Do Dad a Favour on His Big Day

(As featured in The Telegram on Monday, June 13th 2011)

Chronic disease prevention is a crucial part in maintaining a healthy life for everyone. Simple lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and physical activity can help address mens health concerns including heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and prostate health. With both Father's Day and National Mens Health Week falling in the middle of June, it's a good time to recognize and celebrate your Dad or special male in your life. Below are some healthy, food conscious ideas to help you get started.

Make a Meal

Food always tastes better when someone else makes it! Why not treat the male in your life to a meal made by yours truly?  Breakfast in bed is a good start to any day. High fiber, antioxidant rich breakfast ideas for preventative health that are sure to be a hit would be pancakes topped with berries, yogurt and honey, a veggie and cheese omelet with whole grain toast, or cinnamon raisin oatmeal topped with sliced almonds.  Be sure to include preferences by asking them what they might like to eat. Since most people usually plan a meal around the protein, i.e. meat, poultry or fish, part of a meal, be sure to balance it out with a grain and heavy heaping of fruits or veggies. For lunch or supper additions the (prostate health promoter and cancer fighter) lycopene rich salad recipe below is great summer salad addition to a homemade sandwich, or grilled food – which we all know Dads love. Just don't forget the healthy grilling tips that were discussed two weeks ago!

Start a New Tradition

Let this Father's Day be the beginning of a family tradition that includes a fun activity. Ideas for family physical activity fun could include bike riding, taking a walk at a favorite park, playing softball, basketball, tennis, or whatever sport you all enjoy together. Not only is this fun for the whole family, but it helps to keep everyone slim and trim – as we all know, another important protective factor for health and well-being. Another great idea is to have the whole family, including Dad, partake in meal preparation. About 40% of Dads are said to prepare a family meal within a two week time frame, and about 13% to be in charge of meals on a regular basis. Getting everyone in the kitchen together is not only is this quality time spent, but some experts believe it having Dads more involved in the preparation of family meals could help prevent some of the overweight and obesity seen in kids today. Even though it is technically his day for relaxation, I'm sure most would agree to a family activity such as this, even if it does mean washing and peeling a few potatoes!

Gifts That Keep on Giving

If you're looking to have a gift why not try something that can help with health too?  Cookbooks, healthy cooking classes, gourmet spices, teas or coffees, kitchen gadgets or cooking utensils such as a basket for grilling veggies are some gift ideas for healthy eating they are sure to appreciate. Other ideas to keep him in tip top shape could be a visit from an in home personal trainer, pedometer, electric toothbrush as proper dental health as well as staying in shape as important for heart disease prevention.

Science says as women we tend to be a little more proactive when it comes to health and well-being. Let's take advantage of that and this June, give some small (but significant) healthful gifts to our better halves, fathers and grandfathers.

Tomato-Watermelon Salad with Feta and Toasted Almonds

(Serves 6-8)

6 cups fresh arugula leaves
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 5 oz)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
8 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch chunks (about 6 lbs)
6 cups ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks (about 3 lbs)
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as dill, basil, and mint)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine melon and tomatoes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Add 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and herbs to melon mixture. Season to taste with pepper if desired.  Toss arugula in medium bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Divide arugula among plates. Top with melon salad; sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted almonds and serve.