06/16/2013 11:07 am ET Updated Aug 16, 2013

Give Your Dad a Healthy Heart for Father's Day

As Father's Day approaches, some of us scramble to decide what to get Dad. If your dad is anything like mine he is notoriously difficult to buy for. So why not give him the gift of health? Here's how:

Start Dad's Day With a Healthy Breakfast: Studies show that eating breakfast is important to maintaining a healthy weight, providing energy for the morning activities and helping us stick to a controlled intake by the time lunch rolls around. Aim for three food groups, e.g., fruit or vegetables, low-fat milk or alternate and whole grains. Adding a source of lean protein and/or fiber (e.g., look for 100 percent whole grains) will help keep Dad's appetite in check so he's not scrambling for a higher calorie snack or lunch.

Plan a Healthy Father's Day Outing: Going on a hike, to the beach or park for some Frisbee, playing catch or volleyball are great activities. What about organizing a day of canoeing or rowing? Not only do these activities get you moving but you are spending quality time together. Get the whole family involved. The health benefits of physical activity are endless: weight control, reducing risk of chronic disease, strengthening bones, improving mental health and increasing Dad's chance of living a longer, healthier life. And it's fun!

Why stop there? Organize something to do with Dad on a regular basis, like signing up for a softball league or other organized sport. This ensures that Dad (and you) get regular physical activity and spend more quality time together other than just on Father's Day. Dad will love it!

Make Dad a Healthy Dinner With Some Healthy Grilling Tips: Organize a family dinner to celebrate dad and grill some of his favorite foods. We all know dads love barbecue.

• Choose lean cuts of meat such as chicken breast, pork or beef tenderloin, firm-fleshed fish such as salmon, tilapia or halibut or extra firm tofu.

• Make sure to trim off all visible fat before grilling.

• Avoid charring the meat and use a low-sodium marinade to add flavor and discourage the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs), carcinogenic chemicals formed when cooking meats at high heat.

• Don't forget to add skewered veggies and/or fruit to the grill such as peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, pineapples, mangoes or peaches for color and nutrition. You can even grill corn on the cob (grill for 10 minutes until tender and slightly browned) or foil packages of chopped mini or sweet potatoes with onions (just spray lightly with oil, add your favourite herbs and spices and fold up the foil to make a package).

• Make the meal family style and tell everyone to dig in.

Happy Father's Day!

For more by Samara Foisy, click here.

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