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Healthy Father's Day

Great Tips for a Happy, Healthy Father's Day

By Steve Edwards
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to Win!

Relaxing DadThere's nothing Dad likes better on his big day than to hang out with his loved ones and ignore the stresses of bringin' home the bacon. Unfortunately, de-stressing often includes eating all the bacon he's been slaving to bring home. The typical American ritual involves something along the lines of Dad parking in his favorite recliner to catch the quadruple-header whilst the family supplies a never-ending buffet of bad food and beer. A really good day has more friends showing up, with more food, and even more beer.

The upside is that this odd ritual makes Dad happy. The downside is that it creates habits and desires that will ensure a lot fewer Father's Days to come. Let's take a look at our most ingrained ideas about Dad's big day and how we might turn them into something sustainable.

Breakfast in bed

Dad Breakfast in BedThere seems to be only one time and place that could have created the idea that opening your eyes to a mound of food would be pleasurable: Rome. Only a culture trying to forcibly push the limits of decadence could embrace such foolishness. Sure, the idea of waking up to your favorite foods sounds nice, but c'mon! Your body's engine is in full rest mode. It's not hungry. And even if the food tastes great, your dad stuffing himself with an all-you-can-eat trucker's breakfast isn't going to help him begin his day. More than likely, it'll render him into a comatose state where just walking to the recliner will feel like an accomplishment. "Someone get me a beer. The pre-game show's about to start."

Hey, wait a minute. Isn't there a better option?

Big BreakfastDad will be just as happy with a taste of his favorite breakfast. We tend to equate bulk with love in our culture - surely the result of someone's clever marketing scheme - but piling a plate with five pounds of bacon, eggs, and gravy will instantly change Dad's mind-set from pleasure to challenge. He's going to feel the need to show off and eat the entire thing, even if a cup of joe and a piece of toast were all he really wanted.

Today's a day for rewards. If Dad likes bacon more than his usual high-fiber cereal, he's earned an indulgence. Just tone it down to a piece or two. You've got a big day ahead.

Plan your own quadruple-header

Dad doesn't really want to watch ALL of those games. Back to back (to back) games are usually the result of pure laziness, or perhaps the result of eating a 4,000-calorie breakfast. The best game of the day is probably slated for prime time to ensure the biggest audience. That's the game Dad probably really wants to watch. With this in mind, you've got an entire day to plan.

Mowing the LawnWhat to do is completely a matter of personality but what not to do isn't. There is one activity Dad doesn't want to do today: yard work. Free Dad of his chores by getting them done for him. Do it yourself, assign it to the kids, or hire a gardener. Dad might even stay glued to the couch, because if he steps outside he'll feel guilty seeing an overgrown lawn. With a clear conscience, he'll now be free to move about the yard.

Hey, wait a minute. What do we do now?

If Dad is watching sports, it's likely that he engaged in them at some point. Ask yourself what he likes but hasn't done lately, or what has he talked about wanting to do down the road when he has the time.

  • A Round of GolfingGolf. As long as you don't rent a cart, playing 18 holes burns a lot of calories. If Dad's a golfer, he's probably talked about a course he's always wanted to play but can't afford or doesn't plan ahead for long enough to get a tee time. Book him a round on his favorite course.

  • Mountain biking. These days it's pretty easy to rent bikes and riding can be a hoot even if it's not something you regularly engage in. Not only does trail riding burn a lot of calories, it raises your adrenaline levels, which can be the perfect Father's Day gift.

  • Rock ClimbingRock climbing. If Dad's an adrenaline kind of guy who's more into strength than speed, perhaps opt for the local climbing gym or, even better, a day outside on the rocks with a guide. Climbing is a great workout that can be perfect for those who suffer from the standard set of chronic sports injuries. Because it's slow, and you're on a rope when you fall, it's very low impact—at least for beginners. It's the kind of "rad" sport that won't leave him groping for the couch with a bag of ice when he's done.

  • Soccer. One of the reasons this is the world's most popular sport is because you can play it anywhere. All you need is a ball and a couple of people—actually, you don't even need a ball as anything you can kick can be used as a substitute. The field, number of players, goals, and rules can all be altered to fit the situation. The end results will have you running, kicking, and chasing each other at top speed. Whew!

  • Frisbee sports. Both ultimate and golf Frisbee are great for getting the family involved. Ultimate Frisbee is basically soccer using a Frisbee so, as you might imagine, it's a fantastic workout even if you don't know how to play. Frisbee golf is like, well, golf except that it's free and you don't need clubs. You just throw the Frisbee down the course and hit whatever you designate as the hole. While it's popular in some places (many housing complexes have courses), chances are you'll need to make your own course. You can use a park, a field, your street, or—because Frisbees don't break things—almost anything for the course. Map one out ahead of time and provide Dad his score - card with breakfast.

  • Playing FootballBaseball/football/basketball. The American big three are a bit harder to play on a whim and, these days, it's harder to head down to the park and find a good pickup game that allows outsiders. If Dad pines for the bygone days of team sports, see if you can gather a group of his friends who feel similarly and arrange a game ahead of time. It'll be great exercise and, when it's over, you're ready for a Father's Day soiree.

