If you think it’s enough for one parent to make healthy choices and put veggies on their plate as an example for the kids, think again. According to recent research both parents must practice healthy eating in order to act as positive role models for their children and to influence their eating habits in a positive manner.
If one parent prioritises eating wholefoods and the other does not, it can send confusing messages to children. Often the focus is on us mum’s and in honour of Father’s Day, I’d like to bring dads into the spotlight. Not to give them a bad rap but because the research is clear - to help develop resilient, healthy eaters, we need both parents on the same ‘plate’.
6 Strategies to Share with Dads :
- Dads on duty – if mum is the primary parent in control of the kitchen, find a time during the week to give her a break and take over feeding and cooking duties. Depending on your schedule, this may be best suited to the weekends. Think of a fun theme like french toast on Saturday mornings or pancake Sundays – when you’re in charge and cooking with kids in the kitchen. And I have some wholesome, equally delicious recipes for these family favourite brekkie options in my book and My Wholesome Child (if you sign up, access is free!). Why not try my Beetroot & Buckwheat Pancakes or Savoury French Toast. If you’re more of a fuss-free dad chef, there’s always Wholesome Child+ boosters to help elevate the humble toast & spreads or cereal!
- Healthy snacking - reach for wholesome snacks in front of the kids. Even if you have a sweet tooth and are a sugar junkie, wait until they’re in bed to indulge for the sake of their future habits - our kids absorb way more of what we do than what we say! If children see parents going for the sweet snacks after dinner they will follow, and this can bite you in the backside (ouch!) as sugary foods after dinner tend to mess with restful sleep. Fresh veggies are one of the hardest food groups to get into kids. If you reach for carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and have salads alongside meals – eating veggies becomes more cool because dad does it and that’s why he’s big and strong!
- Refuelling after exercise - instead of reaching for a milkshake or ice cream (which are great sometimes) think about other snacks for replenishing your energy and quenching your thirst, especially when you’re with the kids. Why not try our Gut Healing Smoothie (or popsicles!), Peanut Butter Bliss Balls or Strawberry and Banana Nice Cream.
- Do the hard yards - don’t leave the hard work up to mum. From dealing with many clients, it’s evident that one parent is usually quick to give in to meal replacements to stop whingeing. Dad if that’s you, rather work with your partner on an action plan. If one parent is determined to change mealtime eating behaviours but when the going gets tough, is intercepted by the other parent reaching for the vegemite sandwich to save on tears (and trust me I understand this) it will undermine the whole process. If mealtimes are stressful, take it in turns as patience and perseverance are key. And check out my Fussy Eating course for more strategies & detailed solutions.
- Big kid undercover - you may be hiding a dirty little secret (pls don’t let your mind wander – this is wholesome child after all!), I am talking about the fact that you may be a closet fussy eater. If this is the case, now is the time to man up and face your broccoli fear, not only will it be good for your body but it’s vital that your kids see you trying these types of foods! We simply can’t expect kids to eat the broccoli on their plates if we aren’t. Remember, if you really can’t bear the sight of a particular food try not to let it show and be passed down. Try and hold back from pulling up your nose and telling your partner there is no way you’re eating that in front of your kids. You know what they say...fake it until you make it!
- Repetitive eating? Are your meals routine and automatic? Weetbix for breakfast, meat sandwich for lunch and roast chicken for dinner? Do your kids hardly ever see you deviating from your main staples and eating variety or trying new foods? Time for a change! Why not check out our new Father’s Day recipe pack for inspo. It’s jam packed with recipes that are easy and fun to prep with the kids, and of course to enjoy together.
My own dad’s active lifestyle and love of running definitely helped to shape my affinity for maintaining an active life and balanced approach to food.
Father’s day is the perfect time to celebrate the influential role ‘wholesome’ dads can play in bringing up children to enjoy an active lifestyle and positive eating behaviours. By focusing on achievable strategies & healthy recipes that dads and kids can prep together, we’re giving dad’s a great shot at positive role modelling...could there be a greater gift? I don’t think so…
Why not check out our new Wholesome Dads Bundle - it makes the perfect father’s day gift, and go in the draw to win an amazing father’s day hamper valued at over $500!