Dad Plays an Important Role at the Table


dad plays an important role at the family meal tableTimes have changed. Long gone are the traditional roles that suggest only the man brings home the bacon and it's the woman's job to cook it. The same holds true for which parent is ultimately responsible for teaching their children the importance of good nutrition and healthy eating habits. Kids look to both mom and dad for this responsibility. So from one "man" eater to all the others out there, here are my five tips on how guys can step up to the plate and model healthy eating for the entire family. 

Man-sized appetite

So Dad, are you a lumberjack or an office worker? Men can message to kids that a "man-sized" portion will vary depending on activity level. Best visual lessons include not overfilling your plate, slowing down the rate that you eat and not being afraid to throw in the towel when you first become full -- even if there is still food on the plate!

Real men eat fruit and vegetables (and not just potatoes!)

Salad isn't just for rabbits and "chicks." They can be real filler-uppers and deliver fiber and nutrients for guys and everyone else at the table, too. 

Macho milk mustache

Men are not impervious to weak bones. As many as one in four men over the age of 50 will develop an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetimes. Low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese are great ways to meet much-needed calcium recommendations for healthy bones throughout the life cycle, regardless of gender. Plus, milk and dairy foods are packs with protein!

Be a whole grain "roll" model

Guys can choose whole grain fiber and nutrient-rich cereals for breakfast, sandwich breads to pack in the family lunches and sides to round out the dinner meal. Whole grains do a better job in both satisfying a starving man or a hungry girl. 

Lean your protein

There are very lean cuts of animal protein that are lower in cholesterol, saturated fat and calories that meet the needs of the entire family. Plant-based proteins like beans and soy can also satisfy a hearty appetite while providing fiber and other nutrients. 

Shop, cook and clean like a man

Research suggests that the more kids get involved in the procurement and preparation of food, the better food choices they make. Take the kids shopping with you and try your best to quench that man urge of saying "that's okay...I'll do that." Kids want to help and will be more likely to try what they make if they're involved. And don't be afraid to ask them to clean up afterwards. The latest research study suggests that kids who participate in regular chores are happier. Who doesn't love happy children?!

David first started over twenty-five years ago in the natural food industry, having owned and operated his own natural food store. He became a Registered Dietitian and attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. David proudly served as a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association for over six years. He hosted his own live radio show on health and nutrition for over ten years and also hosted a local health-focused television show for two years.

David heads up Nutrition Housecall, LLC which is a nutrition consulting firm that provides nutrition communications, lecturing and consulting services, and also offers personalized at-home dietary services. He also wrote the acclaimed book, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life which is now out in eighteen different languages. His second book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, with a forward written by Montel Williams, debuted in January of 2010. Dave is also a freelance writer and serves as an advisor to Fitness Magazine and Sear's FitStudio and blogs each week for the Real Nutrition community featured on WebMD. 

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