Mother Knows Best!


Even though another Mothers Day has just come and gone, celebrating Mom needn’t be relegated to just one day. From the time my mother wiped my first sad tears, to bandaging endless scraped knees, to giving me nurturing counsel on whether to marry my husband ( she emphatically told me to do so!)my mother was always by my side.

But it was her “lead by example” advice when it came to good health that has made the most impact on my life. While other families were trying out this new thing called Burger King, you’d find my mom in the kitchen whipping up healthy eats. She was a vegetarian before it was fashionable and knew the power of meditation and good long walks while her friends were stressed and got little exercise. And it’s probably safe to say, it was by her actions that I ended up in the health and wellness business as her influence was so strong.

So I was thinking for a fun piece this month, I’d find out if others in the health and wellness business also had mothers who might have been the steering wheel behind their professional choice. I was also curious as to what words of wisdom these professionals received from their mothers that they continue to practice today and impart to those they counsel. Because after all, mother really does know best, doesn’t she?

My mother was and continues to be my biggest source of inspiration for cooking vibrant, flavorful, healthy vegetarian meals. She taught me to be creative in the kitchen–to repurpose leftovers, minimize food waste and most importantly slow down and savor food. I apply all of these skills to my personal and professional life. She never believed in the “clean plate” syndrome. We served ourselves small portions and went for more if we wanted. If however, we started feeling full, there was no guilt or shame in not eating it. Although she died 10 years ago, I can hear her voice guide me as I cook and cherish wonderful memories of times spent in her kitchen.–Vandana Sheth, RD, CDE, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

My mom and dad always advised me to have health insurance, no matter what, because you never know what can happen in even a small window and medical expenses without insurance can be severe. They believed this so strongly that they helped me get insurance while I was working an internship right after I graduated college. I’ve followed their advice, never being uninsured for even one day!–Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ

The best advice I ever got from my Mom isn’t specific to health, but it completely applies. Her advice was, “You can start over anytime you want.” It gave me so much permission to fail and start again. I use that advice now when working with clients to help them realize that, when it comes to making healthy behavior change, the goal is progress, not perfection.–Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist  Southern Fried Nutrition Services, LLC

My mom always made sure that I stayed on top of my health by scheduling regular doctor visits for an annual physical. Also, if something was bothering me, she made sure I visited the doctor, rather than wait for it to get better. She always tells me about people who ignore their illnesses and how much worse it can get in the time you are ignoring it. So, because of my mom, I make sure I seek out medical help if something is wrong. —Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD. Nutritional

This is a great topic. It got me thinking about my Mom who passed away during my dietetic internship 22 years ago. My Mom always said don’t take your good health for granted. She also stressed the importance of sitting down together to eat a homemade healthy dinner as a family. She said if you don’t continue to eat healthy it will catch up to you and affect your health and weight.

My Mom inspired me to go back to school to become a registered dietitian as she had been ill with cancer for 20 years on and off and during that time she didn’t have nutrition counseling. I wanted to learn more about nutrition to help others understand the importance food plays in your health and to show people it can be easy to prepare healthy delicious food. My mother’s grandfather inspired me to cook, I had initially gone to Johnson & Wales for Culinary Arts and went on for a bachelor’s degree in hotel restaurant management.–Tracee Yablon Brenner, RDN, CHHC, Triad To Wellness Consulting

Growing up, my mom was pretty big on having dinner together. It didn’t have to be a fancy meal- sometimes it was take out! But we rarely weren’t home for dinner because it was important to spend that time together. As an adult, this has made me prioritize meal time as important for my health and relationships. I make sure to sit down for each and every meal, ideally with my family, and take time for myself to actually enjoy food. —Abbey Sharp, RD,  Abbeys

My mom was actually THE reason I became a dietitian. In college, I started out studying Apparel Merchandising. It was a terrible fit. My mom somehow knew I had an interest in food and health and encouraged me to change my major. Influenced by her support and intrigued by how food played such a pivotal role in her health(she suffered from ulcerative colitis), I knew it was the right path for me! Thank goodness she had that insight! She was one of my biggest supporters then, and continues to be one of my best supporters to this day!–Sara Haas RDN, LDN, Dietitian and Chef, Sara Haas RDN .com

We always had a large vegetable garden and fruit trees. My mother taught us to love those plant based foods, not by telling us to eat them, but by using them in a variety of ways. Whether it was fresh cherry tomatoes in our dinner salad or a special treat like strawberry jam or zucchini bread, she helped me and my siblings cultivate a love for fruits and vegetables. —Meri Raffetto RDN, founder of

My mom was always health conscious and taught me that good health is more important than anything else you can possess. I watched her cook from scratch every night and listened as she taught me tidbits she read from magazines and books about nutrition. My interest in dietetics definitely sprouted early on and I thank her for always trying to support my weight loss efforts as a heavy child with love and compassion. —Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, owner of Nutrition Starring

The best health advice I got from my mom was to always include vegetables in your meals daily. I grew up in Chicago and we owned the lot next to our house. Every year we had a huge garden with tons of peppers, tomatoes, beans,squash etc. We would eat from our garden daily. She would can and freeze vegetables for winter. I remember my brothers, my mom and I standing in the garden together picking vegetables while we popped cherry tomatoes in our mouths because they tasted so good homegrown. To this day I love vegetables because of my mom. My kids do too. Her love for good food is one of the reasons I became an RD.– Kim Melton, RD NutritionPro Consulting, Nutrition

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