Father’s Day: Focus on Family and Fun with a side of Food

June 13th, 2017

By Caroline Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN

I know a lot of fathers, how about you?  The fathers that I know have varying ideas of what Father’s Day is all about and how it should be celebrated.  For instance, my own father prefers to act like the day doesn’t exist while the father of my child acts like the days exists only for him.  Two wildly different ideas for two men that I love, adore, and honor on this day.  So, how do I plan to honor both?  I start by finding the common ground – I want to spend as much quality time with both of them as possible – on Father’s Day and beyond.  That means making the celebration about what they enjoy and including activities and foods that will promote their health for the day and the years to come.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate dad that will promote good mental and physical health over time!

Need to celebrate a dad that likes sports?  Is it realistic to get tickets to go with him to a game, make a viewing party at home, or re-create the sport in your backyard?  If you are headed to a game, plan to eat before or take appropriate snacks–roasted chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and homemade granola travel well.  If [unsalted] peanuts in the shell are available for sale and peanut allergies aren’t an issue – this is an option that includes good fats, protein and patience.


Need to celebrate a handy dad that likes to build and fix things?  Is there a workshop at a local store you can look into attending with him or can you offer to assist him with a project on his long to-do list?  Either option will require your full attention, and possibly for awhile, so eating a balanced meal–such as 3-4oz of lean protein, 1 cup of whole grains and at least a cup of veggies –will keep you focused and level-headed as you tackle the project together.


Have a few dads you need to celebrate together?  I bet a backyard BBQ bodes well for all. Think about what activities you can incorporate and what foods fit.  Forecasting a lively flag football game?  Be sure to have a lot of unsweetened hydration options and grilled foods to grab and go—water as well as grilled kabobs with skinless chicken breast, veggies and potatoes.  Is a game of cards more likely in the cards for your family?  Think about lower calorie foods to set out for snacking like fresh cut fruit and veggies, homemade popsicles and fruit-filled desserts.


Need to celebrate fathers far away?  If a surprise visit isn’t in the budget or schedule, there are many more options for sending your love through food than just a fruit of the month club!  You can send him a bouquet of fresh-cut fruits and veggies, a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant or even a week or two of health-focused prepared meals.  Ask him to call or Face Time you when he’s enjoying it, so you can share in the experience.

Whatever scenario you find yourself in, take dad by surprise and ask him what the day means to him so you can start strategizing the fun and food for next year!

Caroline is a Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the owner of Caroline West, LLC and the Past President of the Pittsburgh Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  When she isn’t fielding media interviews, consulting with clients, or fooling her friends with food you will likely find her spending quality – and active – time with her family. You can find Caroline on facebook, twitter, and Instagram.

Posted by: Julie Stefanski

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