By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
Father’s Day is right around the corner so we have Dad’s health on the brain. The best gift of all, is the gift of health so make sure you share these 9 stay-healthy tips with your Dad or any important man in your life!
1. Eat more plants: This recommendation is a simple one that goes for both men and women; the basis of any healthful plan starts with a foundation of more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that help to keep our bodies healthy; they are also loaded with fiber that can help to keep us full, and can help to promote both healthy digestion and a healthy heart, which is particularly important for men.
2. Drink your juice: One of the best and easiest ways to pack in nutrients is through drinking freshly made juice. Juicing your fruits and vegetables allows you to get more nutrients per cup than you may be able to sit down and eat in an entire meal; as the insoluble fiber is removed as pulp (though it’s important to note that the soluble fiber that’s particularly key for heart health is still contained in the juice). Juicing mostly vegetables (80% vegetables, 20% fruit) can be a great addition or replacement for a meal or as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. One of my other personal favorite times to drink my juice is pre or post-workout, as a way to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.
3. Get your electrolytes: I know plenty of very active men that require a lot of extra electrolytes, and guess what, juices are a great way to fill up on electrolytes! Insufficient electrolyte consumption can cause cramping and fatigue to name a few things. Juices that are made from red, yellow, and orange produce are particularly high in electrolytes. Drink these juices 30-60 minutes pre-workout or drink a diluted juice while working out if you’re going for 45+ minutes– try 8 oz water, 8 oz juice made from red, yellow, or orange produce.
4. Eat for heart-health: One of the greatest health issues for men is heart disease. Heart disease is also one of the health issues we know how to influence with diet, so here’s how: 1) eat more fiber and 2) swap your fats for heart-healthier ones. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are packed with fiber that may have an effect on blood lipids while also promoting a healthy colon. When it comes to swapping fats for heart-healthier ones, it’s important to cut out products with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils on the label- in short these mean trans fats. It’s also important to boost your intake of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and wild-caught salmon that contain compounds that may help to improve blood lipids and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
5. Maintain a healthy weight: Weight maintenance is one of the most important health tips for men (and women). Being overweight can put you at risk for many chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes and can also put more pressure on your joints. To maintain a healthy weight, be active and eat plenty of plant-based foods because they’re high in nutrients but lower in calories.
6. Stay active: Activity is so important to maintaining overall health. Staying active can help benefit mood, muscle and bone strength, and can also help to promote a healthy weight- which as discussed in tip #5, can affect overall health. Activity can come in all shapes and sizes though, so it’s important to maintain an activity schedule that works best for you. You can try a workout in our Reboot Movement Method. And a few more easy ways to include more activity in your day include taking the stairs, parking further away from the store, getting off the subway a station or two early, and of course hitting the gym. *Check out (insert fitness link above) our fabulous fitness site where we have easy to do exercises and other great tips.
7. Make a meal schedule: Creating a schedule for eating can be beneficial for those of us who sometimes get busy or forget to have meals and snacks at regular times. Setting a phone alarm or writing reminders “12 pm lunch, 3 pm snack, 6 pm dinner” can be helpful for many. Eating on schedule, which means eating every few hours, not only helps to keep our energy up, but can also promote weight loss and maintenance. In addition, going for long periods of time without food can wreak havoc on blood sugar and insulin levels as well as energy and over time can actually stunt weight loss.
8. Snack well: Keep healthy snacks in your home or at your workplace, this ensures that you’ll reach for the good stuff, and not the 3-day old birthday cake that’s leftover in the fridge from your coworker’s birthday celebration. When we get overly hungry we tend to reach for items that may be less healthy than we may normally reach for; so to prevent unhealthy snacking, keep snacks such as raw nuts, fruit, juicing ingredients (if you are able), or healthy plant-based leftovers in your refrigerator.
9. Get your sleep: Sleep is essential for overall health, for promoting healthy habits, healthy appetite regulation, and healthy weight management. Sleep is also important for overall cell and bodily rejuvenation and it allows your body to rest and recover. Getting inadequate sleep can affect our hunger schedules and can lead us to make less healthy choices overall. Therefore try to aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night, and before you go to sleep try to practice calming activities like reading a book or meditating instead of watching TV and talking on the phone.