palms; healthy fats (cheese, nut butters, avocado) should be the size of their thumb (from knuckle to tip); and grains (pasta, rice) should be the size of their fist. Using their hand to judge portion size is great because as they age their hands get larger so you can increase their portion sizes.
  • Be Picky About What You Eat. If you find yourself grabbing leftovers, go for the less caloric choices – choose to eat the leftover blueberries or carrots on their plate instead of the chicken nuggets or mac & cheese.
  • Save It for Another Day. If you feel the urge to eat leftovers because you can’t stand to see food wasted, save your child’s leftovers and serve them later as a snack or the next day’s meal choice.
  • Eat While They Eat: If you are picking leftovers from your child’s plate because you are hungry, then try to have your own healthy, lower-calorie snack or meal to eat while your child is eating. Make sure the food you choose fits into your diet rather than just eating the food your child is eating.
  • Rethink Your Day: If you do end up eating the food from your child’s plate, then rethink your eating throughout the rest of the day – maybe forgo a snack or eat less at a meal. Take into account the calories you ate off your child’s plate and include them in your daily calorie count.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Nutrisystem from April 3-5, 2017 among 342 women ages 18+ who are the parent of a child under 18. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Deanna Every,

About Harris Poll

Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. Contact us for more information. Contact us for more information.

About Nutrisystem, Inc.

Nutrisystem, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTRI) is a leader in the weight loss industry, having helped millions of people lose weight over the course of 45 years. The Company’s multi-brand approach to weight loss includes two distinct programs for 2017. From the flagship Nutrisystem® brand comes the clinically-tested Nutrisystem® Lean13 program, designed to deliver weight loss of up to 13 pounds and seven inches in the first month. In 2017, South Beach Diet® becomes an all-new structured meal delivery weight-loss program following the acquisition of the brand in December 2015. Additional Nutrisystem branded weight-loss products include Fast 5 and Turbo 10, as well as multi-day kits and individual products at select retail outlets.