By Rennie Aranda – Skinny Gene Nutritionist
How Fathers Play a Role in Healthy Family Meals
When we think of family meals at home, we often think of the mother playing an important role in their children’s eating habits. With more mothers becoming more involved in the workplace, more fathers are becoming more involved with the caregiving at home. Consequently, kids are starting to follow their father’s lead when it comes to the food choices they make. With fathers having an impact on their children’s food choices, they play an important role in having healthy family meals.
Fathers Know Best!
Here are some examples of how fathers can encourage healthy family meals:
– Focus on mindful eating. Make the children think twice about how much they are eating by asking if they are eating because they are hungry or bored. If they want second helpings, offer them more fruits and vegetables.
– Do not allow distractions at mealtimes such as television watching, cell phones at the table, etc, which may also lead to mindless eating or overeating. Designate mealtimes as a time to connect with each other.
– Do not force children to eat foods they don’t want to. However, encourage children to try everything, even if it’s just one bite. Try and make mealtimes a pleasant and supportive experience.
– Do not be a “short-order cook” by preparing a separate meal for a child simply because he/she does not want what everyone else is eating. Children are smart eaters. They will eat when they are hungry and not eat when they are full. If the meal in front of them is the only option, they will eat it if they are hungry. If you always give them what they want, they lose the opportunity to get used to trying new foods. This will also help to avoid picky eating.
– Learn to tolerate messes. Children need to feel food, play with food, and even spit out food as their way of accepting or trying new foods.
Although studies are showing that fathers have a strong influence over what their children eat, as much as possible both parents should play an active role in having healthy family meals.