What’s Up With Dad?

It seems that everywhere I go nowadays I am pulled aside by frustrated moms who try their best to feed their children a healthy diet, only to have it ruined by …the school cafeteria meal? ; the grocery store with it many junk food options? ; Grandma who feeds candy and soda to her grandkids?   No, the culprit undermining mom’s healthy diet efforts is most often their spouse!  Many moms tell me about their efforts to cook healthy meals and buy healthy food for the family only to have their hard work ruined because their husbands either bring ‘forbidden’ food home or cook a separate meal if “junior” does not like what she has prepared.  These moms plead with me to help them by telling their significant other (who often is standing right beside them) to stop doing that!  Does this sound familiar to you? I bet it does.


In fact, only yesterday I helped a wonderful family with 5 boys! The youngest two are what most would call picky eaters; they both eat little to no fruits and vegetables. This mom reached out to me to help convince her husband to stop sabotaging her efforts when it comes to feeding their boys a healthy diet.  The youngest son would drink 5 chocolate milks a day if mom did not place any limits on him.  She recently stopped buying flavored milk at the store, but dad would come home with several cases if he found them on sale.   

I decided to look at what was really going on, because it was obvious to me from the beginning of our meeting that these were two great parents who loved their sons very much and would do anything for them.  The father was never given chocolate milk as a child. He came from a large family and had to eat what was served; quickly before his many brothers and sisters beat him to it too.  When I questioned why he brought the chocolate milk home he replied that he thought it was a better option than the soda or juice his child drank and since his son was a picky eater to begin with, the calories and calcium would be good for his child. These were all very valid points.


In my experience, most dads are not setting out to intentionally thwart their wife’s best efforts to provide a healthy diet, nor do they want to harm their child.  In many situations the dads don’t realize the impact of their actions, or they have fond memories of certain foods from their childhood and they want to share that with their children.  When I had this dad pull 50 pounds of sugar out of grocery bags and place them on his kitchen counter, and I told him that this is what his 50 pound five-year old son drinks in sugar each year from the chocolate milk he brings home, his face fell and he was overcome with guilt. At that moment, his wife saw the truth in his eyes and was secure in knowing that this was the end to the chocolate milk battle. 

I realize it is easy to blame; we all do it. Next time you feel as if your spouse is sabotaging your efforts to feed your children a healthy diet, try taking the time to ask him about his relationship with food. You may just find a clue that will help you both work together in bringing up healthy eaters.  

Speak Your Mind