Father’s Day: 11 Best Healthy Gifts to Send to Dad
You may not be able to visit Dad this Father's Day, but you can still show your love with one of these expert-approved healthy gift ideas.
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Healthy Father’s Day gift ideas
Many Father’s Day gifts—like that “World’s Best Dad” mug you got your pops when you were a kid—are just tokens. But this year as the country begins to come out of coronavirus quarantine, the holiday means a little more. You may not have seen your dad in months, and while you may be hesitant to celebrate Father’s Day in person, you can still send a meaningful gift that will help keep him healthy. You could choose something to protect him against Covid-19—a mask in his favorite team fabric would be fun and useful—or you could encourage healthy lifestyle goals that will keep him feeling good for years to come.
Help dad stay hydrated with a gift he can carry with him all day long. Drinking enough water keeps the body functioning well—fluids lubricate joints, help the heart pump blood, and ease the kidneys’ job of filtering waste. “Water is the best option to stay hydrated, and sometimes we forget to drink throughout the day—carrying a bottle with you will help serve as a reminder to drink your fluids,” says Angel Planells, RDN, a Seattle-based registered dietitian, nutritionist, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. “If your dad is not amenable to drinking water—perhaps he doesn’t like the taste or flavor—add some bubbles to it or add some flavor with flavor packs or fruit. Since we are entering the summer, make sure to have an extra serving of water to stay hydrated.”
Osprey Daylite Daypack
One of the safest and best ways to get activity during the coronavirus pandemic is to hike outdoors, and you can inspire Dad with a brand-new backpack. “Hiking is a great form of exercise: You get the cardio when hiking the elevation changes, which work great to increase your heart rate,” says Bryan Combs, a nurse practitioner at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. “Also, you can do this while maintaining social distancing. Just make sure when hiking to stay on the marked trails and know where you are going.” (Getting out in nature after being cooped up during quarantine will help Dad’s mental health as well. Here are some amazing brain benefits of hiking.)
Grillaholics Heavy Duty Grill Basket
Grilling is often a “dad” thing—a form of cooking encourages eating a lot of unhealthy meats like hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausage. That’s where a grill basket comes in: You can easily cook healthy items like fish or chopped vegetables with one; normally these foods are a nightmare on a grill. “As a male working in healthcare, I often see many men who enjoy consuming meat, but skip on their side of vegetables,” Planells says. “There are many studies that show increased consumption of red meat—and particularly of processed meats—is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, and mortality. In addition, the general public typically consumes only one serving of vegetables per day, when it is encouraged and recommended to consume five to seven servings of vegetables per day.” A vegetable basket allows Dad to continue his passion for grilling while enjoying healthier food choices. Another option: “I enjoy preparing some veggies on a grill with skewers—drizzling some olive oil on top and grilling my veggies,” Planells says.
Tacklife Garden Tools Set
Believe it or not, gardening has some surprising health benefits that can give your muscles a workout. “Any lawn work including gardening can be beneficial,” says Combs. “While you may not raise your heart rate much, you will be outside and doing many motions such as squatting and lifting supplies. This is great for not only the body but also the mind: Just being outside in the sun can have great benefits to a person’s health.” If he’s already active in the yard, ask your dad what yard tool he’s missing; if he’s new to puttering in the garden, get him a brand-new set of garden tools.
Viking Revolution Beard Oil 3-Pack
Speaking of benefits for the mind, self-care is just as important for men as for women, especially during these trying times. “Self-care gifts for Father’s Day are a great way not only to enhance physical health but mental health as well,” says psychologist Deborah Serani, a professor at Adelphi University. “Recent studies show that men who engage in self-care benefit with greater well-being. When thinking about self-care gifts for Dad, think about the five senses: When your Dad engages in sensory experiences, feel-good hormones of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin make for wonderful moments.” She suggests a masculine candle or essential oils with earthy undertones; if that’s not quite your dad’s thing, try an “aromatic beard oil or luxurious shaving cream for your dad’s whiskers. And yes, even the go-to cologne or aftershave.” Beard oil is also perfect if Dad has grown a quarantine beard. (Interestingly, beards can reveal surprising things about your health.)
Dad can make all the yummy and nutritious breakfast smoothies he wants with a personal-sized smoothie maker. “Smoothies are a quick and easy breakfast option for many of us since we are all usually busy,” Planells says. And as the country starts opening up again, Dad can take his smoothies on the go. Even when at home, “this is a really easy way to get a number of fruits and/or vegetables,” Planells says. “Just make sure that you can get a decent amount of protein—you can use whey or soy protein powder, or throw in some Greek yogurt—so you will feel content and satisfied.”
