When it comes to raising children, people usually refer to the moms as the natural go-to person. However, in this day and age, dads also take an active role in parenting, as they should.
The science of being a dad
In fact, studies found out that dads-to-be may also have an influential role even during conception. It is basic biology that fathers contribute half of their child’s genetic makeup through his sperm, but according to Carrie Dennett, MPH, RDN, CD, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Menu for Change, daddy’s nutrition and lifestyle can also influence how his descendants will turn out.
This is where epigenetics come in. Research results are starting to reveal that a father’s lifestyle, health, and food choices can leave epigenetic tags on DNA and can turn them on or off. This, in turn, can cause chemical modifications that can affect sons or grandsons (less likely on daughters and granddaughters) who will likely inherit the father’s traits.
With this in mind, fathers should be more mindful of their role as parents, especially when raising children. Here are five simple tips to guide daddies in terms of how to raise healthy-savvy kids:
1. Think “all for one, one for all”
To raise a health-savvy family, both parents have to practice what they preach. This means that parents have to follow the same rules about eating healthily and consume the same nutritious food as their kids.
It also follows that the whole family should work together and support each other towards achieving and maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.
2. Be a good role model
In the 2011 Journal of the American Dietetic Association study, researchers found that kids are likely to imitate their father's intake of snacks. Given that children tend to idolize their parents, moms and dads should watch what they eat.
Children should also be taught to choose smarter snacks that can give them a big nutritional boost instead of sugar-laden treats. In addition, parents can also show how exploring new foods can be advantageous to being healthy.
3. Become a Supermarket Superman
Food shopping isn't just a mommy’s job. With gender roles being more on an even field nowadays, dads can also take the trip to the supermarket and do the groceries.
While you’re at it, you should consider bringing the kids along. This will be a good way for you to bond with them while at the same time, allowing them a semblance of control and ownership by letting them choose what they want to eat.
Of course, dads will still have to guide them toward the healthier choices.
4. Flex your culinary muscle
Based on the 2011 Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior study, children of dads who cook are less likely to favor fast food fare.
Aside from showing the kids about how gender roles have evolved, dads who cook can also add to the chances of the children having a healthy, home-cooked meal. This is a significant help, especially if the mom is also working or has other things to attend to.
Whipping up hearty dishes also allows daddies to have better control over ensuring that the suggested food groups for children are incorporated in every meal.
5. Stage a Daddy’s Day Out
Outdoor activities can be a great way for dads to show off their strength, stamina and sportiness. Round up the whole family for a game of tag or shoot the hoops with the gang.
If you’re not into sports, then even the usual gardening or other household chores like taking out the trash, mopping the floors, or sweeping the yard can already be considered as physical activities that can help in keeping everyone fit.
Taking the kids to the neighborhood playground, strolling in the park, or going camping can also be great activities for everyone.
Fathers also know best
More and more dads are shunning traditional patriarchal roles and giving their best shot as house husbands and all-around fathers. Society has welcomed these fathers who want to be more involved in child-rearing and homemaking.
What else can dads do to raise health-savvy kids? Share your ideas and own experiences in the comments below.