Healthy Recipes to Spoil Dad this Father’s Day

Posted on: June 10, 2013

Celebrating Dad with Yummy and Nutritious Treats

by Pat Talio, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, Outpatient Nutrition Program Coordinator, Northern Westchester Hospital

06.10.13_CelebratingDad_WatermelonImageIt may be cliché but most of us have heard, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” So, this Father’s Day, let’s show our appreciation for all Dad’s done for us by preparing him something tasty and nutritious. Here is a bit of science and research behind the three recipes below that are sure to make this Father’s Day extra special. 

The Health Professionals Follow-up Study (or HPFS), which began in 1986, is sponsored by the Harvard School of Public Health and funded by the National Cancer Institute. It examines the relationship between health related nutrition factors and incidences of chronic diseases. The most recent research from this study looked at the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, coffee and fruit intake and health.

Weakness for Sugar Sweetened Beverages
Men who drink sugar sweetened beverages are more likely to be obese and have a higher risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, and gout, which is consistent with what we have heard from other research.

Love that Cup of Joe
When coffee consumption was looked at independently of other lifestyle choices (such as smoking and eating a high fat diet) there was found to be less heart disease and a decreased risk of Type II diabetes and less Parkinson’s disease amongst coffee drinkers. There may also be an association between coffee consumption and a lower risk of developing some forms of cancer. We can thank the antioxidant effects of the powerful plant phenols found in coffee for this benefit.

Fondness for Fruit
Flavonoids are the biologically active compounds found in our brightly colored fruit and vegetables.  The HPFS specifically looked at the consumption of flavonoids from fruit and found that men who ate 1 or more cups of berries each week had less incidence of Parkinson’s Disease, hypertension and Type II Diabetes in relation to those who ate berries 1 time per month. Besides berries other good fruit sources of flavonoids are apples, apricots, citrus fruit and tomatoes.

To help the fathers in our lives benefit from the conclusions of this study I’ve compiled three delicious and healthful recipes you can feel good about making for Dad. Introduce him to a healthy alternative to a sugar sweetened beverage by making him a thirst quenching “Watermelon Slushie” on a hot summer day. Fix the Dad-on-the-run a “Banana or Berry Coffee Smoothie.” For a refreshing and colorful salad try the “Strawberry Spinach Salad.” Celebrate this Father’s day by delighting the taste buds and strengthening the heart of the Dads we love!

Watermelon Slushie
• 2 cup(s) (1-inch pieces) seedless watermelon
• 1/2 cup(s) pomegranate juice
• 1/2 cup(s) ice cubes
In blender, combine watermelon, pomegranate juice, and ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Pour into tall glass

Berry or Banana Coffee Smoothie
• 1 cup frozen berries or 1 banana
• 8 ounces brewed coffee, chilled
• ½ cup vanilla Greek style yogurt
• ½ cup ice
• Dash of vanilla or almond extract
Combine all ingredients in blender and enjoy!

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Courtesy of
• 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
• ¼ teaspoon paprika
• ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon minced onion
• 10 ounces fresh spinach – rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
• 1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced
• 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.