Women are on all fronts of life, we know that. It is in particular they who are still mainly in charge of the preparation of the kitchen at home. And in this specific case, it may be better for everyone’s health. A recent study published in the scientific journal Appetite shows that dads in the kitchen put the family’s food balance at risk. More indifferent to the nutritional quality of meals, more inclined to turn to fast food and prepared meals, they still have a lot of effort to make before reaching the qualitative nutritional concern shown by women when they prepare daily meals.
Researchers from Stanford University in California have looked at the multiple influences of family food practices. In an article published in the journal Appetite, they highlighted a point still neglected and yet weighing on the family system: the fathers. Using 109 in-depth interviews with middle- and upper-class mothers, teens, and fathers in the United States, they showed how fathers can undermine mothers’ efforts to provide healthy eating.
Dads in the kitchen go to the fastest and most unbalanced
While family members perceive mothers as committed to providing a healthy diet, many fathers are seen as, at best, detached and, at worst, a threat to mothers’ dietary aspirations. Fathers not only do little work in the kitchen but are also seen as less concerned about their own health and that of other family members. When tasked with food, many dads often turn to fast and unhealthy foods explicitly avoided by moms.
Good habits start early and are passed on later.
Mothers report efforts to limit fathers’ involvement in food work to ensure the safety of adolescent diets, with variations by family and by mothers’ employment status. Fathers’ dietary approaches reflect and reinforce traditional gender norms and expectations within families. The fathers in this study are still mostly completely detached from this aspect of the health balance of the family, which is nevertheless a determining factor in the good eating and health habits given to children and adolescents.
However, it is by educating children very early on a good diet that their future will be preserved as much as possible from health problems linked to overweight, deficiencies, addictions to sugar, salt, fat, etc. and that their taste awakening to food diversity will make it easier for them to have a balanced diet throughout their lives, which they will in turn pass on to future generations.