Ok, so maybe you are one of many who automatically pictures Mom as the master of the kitchen, but Dad’s impact on his kids’ health and eating habits is HUGE. Guess what, dads? You are the leader in modeling healthy behavior for your partner and kids. And when both parents take part, the power of the healthy-living message grows immensely, increasing your odds of raising healthy and happy kids. This Father’s Day, let’s look at some ways dads can leave a healthy-living legacy!
· Set a great example – you may know from experience that kids notice a LOT! They are consciously and unconsciously noticing your choice of and reaction to certain foods and studies have found they are likely to mirror your snack choices.
· Shop smart – Kids eat about two-thirds of their meals and snacks at home, so lead the charge to the market. Kids often don’t participate in grocery shopping, or may only go with Mom, so a trip with Dad can be an adventure!
· Get cooking! – According to a 2011 Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior study, fathers who rank family meals as an important event are less likely to have kids who favor fast food restaurants. It may seem challenging to get those healthy meals prepared, but sharing the workload with your partner and kids makes the task more manageable (in fact, it doubles the likelihood of family dinner happening!). For some easy and tasty meal ideas, click HERE.
· Set off for the great outdoors – A great part of healthy living can take place outside – gardening, grilling, berry picking, and going to farmer’s markets are all great ways to improve eating habits AND get some physical activity. So put down the remote and pull on your shoes!
· Stand united – Raising healthy kids is a team effort. Keeping both parents and other mentors involved is the most surefire way to have a positive influence.
-By Morgan McManimon-Myers, Bachelor of Science in Community-Medical Dietetics