Monday, August 24, 2009

Dads and Food

I’ve noticed a distinct difference between my and my wife’s approach to food for my daughter. And I’ve seen this with at least a half dozen of our friends/family who are in the same age group. So while not scientific I’m going to make a generalization here.

I concentrate on getting our daughter fed. My wife concentrates on getting our daughter fed well. I will shove any manner of filler in front of her: crackers, processed cheese, goldfish (combines crackers & processed cheese, neat!), fruit rollups, etc. My wife prefers to offer salmon, avocado, banana, grapes, artisan cheeses, and whole wheat organic pasta.

Thankfully our daughter eats my wife’s menu more often than mine. And I know it’s the right thing to do and will endeavor to move in that direction. But why do I default to the less nutritious quick serve foods? Here are some thoughts on why men may fall into this trap:

a) We are stuck in childhood. Remember the 1970s? Hamburger Helper. The microwave oven (oooh, pops popcorn in a bag!). Ritz Crackers. Cheese Slices. Birthday parties in the McDonalds party room. Hot dog day at school. Suffice to say “healthy choice” was not part of the vernacular.
b) We are lazy. If there is a sliced, pre-packaged, ready-in-a-minute, onesizesfitsall meal solution men will go for that. Ironically the healthy foods only take a fraction of effort more than the pre-packaged. But it’s perception not reality here.
c) We like the less nutritious foods. I do. I like snacks. There, I said it. If I came to a fork in the road to Heaven and one way said “Eternal Bliss” and the other said “Eternal Chips, Bliss Doubtful” I’d probably take a chance on the chips.

In summary, I know my daughter deserves the most nutritious food possible. And I know I must endeavor to provide it. So my approach (and recommendation to other men) is to acknowledge that this isn’t the 1970s; healthy foods can be easy to prepare; and snacks are OK in moderation. Now, pass the chips please.

- Rich Patterson is a father and business owner in Vancouver BC