The trending phrase “almond mom” is rooted in diet culture and was recently relit by model Gigi Hadid’s mom, Yolanda Hadid. Apparently, almond mom TikTok videos are becoming popular on the platform, with the form of parenting and diet management trending. Otherwise known as “almond parenting,” the almond mom trend has resurfaced from old clips of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in which alum Yolanda Hadid was talking to her then-teenage daughter Gigi. "I'm feeling really weak. I had, like, half an almond," Gigi tells her mother, to which her mother responds, “Have a couple of almonds, and chew them really well.” Below is more on this dangerous trend and how we can stop it.
What Is an Almond Mom?
The phrase “almond mom” is used in reference to those with orthorexia or an obsession with healthy or “clean” eating. As we previously mentioned, the 2014 Yolanda Hadid almond video in which she told her now-supermodel daughter to chew a few almonds really well in response to her daughter’s complaints about dizziness from lack of eating has fueled the term “almond mom” and “almond parenting.”
Almond moms are recognized for doling out unhealthy but unfortunately common eating advice, including old unhealthy dieting tips like chewing your food for longer periods to avoid eating more. As one TikToker named Dr.Karla commented, "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."1
Another mom, Chalene Johnson, shared that she was initially relieved when she saw the video that sparked the Gigi Hadid almond diet because she never made comments about her own daughter’s weight. After some reflecting, however, Johnson shared that she believes there are two types of almond moms. "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."2
In the video, Johnson, a former fitness instructor, admits that she raised her children during the height of diet culture and knows they were aware of how she handled it. Despite her efforts to not comment on her or their eating habits and physical appearance or weight, they were still aware of her behavior. She shared that she was exercising for hours every day, never ate what her family ate, and was a “fanatic” about eating clean.2
Thus, whether they do so directly or indirectly, almond moms encourage or perpetuate diet culture or disordered eating behavior in their children. As a result, they pass on unhealthy eating habits from generation to generation, sometimes without realizing the damage that they’re doing. Furthermore, to be clear, moms aren’t the only culprits. Any parent, caregiver, family friend, or relative can perpetuate unhealthy eating behaviors through body-shaming or using language that promotes diet culture.
Am I an Almond Mom?
If you’re overly obsessed with dieting and encourage or even enforce your children to abide by the same mentality, you might be an almond mom. Some common phrases or language that almond moms use include:
- Are you sure you want to eat that?
- Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels
- Once past the lips, forever on the hips
- You and I are going on a diet together
- You’re not hungry, you’re just bored
However, while it’s common for “almond parents” to be outspoken about dieting and eating, sometimes it’s behavior that does more damage than words, as we saw with Chalene Johnson. Parents may practice restrictive and harmful eating patterns that their children may adopt, such as restrictive eating, avoiding certain food groups, and obsession with “clean” eating. These parents may also believe that there are “forbidden” foods, which could perpetuate a lack of balance with eating and even fear of certain foods.
Studies have shown that restricting access to palatable foods affects children’s behavior responses, food selection, and intake. From the two experiments conducted, the first showed that restricting access to palatable foods – such as those high in fat and sugar – increased children’s behavioral responses to those foods. The second experiment showed that restricting access to these foods increased children’s subsequent selection and intake of that food.3 In other words, prohibiting your children from eating certain foods in hopes that they’ll remain uninterested can actually have the opposite effect.
How to Avoid Diet Culture & Being an Almond Mom
There are several ways you can avoid being an almond mom and contributing to diet culture. These include:
- Avoid food shaming: Health crazes and diets tend to get hung up on cutting out “bad” ingredients like sugar, gluten, carbs, or salt. But these ingredients – in moderation – are no cause or alarm. The way we talk about foods, ingredients, or nutritional facts can deeply affect our children. Rather than cutting out foods and labeling them as “bad” altogether, it’s best to expose your children to a variety of foods without shame.
- Don’t focus on your child’s weight: It’s important for children to understand that the way they look is not more important than their health or the way they feel. If your child’s weight presents medical or mobility issues, focus on helping them realize how much better they’ll feel with dietary tweaks and changes they can control. You can encourage and increase activities they enjoy.
- Teach that healthy eating isn’t perfect eating: There is an overwhelming burden on parents to know exactly what they should be feeding their children or allowing them to eat. Parents are under pressure to make meals from scratch, try out complicated recipes and diets, and basically go to extremes just to make sure their children eat certain foods. As a result, the kids also face pressure to eat everything they’re served because there are “starving children in the world who don’t have food” Instead, remember that you aren’t perfect, and neither are your kids, so there is no pressure to make perfect standards, especially when it comes to eating.
These are just a few ways that parents can avoid perpetuating diet culture in their homes and children. Diet culture has ties to eating disorders, which are mental health disorders linked to unhealthy and harmful eating patterns. Disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and others have proven deadly for many, so if you or a loved one shows any signs of an eating disorder, seeking professional help is key.
Our Philadelphia Eating Disorder Clinic Can Help
As a result of the almond mom TikTok trend, more parents are sharing ways they promote a positive relationship with food for themselves and their kids. This includes stepping away from restrictive practices of almond parenting that they heard when they were growing up. From acknowledging their own negative food habits and trying to break harmful generational patterns, many TikTokers are promoting positive eating culture in their own homes and experiencing healing themselves.
With this said, Banyan Treatment Centers understands the impact that diet culture can have on a person’s life, especially if they were exposed to harmful almond mom-like practices when they were growing up. As a result, many now have eating disorders that have taken over their health and lives. If this is where you or a loved one fall, we’re here to help.
Our facility offers Philadelphia eating disorder treatment to support long-term recovery from disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorders, and others. For more information about the services offered in our Banyan eating disorder program, Nourish in Recovery, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763.
Although referenced in this article, Banyan Treatment Centers is not associated with the creation and use of the term "Almond Mom." As mentioned previously, the term "Almond Mom" is used to refer to traits that are associated with the disorder orthorexia nervosa. This article is meant to inform our audience of the effects of harsh eating habits that are taught by parents, and it is not intended to glamorize the subject.
- TikTok – Karla [@imecommunity]. 10/11/2022. “Almond moms are addicted to the pursuit of thin privilege and get a dopamine hit by subsuming their child in...”
- TikTok – Chalene Johnson [@chalenejohnson]. 10/23/2022. “Confessions of an #AlmondMom Undercover. I’m doing a deep dive on my Podcast this week.”
- NIH - Restricting access to palatable foods affects children's behavioral response, food selection, and intake