Melina Jampolis, MD
Dr. Melina is a mom of a three-year-old son and an internist and board certified physician nutrition specialist—one of only a several hundred practicing in the United States. She’s the author of The Calendar Diet and creator of Dr. Melina Bars, in Los Angeles, CA.
What’s your favorite parenting tip? Don’t compare yourself to others. Until recently, I spent a lot of time feeling badly about myself and my parenting skills compared to other moms (particularly about my inability to discipline my son properly). I started to realize that I’m doing the best I can, and instead of beating myself up, I started focusing on the wonderful things that I do do for him like singing in French and enthusiastically participating in home art projects without being concerned about the mess!
What has surprised you most about parenting? How hard it is! It is without a doubt the most difficult and the most amazing thing I have ever done.
How do you get your family to eat healthy food? Honestly, there is a lot of bribery involved – eat this and you get that. I’m sure that is not the best approach, but it works. We also do a lot of baking together and he loves putting all sorts of ingredients that he doesn’t even realize are healthy into muffins! I do talk a lot about what foods are healthy and what foods are junk food even though he is only 3½ years old. It cracks me up when another mom offers him juice at a party and he explains that juice is not healthy (of course in limited amounts it’s fine but hard to convey that message to him so I prefer he think of juice as a treat).
I’m careful not to eat off of my son’s plate. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes moms make. A nibble of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich here, a few Goldfish crackers there, it all can add up to an extra 400 to 500 calories a day! Don’t be a part of the clean-plate club!Another thing I do is bring snacks wherever I go. When moms have very young babies, they rarely leave the house without snacks for the baby. But why does that stop as the babies grow up? When I leave the house, I bring along a portion of nuts or a snack to eat.
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? I have two rescue dogs so I have to walk them two or three times per day or they destroy my house. I have weights next to the bath tub and I do arm exercises while my son is in the bath and I carve out two hours per week non-negotiable for yoga. It keeps me sane and strong!
How do you recharge your batteries? I love being around people. I love to entertain and even though it’s a lot of work it actually energizes me. I started doing baby happy hours when my son was six months old and they have become a highly sought after invitation by my mom friends!