Healthy Father Happy Family 

Did you know there are more males with self-reported diabetes, high blood pressure and high lipid levels than females according to the National Population Health Survey (NPHS) 2021? 

This Father’s Day, let’s focus more on how to keep these lifestyle diseases at bay for the Superhero in our life! Read on to find out more about the HAHA ways!

Healthy Diet

When it comes to a healthy diet, it often revolves around low fat, low sugar, low salt. Dad knows the concept too, but how do we apply it in his daily diet? 

1. Fill Dad up with Fibre!

Vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds are good sources of fibre. It provides a lot of health benefits: makes our gut happy, prevents blood sugar spike, improves blood cholesterol level, helps with weight management, and might help to lower the risk of colorectal cancer, one of the most common cancers found in men! 

 

How do we incorporate more fibre in dad’s diet? 

Dining out

  • Encourage dad to order vegetable sides or ask for extra vegetables (E.g. chicken rice with 1 plate of chye sim; wanton mee with extra vegetables; grilled chicken chop with 1 bowl of salad; tandoori chicken with vegetable jaipuri)
  • Replace refined grains with wholegrains (E.g. Choose brown rice over white rice, buckwheat noodle over soba) 
  • Remind dad to end the meal with a piece of fruit. Buying 1 slice of cut fruit from a fruit stall or packing a small apple or banana to the office makes this easier. 

 

Home cooking

  • Prepare at least 2 different varieties of vegetable dish and fill up ¼ of dad’s plate with cooked vegetables. 
  • Add vegetables in soup / stew / curry to encourage dad and the family to take more vegetables. 
  • Make wholegrains the choice of grains in your house. Go for brown rice vermicelli, brown / black / red / purple rice, and you can even explore barley, quinoa as your grain choices. 
  • Prepare cut fruits after meals to encourage dad and other family members to boost their fibre and vitamins intake. 

2. Familiarise Dad with the “3 Lows”

  • Low salt/sodium: Sodium is a mineral that is closely associated with blood pressure. 
    • Tips:
      • Asking for less or no gravy, or gravy to be served aside when eating out. If unavoidable, try to leave the gravy behind.
      • Going for soup-based dishes but leave the soup behind. 
      • Asking for less soy sauce / salt when taking dry dishes.
      • Replacing processed /pickled food with fresh food. E.g. Go for fresh cucumber instead of pickles, choose baked chicken over sausage / ham, and etc.

 

  • Low saturated and trans fat: Saturated and trans fat are the two main culprits for abnormal lipid profile. They are found in animal fats, deep fried food, processed food, pastries, etc. 
    • Tips:
      • Choosing lean protein, such as chicken, fish, soy protein (tofu, taukwa, tempeh). Red meat, such as beef and lamb, generally contains higher saturated fat. Studies also found that a diet low in red meat helps to lessen the risk of colorectal cancer. 
      • Removing any visible fats and skin on meat when eating out
      • Choosing food prepared with healthy cooking method, such as steamed, grilled, baked, stewed, pan-fried, roasted.
      • Limiting fried food / fast food intake to not more than twice per week if your dad is a fried food-lover. 

 

  • Low added sugar: Added sugar refers to sugar added to food or drinks by us or the manufacturer. E.g. Sugar added to coffee, sugar added in ketchup and etc. Overconsumption of sugar may lead to excessive calorie intake, and hence, lead to weight gain. Obesity is one of the modifiable risk factors to many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and etc. 
  • Tips:
    • Ordering “siew dai” or “kosong” for a handmade drink or opt for zero sugar drinks such as green tea, oolong tea, etc.
    • Read the ingredient list for your breakfast cereal and avoid choosing those with sugar, glucose, honey, sugar syrup, etc listed as the top 3 ingredients. Don’t forget to read and compare the nutrition information panel before deciding on your product! 

3. Remind Dad on the Alcohol Limit

Drinking plays an important social role for many of the businessman-dads. It also helps dad to unwind after a long day. Alcohol can be enjoyed if it’s taken in moderation— overdrinking can lead to many health consequences, such as obesity, liver problems, mental disruption, and etc. 

 

So what is “moderation”?

It’s recommended for men to limit to 2 standard drinks (1 standard drink = 330ml beer; 100ml wine; 30ml spirit) per day. Do note that this does not mean dad could have 14 standard drinks on his TGIF hangout even if there is no alcohol for that week. Dad is still stuck with the 2 standard drinks limit, unfortunately. 

Achieve or Maintain a Healthy Weight & Waistline

As aforementioned, obesity is the leading cause of many diseases. Hence, it’s good to achieve a healthy weight if dad has already had a BMI of more than 22.9kg/m2

Of course, we know BMI does not mean everything as dad might be carrying more muscle than fats or more fats than muscle even if his BMI is normal (ie. skinny fat). Hence, it’s important to have dad’s waistline in check, ie. not more than 90cm. Abdominal obesity usually indicates a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and etc.

By adopting the healthy diet as mentioned, it’s not hard to shed that extra weight off or keep dad’s weight or waistline within the healthy range. 

Health screening

Regular health screening helps with early disease detection. If these lifestyle diseases are left untreated, they can develop serious complications, including stroke, heart disease, and etc. Having said that, many of the dads out there do not see the importance of attending health screening. So, why not treat your dad with a health screening package this Father’s day to kick start his health journey?

Active lifestyle

Exercise brings about many benefits, such as weight management, reducing health risk, strengthening muscle and bone, improving mood and gut health, and many other more.

 

Expose your already active-dad to new sports, such as kayaking, bowling instead of his usual jogging, or sports like badminton or tennis. Engage your couch potato-dad in exercise, such as hiking, brisk walking, golfing, that you can do together which makes it more meaningful. A little exercise is better than none!

 

The best time to kick start dad’s journey is always now. 

If you would like more guidance on nutrition for dad to prevent or manage these lifestyle diseases, attend a Medical Nutrition Therapy session with a dietitian today!

Have Questions?
REACH OUT TO US ON AskPULSE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top