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Nutrition for Dad

June 7th, 2021 | Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

(Image credited: Klemm, 2020)

In May we celebrated mother’s day, now it's time to celebrate with all the fathers out there. Speaking of Father’s Day, I am thinking of sharing some nutrition tidbits about men’s health. The nutritional requirements for men and women are pretty similar, but there are differences in physiology, cultural norms, and behaviors leading to different diet/lifestyle choices, ultimately affecting the health outcomes. So far, the men I come across (in the past and current), are VERY interested in protein types of food, which are usually animal proteins (beef, pork, chicken/turkey, eggs, fish, cheese). And they are not so much a fan of vegetables.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021), the top seven leading men’s health threats in the United States are heart disease, cancers, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), and diabetes. Now that you know your health risk, are you ready to take charge of your health? I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that although protein is important for your diet, you still need to incorporate vegetables (mainly non starchy, like greens), fruit, and starches into your diet. Fruits and vegetables are packed with fibers, vitamins/minerals, antioxidants, which possess potential health benefits such as heart health, gastrointestinal health, vision health, cognitive health, and more. Starches (plant-based food, such as potatoes, peas, corn, beans, and grains) are a great source of fuel, vitamins/minerals, and other nutrients to help regulate body processes. ONE MORE THING, protein foods do not always need to be animal-based, we can also alternate with plant-based protein, such as soy, beans, nuts, and whole grains. By doing so, you are helping yourself to cut back on saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories, at the same time, you increase the amount of fiber intake.

Now that we’ve learned general nutrition about men’s health, it is time to implement it. Let me share with you what to make for lunch/dinner (with the nutrition tips I mentioned earlier). This month, I plan to share meal ideas that require little prep work, and less or no cooking, which works best for the upcoming scorching summer.

Fresh spring rolls: The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home. It is a thai-inspired recipe, and is a very light and flavorful appetizer. This recipe is best for summer! These spring rolls are wrapped with several colorful vegetables, baked tofu/grilled shrimps, and herbs (fresh mint and thai basil). It is a MUST to pair these spring rolls with creamy peanut sauce.

Thai noodle salad: The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home. If you are making the fresh spring rolls (mentioned above), I highly recommend you to also make this Thai noodle salad. Why? Because this recipe requires about the same ingredients as the spring rolls, with just a slight tweak. Instead of wrapping the vegetables like the spring rolls, we tossed the vegetables, toasted peanuts, and noodles (I used soba noodle here) together in a large bowl. Lastly, I served this thai noodle salad with lime wedges and baked ginger sesame tofu.

Grilled Salmon Salad with Avocado cucumber salsa: The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home. Salmon has an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acid. It requires a very short cooking time, and has a very good flavor. I had this grilled salmon with grilled romaine lettuce (I just simply brushed a thin layer of oil on the romaine lettuce and grilled for approximately 5 minutes), and then I gave it a light toss with creamy cilantro dressing. Prior to serving, I topped the grilled salmon with a spoonful of avocado cucumber salad, which is so appetizing and refreshing!

Thai Turkey Burgers with Crunchy Asian Slaw: Hamburger patty? NO NO! Today we tried something different. These turkey patties are infused with lemongrass, ginger, and basil. Make sure you pair this burger with some asian slaw. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.

Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers with Jicama Mango Slaw: A simple yet very tasty tropical-flavored recipe, which is made from grilled chipotle shrimp and grilled pineapple, served with special jicama mango slaw. NOTE: you MUST have a very firm or green mango to make the slaw, otherwise the final product of the jicama mango slaw will be too soft or mushy. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.

Zucchini roll ups: Are you craving for some lasagna roll ups, but are looking for a healthier option? This zucchini roll up recipe is a keeper. The things I love about this recipe the most, are it uses zucchini slices instead of lasagna noodle, and it incorporates spinach and fresh basil in the filling. The recipes is adapted from Feasting at home.

Vietnamese beef and noodle salad (food prepared by Chef Brendan): Do you want to have some authentic Vietnamese food, but are unable to find one good restaurant in town? Let’s try this recipe. It is a light but flavorful dish that includes some chopped fresh mint, cilantro and Thai basil! The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there!

*Most ingredients are sponsored by DRH Health’s Food and Nutrition Service Department.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). FastStats: Men’s Health. Retrieved from

Klemm, S. (2020). Nutrition for older men [Digital Image]. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved from

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