Blog | Splurging Dads And Their Barriers To Healthy Eating


The Eternal Struggle

Parents want to set a good example for their children through healthy eating and regular exercise – 56% of them say so. But even the healthiest of parents have barriers to healthy eating and enjoy relaxing their good habits and letting loose. Splurging, even.

According to the American Psychological Association, establishing healthy eating and exercise habits early in life can lead to long-term healthy behavior in adulthood. But it’s human nature to crave not-so-nutritious foods, so how can parents indulge in such a way that it won’t undo all the good they’ve done for themselves and their families?

When mom is away, 53% of dads will play by splurging on food (+17% since 2014).

Managing The Splurge

Successfully managing splurges can be tough, especially for dads. Even more so than health-conscious moms, dads tell us their splurges are driven by taste. When mom is away, 53% of dads will play by splurging on food (+17% since 2014).

These splurges mean dads are becoming their own barriers to healthy eating. If no handy healthy options are up to their taste standards, dads will opt for something unhealthy. 45% of dads – +13% since 2014 – agree most healthy foods don’t taste good, so they’re choosing tasty junk food instead.

These opportunities to indulge in unhealthy foods lurk everywhere and it’s not just taste driving dads’ splurges. According to previous Signal Theory FoodThink research, dads also tend to treat themselves on these occasions:

  • When they’re happy
  • On the weekend
  • When they’re busy
  • After a night out

When poor eating choices are deemed “acceptable” in so many situations, it’s no wonder dads are stuck in the health and wellness parent trap. They are admittedly vulnerable to the sweet and salty stuff, but they still want to be the best parents they can be.

This presents food marketers with opportunities to show parents – especially dads – that healthy eating can also be indulgent. Consider providing easy-to-make and nutritious recipes, products or menu options containing bold flavors. Show them they don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat healthily. For instance, Halo Top Ice Cream is leading the charge as a successful not-so-guilty pleasure.

Download the free FoodThink white paper, “The Parent Trap: How Parental Time Constraints Prevent Healthy Lifestyles,” to explore more how food marketers can break down parents’ barriers to healthy eating.

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