Honor Dad The Healthy Way
Making Father's Day special
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
Pamper him, show him how much you care: Dads everywhere deserve to be treated specially on Father's Day. Whether you're celebrating your Dad or another special man in your life, what better way to mark his special day than by showing him you support his efforts to improve his diet and his health?
You see, celebrating Father's Day does not have to result in diet sabotage -- if you honor Dad the healthy way! Here are some tips to help you do just that (if you're the lucky father being honored, print them out for your family to see).
BBQ Fit for a King
Consider celebrating Dad by cooking and serving him a nutritious and delicious Sunday barbecue fit for a king. Father's Day should be easy on the cook -- and that cook should not be Dad -- put the chef's hat on and take over as barbecue master for the day. Let the kids help -- it can be fun for all of you to do it without him.
While you prepare the healthy feast, prop Dad up in his much loved chair, give him a well deserved back rub, the Sunday paper, and tune in his favorite sports team. A plate full of healthy snacks such as fresh veggies with a low-fat dip, a handful of nuts, a few slices of low-fat cheese, and whole-grain crackers will keep him satisfied as you continue to pamper your favorite guy.
Look for barbecue recipes that are both healthy and easy for you (and the kids) to prepare. Check out our healthy barbecue recipes from Elaine Magee, our Recipe Doctor. And make as many dishes ahead of time as possible. This way, the meal will be fun and more relaxing for you and your special guy.
Eating Out on the Town
If you want to celebrate by taking Dad out to eat, choose a restaurant he loves, but stay clear of those hard-to-resist buffet restaurants. At most other restaurants, it's easy to make healthy choices.
If you just can't decide where to take Dad on his special day, just ask him! He might decide to skip the diet this one time, splurge on a special meal, and enjoy a little indulgence. This is not a problem, as long as he remembers to watch his portion sizes and does a little planning in preparation for the feast.
A good strategy for him would be to bank some extra calories throughout the week and get some extra exercise in anticipation of the celebration. Come Monday morning, he can get right back on the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic program.
Start a New Tradition
Let this Father's Day be the beginning of a family tradition that includes a fun activity before the barbecue feast. You could go bike riding, take a walk at a favorite park, play softball, basketball, tennis, or whatever sport you all enjoy together. This will not only add to the delight of his special day but also give him and the rest of the family a great fitness outing.
Gifts That Keep on Giving
Looking for a unique and thoughtful Father's Day gift? How about a subscription to a healthy men's magazine or if he likes to cook, a low-fat cookbook, or healthy cooking classes? Consider a gift certificate for a massage, guaranteed to relax his body and spirit. The perfect gift might be a membership to the local health club -- or just the time to go and work out. Does he need a new pair of running shoes, a tennis racquet, a new basketball, or some other present that will help him get regular exercise? How about a hand-made book of certificates that includes such things as mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, and other chores that Dad can redeem? Gifts that allow Dad to be active will help him relax, feel good about himself, and continue to develop a healthier lifestyle.
Whichever way you choose to celebrate that special man in your life, do it with love and respect for all that he does for you. Have a wonderful time cherishing Dad!
Originally Published June 11, 2004
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Last Editorial Review: 5/26/2005 6:53:10 PM