We love our dads - they’d do anything for us! They want their families to be healthy, happy, and would bend over backwards to make sure we have whatever we need. 

Though sometimes it seems like our dads aren’t as committed to their own health and wellbeing as they are to ours, right? Heart disease, diabetes and obesity are all on the rise worldwide. Unfortunately these issues are far more common in men than in women.

Are you wanting to help your dad get healthy and make better food choices? It can be hard getting our parents to change their habits. So how can you help your dad eat better without using scare tactics or criticism? We have some ideas you can try!

Here are a few tips to help your dad snack better

1. Think about it

First you’ll have to bring up the subject. So maybe start thinking about how you could bring up your concerns in casual conversation. If your dad tends to be quite sensitive about his weight or avoids healthy food like the plague, you may need to be tactful. No one responds well to being criticised, right?

Interestingly, a survey among a group of parents showed that most of them would be open to making a lifestyle change if their kids asked them to. Maybe your dad doesn’t realise how important his health and wellbeing is to you. That alone could give you some influence.

Tips to bringing up the subject with your dad:
  • Be prepared: Think about what you are wanting to help him change: Food habits? Lack of exercise? The amount of sleep he’s getting?
  • Show support: Consider what you would be willing to do to help dad make those changes. Set an example by making similar changes yourself.
  • Consider your words: Be mindful of how your words can be helpful or hurtful. If the ultimate goal is for dad to lose weight, rather focus on the changes that would help him meet that goal, Eg: exercise more, snack better, eat less junk.


2. Bring it up

Sometimes it’s not about what you say, but how you say it. It could be that your dad is actually wanting to make some health changes, but he just doesn’t know how or where to start. 

When you’re finally ready to chat to your dad, remember to talk to him the way you would want him to talk to you. We hate it when it feels like our parents are nagging us - so be extra mindful of your words and your tone. Choose a moment when everyone is happy, relaxed and unrushed. 

Tips to help you voice your concerns:
  • Show you care: You could say something like, “Dad, I know work has been really stressful for you lately and I worry that you don’t have time to eat a good lunch during the day” or “I’ve noticed that you’ve been feeling out of sorts and lacking energy lately.”
  • Be specific: Don’t drop hints or be cryptic. Be clear about what you’re wanting your dad to do by saying something like, “I really want you to eat healthier food and snacks - I love you and I want you around for a long time.” 
Be ready to join in: Offer suggestions on how to start making changes together. Tell him what you’d be willing to do to help, like packing a healthy work lunch for him while you make yours.


3. Make it happen

If dad is keen and on board, great! Now you can start planning together. Being on the same team will show him that you care and want to support him. The bonus of all this is that you benefit from these healthy changes too.

Tips to make healthier food choices together:

Make specific commitments
Choose one thing that you will commit to and get dad to do the same. Doing a complete lifestyle overhaul might be overwhelming and unrealistic. So start with one manageable goal and take it from there. For example:
  • I will stop snacking at night after supper
  • I will eat a fruit or a veggie with every meal
  • I will stop using the office vending machine
  • I will eat breakfast each day
  • I will snack on fruit or nuts instead of cookies or chips

Include dad in meal planning
Every dad has their favourite comfort foods, just like us. Find out what he enjoys the most, and use those meals as the foundation for a weekly meal plan for the family.

Then look for ways to amp up the healthy stuff in those meals. Eg: if dad loves a big bowl of saucy pasta, why not try brown pasta or a healthier sauce with extra veggies? Include a fresh side salad with a nice dressing. If dad is big on chips or salty snacks between meals, plan to include roasted nuts in his work lunch.

Include dad in meal prep and cooking
Cooking together can be a fun way to bond. Dad might enjoy a meal more knowing that you prepared it together. Talk about the food, smell the ingredients, taste the food as you go, and throw in some interesting health facts while you cook. You can even do the weekly shop together using your meal plan to guide you.

Suggest healthier alternatives
Look for ways that you can include healthier alternatives in meals and snacks:
  • Does dad love chips? He might like roasted and flavoured nuts. Try peri peri cashews or flavoured peanuts for the savoury crunch he craves.
  • Does he have a sweet tooth? Dried fruit rolls or mango strips might hit the spot.
  • Does he reach for chocolates as a pick-me-up? Maybe he’ll give healthy home made snack bars a go.
  • Does he tend to skip breakfast at home and grab a late morning takeaway? Make some overnight oats he can eat in the car on the way to work. Or get your granola or trail mix ready in an on-the-go container the night before, and he can simply add yoghurt and a squeeze of honey on his way out.

More tips for choosing better snacks for dad

1. Choose nutrient-dense, high protein snacks

If dad feels fuller for longer, he won’t raid the fridge or snack cupboard as often. High protein snacks are the best way to stave off those pesky cravings. Snacks rich in nutrients and calories will make sure dad isn’t just eating empty foods with no nutritional value.

Nuts - Nuts are high in fibre, good fats and protein which could help him feel more satisfied between meals. They’ve also been linked to reduced risk for heart disease. Nuts are an easy on-the-go snack, ideal for when dad’s busy, out and about, or watching sports.

Biltong - Biltong is not only a delicious South African staple snack, but it’s also high in protein. In moderation, it’s a great snack choice, but it’s usually also high in added salt and sugar, so always check the label.


2. Clean out the snack cupboard together

You definitely don’t want to do a complete overhaul of the pantry overnight, even though you might be itching to. No one is going to be happy about that, especially dad. So why not suggest that you go through it together? If he’s keen to make some changes, it should be easy enough to get rid of the junk food.

Start stocking more of the good stuff, like:
  • Flavoured peanuts
  • Flavoured cashews
  • Dried fruit bites
  • Biltong
  • Roasted and salted nuts
  • Roasted corn
  • Gourmet popcorn
  • Trail Mix
  • Mixed nuts
  • Homemade frozen yoghurt
  • Dark chocolate
These tips aren’t about spoiling dad's fun, but rather working together as a family to eat better, healthier foods - with dad-friendly snacks included. 

Set Dad up for snacking success! 

We have a fantastic range of delicious, nutritious dried fruit, nuts and snacks available to support your dad’s snacking changes. Find a Montagu Branded Store near you or check out our online store for great tasting snacks delivered right to dad’s door! 
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