Five things you can do (in five minutes or less!) for a healthier Father’s Day
Skip the tie this year and give dad the gift of health on Father’s Day. A family walk or preparing a healthy meal together help create meaningful family memories.
Father's Day is always a special time with my family. Whether we’re participating in an activity with our church group or throwing a baseball in the yard, I treasure the time together. Chasing little ones isn’t for the faint of heart. That’s why keeping myself healthy and able to stay active with my kids has become a priority to me.
As a family practice physician, I also see daily how the unhealthy habits of parents can impact children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one third of U.S. adults are clinically obese. More than 17 percent of children aged 6-11 years old are obese. These statistics should make all of us consider our daily habits and look for areas of improvement not only for ourselves but for the health of our children.
I get it--losing weight or developing a healthier lifestyle can often seem like an overwhelming feat. Many of us work long days, and coming home to put our feet up sounds more inviting than putting our sneakers on for a workout.
Take it one step and one day at a time! A few simple modifications to your lifestyle each day can make a big difference in your overall health. These five items take less than five minutes each but can make a big impact on your overall health and energy levels.
- Drink a glass of water before meals: Our bodies interpret thirst as hunger, so drinking a full glass of water up to an hour before each meal may cut the number of calories you consume. Additionally, staying hydrated boosts energy and prevents cravings, minimizing your desire to eat unhealthy snacks between meals. Get the kids involved by letting them add chopped fruits or herbs for color and flavor to everyone’s glass.
- Eat a post-workout snack: To maximize the effects of a strength training workout, consider eating a high protein snack following your workout to replenish and build your muscles. Getting enough protein is essential to building muscle—which in turn burns more calories throughout the day than fat.
- Go to bed five minutes earlier: A number of studies have linked a lack of sleep with overeating and weight gain. Experts recommend seven hours or more of sleep each night, and going to bed five minutes earlier each night can help you feel more rested and rejuvenated. Feel like your evenings are too busy? Consider getting the kids in bed a bit earlier, too. Sleep benefits everyone.
- Snack on vegetables between meals: Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber – they can help you feel full so you don’t overeat during your next meal. Two to three cups of vegetables are recommended per day. You can encourage younger children to eat as many rainbow colors as possible. Older kids might enjoy picking out a new or exotic item from the supermarket for the family to try.
- Sip on green tea or matcha: Have a coffee habit? That buzz in a cup can actually dehydrate you and deplete energy. Try green tea and matcha instead, which have caffeine plus good antioxidants, which may help boost your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day.
The bottom line--it’s all about balance and small steps. If your Father’s Day starts with a stack of pancakes and bacon, end the day with a family walk full of laughs and storytelling. Happy Father’s Day!
Dustin Cupp, DO is a dad to four kids and a physician at St. John Clinic – Family Medical Care at 7501 Riverside Pkwy, Tulsa, OK 74136.