In this section:
“The saying ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’ is very accurate” (Jason Khalipa)
All the exercise gains won’t make a difference if you’re not eating right, and in this section we’ve looked at different ways dads can get healthier in the kitchen. According to the NHS, men need around 2,500kcal (10,500kJ) a day to maintain a healthy body weight.
If you need to lose weight, aim to lose about 0.5-1kg (1-2lb) a week until you reach a healthy weight for your height. You should be able to lose this amount if you eat and drink about 500-600kcal fewer a day than you need.
Stop eating so much sugar
One of the ingredients that’s a silent enemy is sugar. And though you’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, it’s worth repeating – Added sugars (like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients. They are essentially empty calories.
According to authority nutrition: Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars… glucose and fructose.
- Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we don’t get it from the diet, our bodies produce it.
- Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it.
The thing with fructose is that it can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amounts. This is not a problem if we eat a little bit (such as from fruit) or we just finished an exercise session. In this case, the fructose will be turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it.
However, if the liver is full of glycogen (much more common), eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn the fructose into fat.
Carbohydrates are essential to the human diet. But overloading on ‘simple carbs’ with a higher glycemic index, such as pasta, can cling onto the belly area like no other. A typical plate of spaghetti can easily provides 100 to 150 grams of carbohydrate, and that is before you even consider the garlic bread that might go with it! Most low-carb diet plans recommend limiting your daily carb intake to fewer than 100 grams a day, and now there’s even easier ways to do it – carb substitutes – which are healthier, complex carbs from whole foods.
Just boil the strips in water for a couple of minutes and serve it with your favorite topping.
To save time, and for the harder vegetables you’re trying to turn into spaghetti (like Butternut Squash) consider buying a good quality spiralizer so it lasts you for a while.
Preparation is key
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”
It’s true that life feels busier than ever when you become a parent, and thinking about your health when your craving something now is difficult when food is tempting us at every turn.
The good news is that you can tackle this with great meal prep. This helps massively with portion control and also puts you in the right frame of mind for eating right in the days that follow.
Preparation is also key when it comes to getting those toddler meals ready too, and in our daddilifeforce post you can see more tips to get the kids eating better, more often.
Joseph from Chunky and Friends, who promote healthy eating and active play for kids, had a particular tip for dad’s getting their kids to eat vegetables which we loved:
My five-year-old son, Ben, is the perfect example of the picky eater. The shift happened dramatically as he grew awareness of the texture and unique tastes of his food. With that awareness came opinions and it became a challenge to convince him to eat first and then form an opinion. One of the most effective ways that I persuade my son to eat his vegetables is have to him close his eyes, take a bite and chew slowly. This plays on his curiosity and opens him up to focus on the taste and not the appearance.
- Meal prepping 101 – a guide to weekly meal prep
- Great meal prep recipes. A beginners guide.
- 11 easy toddler meals (KidSpot)
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