  • Indoor workout. You can't always count on the weather to cooperate but that's no excuse to remain on the couch. Plan B should always include an indoor option and, of course, we've got plenty of suggestions on what to do. Power 90® or P90X®, or any fitness program we offer, is the most time-efficient way to ensure that dad has plenty of future Father's Days to come.

The BBQ

BBQNo Father's Day in the U.S. of A. would be complete without a BBQ. After all, Father's Day happens on the cusp of summer during one of the longest days of the year. It'll be warm, light until 9, and the kids won't have school the next day. It's the perfect setting for a party, and after a light breakfast and a day of activity, Dad's bound to be hungry.

Hey, wait a minute. How can a BBQ be healthy?

  • Grill some veggies. "Um," you're probably thinking, "there are a few things you don't understand about Dad. He doesn't want veggies. He wants meat." Yeah, yeah, like the Jack in the Box ads tell us, men like meat. We'll get to that in a second but first, consider throwing some veggies on the 'cue. Grilled peppers, onions, and, of course, corn feel and taste different than they do inside the house. They feel more . . . that's right . . . manly. They're hearty and crunchy and make you feel like you're eating something with substance. Give it a shot. Blacken 'em up a bit and he may not even know they're veggies.

  • MeatMeat. Now we're talkin'. Dad wants meat and lots of it. Unfortunately, the standard BBQ fare consists of hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, and brats. These are pretty much the bottom rung of the carnivore ladder. All, except very lean hamburger meat, are loaded with saturated fat. Most have additives. Even the leanest hamburger meat has mystery ingredients, as ground beef (turkey and chicken, too) is pretty much the dregs of what's left in the slaughterhouse.

    Stick to whole cuts of meat. After all, dad would surely rather have a steak than a hamburger. Any whole cut of meat - chicken, turkey, pork, or fish is a far better option than ground up or processed meat. Some cuts are fatty but you can, at least, see what you're getting and avoid it. (Click here for 11 Tips for Cooking Out Without Pigging Out.)


  • LabelBBQ sauce. While many people prefer grilled meats and veggies au naturel, BBQ sauce is an American icon. Not all of these are created equal, or even anywhere close to it. Most are terrible for you but it's becoming easier to find healthy options. Make sure you read the label. Offending ingredients to avoid are high fructose corn syrup, too much of any sugar, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and ingredients that you can't pronounce.

  • Chips and dip. How do chips and salsa grab ya? It's not just for Mexican food anymore. Chips are bad enough. Dipping them into some sort of sour cream-based concoction should be avoided at all costs. While you may find some healthy dip options if you scrutinize labels, most salsas are downright healthy. And if you opt for baked chips, it's all the better.

  • SaladSalad, ah-hem! When it comes to Father's Day, the salad is often left behind. When it does show up, however, it's often worse than no salad at all. The BBQ standbys of potato or macaroni salad are generally mayonnaise-laden gut bombs that do more harm than anything on the menu. Other "creative" options, such as ambrosias, are even worse.

    So here's the salad rule. Salad should be greeneven at a BBQ. If it's not, it's just some kind of side dish. Those assorted creamy, fatty items should be forever axed from the menu. For one, when was the last time you went to a BBQ where everyone was extolling the merits of the ambrosia? If you did, it certainly wasn't Dad. (Click here for some delicious ways to spruce up your salad.)

Beer

BeerAh, beer, arguably Dad's favorite ingredient at any BBQ, and perhaps any event. So much so it's likely that Milwaukee's holy water could claim the creation of the entire BBQ culture. Since Dad's probably going to toss back a couple, let's take a closer look at beer.

The main problem with beer is the calories, half of which come from alcohol. Alcohol impairs our ability to function and is dangerous to our health when consumed in large quantities. There are some pluses and many minuses to chronic alcohol consumption, but that's not our concern in this article. This is Dad's day and you can let him drink; just don't let him drive.

Keeping the calories under control is another matter. An average beer has around 200 calories—a light beer about half of that. This sounds like light beer is better except that light beers also taste light and, thus, often go down like water, making it harder to elicit restraint. It's probably best to choose a beer that has enough bulk so that you don't want to finish one every few minutes.

HopsIngredients are another matter. Since U.S. labeling requirements are not applicable to beer, you have to do some digging to find out what's in American beer. Locations with more beer history, like Germany, have laws that require beer to contain nothing but water, barley, and hops. Large U.S. manufacturersthe kinds that can sell beer for 9 bucks a caseuse cheaper ingredients like rice. Some beers even contain the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. Chances are that the cheaper the beer, the lower the quality of the ingredients.

America is also home to many microbrew companies that stick to European standards and love to tell you what's in their beer. Essentially this means the smaller the brewing company, the healthier the beer. Microbrews cost more but, since they are more filling, you tend to drink less, which can offset their cost. And since they're healthier as well, the best option is probably to procure Dad's beer from the local microbrewery.

Hey, wait a minute. Isn't there a game on?

Way to go, Dad! You've earned it. Kick back in the recliner, relax, and enjoy the game.

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I am a full time Beachbody Coach. I motivate and guide close to 2,500 Club members and head a team of 11 Beachbody Coaches who are all committed to helping you reach your goals. Before joining BeachBody, I was a certified personal trainer for more than a dozen years and have been a running coach for over 20 years. Continued...

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