What Is An 'Almond Mom' (And Is The Phenomenon Harmful)?

No matter how someone parents, the internet is quick to devise a label for them: free-range parent, gentle parent, helicopter parent. Gwyneth Paltrow isn't without scrutiny in this regard, either, and people everywhere are lumping her into one of the latest parenting tropes. Yes, Paltrow is an "almond mom," at least in the eyes of the internet.

The "almond mom" is one of the latest archetypes in the world of parenting. Whereas other parenting labels focus on parenting styles in general, "almond moms" are defined by something even more specific. This group of mothers has been taking a lot of heat recently for how they approach an important but sometimes overlooked aspect of parenting. But what's the typical philosophy of an "almond mom," and is it really harming today's children as much as social media users say it will? Do "almond moms" have all the answers, or do they have it all wrong?

What is an almond mom?

If your first thought is that the concept of an "almond mom" somehow revolves around food, you're absolutely correct. "Almond moms" are defined by the way they eat — and the way that they often encourage their children to view food.

"Almond moms" typically take pride in eating a restrictive diet. These parents may focus heavily on "clean eating" and steer their own children away from birthday cake and pizza at parties. They may also have strict exercise regimens and a narrower view of which foods are "healthy" than many other parents do. Although promoting healthy eating is typically seen as a parenting "green flag," the "almond mom" label isn't exactly a compliment. The term started circling TikTok, where users were quick to label other celebrity parents, like Yolanda Hadid, "almond moms" for the restrictive ways that they expect their children to eat. (Incidentally enough, there's actually "Real Housewives" footage of Hadid encouraging older daughter Gigi Hadid to eat almonds in place of other types of food.) Many people think that the practice of "almond parenting" children will damage their relationships with food, but is it actually harmful?

Is being an almond mom harmful to children?

#Almondmom has garnered plenty of buzz on social media, largely because of the ways in which it could harm children and their parents. Is taking an "almond mom" approach to food as harmful as people think, though?

In a word, yes. Part of the reason the "almond mom" phenomenon took off is that TikTok users from all walks of life have an outlet to share how their parents' "almond mom" tendencies contributed to their own difficult relationships with food and nutrition. It's not just anecdotal, either. Dieticians have weighed in on "almond moms" (and even Gwyneth Paltrow's diet specifically), and they're not fond of the regimented approach to nutrition. Dieticians Lauren Cadillac and Kim Lindsay have shared their thoughts on the parenting trend, and they both agree that it does more harm than good. Cadillac told Insider that there's "so much wrong" with Paltrow's diet and claimed that society's conceptualization of wellness "is actually quite distorted." According to Insider, fellow dietitian Lindsay stated that extreme diets are "unsustainable" and are associated with "increased risk of developing an eating disorder." "Almond moms" may seem like wellness pioneers at first glance, but their habit of passing down restrictive dieting practices to their children could harm them in the long run.