We all know that following a healthier lifestyle can help to prevent or delay illnesses such as, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity. But, it seems that often it’s the women who are more vocal about healthy eating, cooking, and disease prevention, while men are more likely to be discussing their favourite sport, or the latest gadgets, and really don’t say a great deal on the subject of health and nutrition.
So, I’ve been inspired by this to look at a few tips for helping dad live a healthier lifestyle!
1) Go with what you have initially
If dad likes particular foods, such as salads, vegetables, and nuts, then be sure to serve these regularly. If he dislikes wholegrain bread for example, why not try one of the white varieties with added wholemeal flour as an alternative? Try to encourage variety in the diet by introducing new foods often. Some foods can be disguised in meals, such as grated carrots in curries, or mashed white beans in minced beef, but take care not to put him off completely.
2) Slice fruit into smaller bit sized pieces
For some reason men are more likely to eat fruit if it’s been cut up for them, and I know that this is true in my own family! You could make a large bowl of fruit salad with oranges, kiwi, grapes, mango, apples, strawberries, raspberries, or any combination you prefer. The whole family can enjoy this throughout the day as a snack, or in place of dessert at dinner time. Or, another option would be to make fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast. Also, try to make sure that your fruit bowl is always stocked with fresh fruit, and place it in a prominent position in your kitchen – hopefully this will remind the whole family to eat well.
3) Stock your cupboards with healthy snack alternatives
Keep healthy snacks to hand such as, high fibre cereals, unsalted nuts, seeds, air-popped popcorn and pretzels. Or even better, you could try chopping up mixed raw vegetables, and keeping them in the fridge, as a ready-to-eat snack. They can be served with a dip as an great healthy alternative to crisps and chocolate later in the evening.
4) Be creative with salads
Why not buy dad a recipe book, which includes Asian or Mediterranean style salads to inspire him? Salads don’t have to be boring, for a really different salad you could blanch broccoli, green beans, or snow peas in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then plunge them into cold water; drain and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil, a spoonful of balsamic vinegar, and some toasted sesame seeds. You can also add nuts to your salads for extra crunch and taste.
5) Fire up the barbie
Here in Australia we’re just getting into barbecue season, and this is a great time to get dad involved with the cooking. Barbecuing foods can be a healthy way to eat, as long as you get the proportions right on your plate. Try skewers of marinated (honey, olive oil etc) lean meat, chicken or fish, mixed with red and green peppers, mushrooms, or chunks of sweet potato. Corn on the cobs also taste great when barbecued, or you could try grilling asparagus, pumpkin, or potato, for great alternatives to the normal barbecued foods.
6) Ask dad to play active sports
Most men love a game of footie, basketball or cricket when they have the opportunity. Why not organise a family game? Or how about a weekend walk, or orienteering? These are great activities for the whole family, where everyone can get involved, and be more active. Or, if dad loves to take a shorter walk, but prefers to have company, why not offer to go with him each day?
There’s much more that I could add here, and I’m sure you have many other suggestions too. We’d love to hear from you also!