Going Beyond the Grill: Nutrition Tips for Dad

My dad does most of the grocery shopping. He did while I was growing up, and he still does for my mom and for my brothers and sisters who live at home.

But, even though he grills sometimes, my dad doesn’t really cook (spoiler: my mom does most of it).

And, actually, if I had to guess, I would say that my dad is not really that interested in food at all.

While I sometimes wish my dad paid more attention to food, like me, I know that he’s not unique in that regard. Many American men don’t read nutrition facts panels, ingredients lists, or other information about the healthfulness or nutritional benefits of different foods.

HOWEVER:

Men do tend to trust friends and family to let them know which foods to eat or avoid.

In the hopes that maybe you’ll trust me, Dad, here are my top food and nutrition tidbits for you to keep in mind the next time you’re buying groceries, grilling, or figuring out what to order at a restaurant:

1. Fiber matters: Fiber consumption is associated with a plethora of health benefits, from weight management to blood glucose control to gut health. Many plant foods are good sources, including fruits and veggies, beans, oatmeal, and even (your favorite) popcorn. 

2. Eat fish twice a week for heart health: Salmon, sardines, and tuna are all great options rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Canned fish is just as good as fresh!    

3. Frozen vegetables and fruits can be just as nutritious as fresh ones: I know you figured this one out a long time ago since frozen produce also can be more affordable when feeding a big group, but it never hurts to have a reminder. Frozen produce may offer even more nutrients than fresh.

4. Keep reading nutrition information at restaurants: You may not be reading nutrition facts panels on packaged foods, but like most American men, you’re probably noticing the nutrition information posted at restaurants. If it helps you make good choices, keep it up!

5. Check internal temperature when cooking meat, seafood, or poultry: Like many Americans, I know you worry about foodborne illness from bacteria. Cooking (or grilling) meat, seafood, and poultry until it reaches a safe minimum internal temperature helps decrease the risk of illness.

Happy grocery shopping, happy eating, and Happy Father’s Day! 

This blog post was written by Julie Hess, IFIC 's Sylvia Rowe Fellow.