YnM Weighted Blanket
One goal too many of us overlook is healthy sleep—and especially with the pandemic, anxious thoughts can make it hard to get good shut-eye. Serani suggests a weighted blanket to relieve stress and help calm the body through an increased sensation of deep pressure. Although there isn’t a lot of research on weighted blankets and insomnia, in a 2015 study in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, researchers found adults with anxiety showed an improvement in symptoms when they used weighted blankets. Anecdotally, many people do report feeling calmer with a weighted blanket. If you don’t think your dad would go for it, though, you could try other sleep-improving gifts such as an eye mask, white noise machine, or natural-wake alarm clock instead.
GoWise USA Digital Air Fryer
Another nutrition goal many men may struggle with is cutting down on artery-clogging fried food in favor of more heart-healthy options. “While delicious and tasty, it is important that we try to limit the consumption of fried foods,” Planells says. “A high-fat diet can increase our risk of heart disease. Reducing our fat intake can be beneficial for a person’s health and wellness profile.” Instead of using a lot of oil, an air fryer circulates very hot air to crisp the surface of foods and produce a similar result without deep frying. A 2015 study in the Journal of Food Science suggests air frying significantly lowers the fat content. High-heat cooking can still produce harmful trans fats, according to a 2017 study in Nutrition, but air frying in moderation can be a more palatable change to Dad’s diet than eliminating frying all together. “An air fryer is a great option for someone who wants to have something fried, but in a more calorie- and fat-conscious way,” Planells says.
Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Fitness Tracker
Some physical activity Dad might enjoy requires no equipment at all, but he can still monitor his exercise with a fitness tracker. “Anything that raises your heart rate and makes you move your muscles [is beneficial],” Combs says. “Some great workouts done at home are yoga and bodyweight exercises—both can be done everywhere with no extra equipment. Bodyweight exercises are things like push-ups, sit-ups, squats, or planks.” Even just taking walks and doing chores around the house can get in extra activity, and your dad can see his progress right on his wrist. Although the actual health benefits of wearable devices like fitness trackers are tough to nail down, a 2019 meta-analysis in The American Journal of Medicine found it does lead to an increase in motivation to get moving. Plus, you can start him off with a cheaper version to see if he’ll use it before upgrading to a pricier model or smartwatch. (Then, check out the 9 best ways to use that new fitness tracker to get fit.)
BookFactory Food Journal
If your dad’s not very tech-savvy or prefers pen and paper, he can aim to meet his nutrition goals with an old-fashioned food diary. “Increase the use of fruits and vegetables, consume lean proteins like chicken or turkey, avoid sweets—while these are great staples I am a strong believer in the use of a food diary,” Combs says. “When used correctly it can really help someone find areas they can improve in.” By recording the number of calories, along with carbs, fats, and protein if he’s so inclined, your dad can see not just how much he’s eating, but when and where to identify problem spots. A food diary can also be useful if your dad needs to stick to a specific diet for conditions such as diabetes.
Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebells
In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, many people are finding that working out at home is not only possible, it may be preferable to paying for a gym membership. If your dad is one of them—or if you simply want to encourage him to exercise more at home—gift him some helpful, simple at-home exercise equipment like kettlebells. Kettlebells differ from traditional dumbbells in that you can swing them around by the handle; and they use your muscles in a different way. One 2015 study in the Journal of Strength Training and Conditioning Research found that kettlebells can burn more calories than cycling, and are an effective cardiovascular workout as well as strength training. But if your dad has back issues, tell him to consult with his doctor before starting on a new fitness regimen involving kettlebells.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Water and Nutrition"
- American Heart Association: "Staying Hydrated—Staying Healthy"
- Angel Planells, MS, RDN, Seattle-based Registered dietitian, nutritionist, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
- Bryan Combs, PhD, nurse practitioner, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing
- Deborah Serani, PsyD, psychologist and professor at Adelphi University
- Global Action on Men's Health: "WHO Self-Care Wins"
- Occupational Therapy in Mental Health: "Evaluating the Safety and Effectiveness of the Weighted Blanket With Adults During an Inpatient Mental Health Hospitalization"
- Journal of Food Science: "A Comparative Study of the Characteristics of French Fries Produced by Deep Fat Frying and Air Frying"
- Nutrition: "Urbanized South Asians' susceptibility to coronary heart disease: The high-heat food preparation hypothesis"
- The American Journal of Medicine: "Is There a Benefit to Patients Using Wearable Devices Such as Fitbit or Health Apps on Mobiles? A Systematic Review"
- American Academy of Family Physicians: "Nutrition: Keeping a Food Diary"
- The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: "Comparison of Cardiorespiratory and Metabolic Responses in Kettlebell High-Intensity Interval Training Versus Sprint Interval Cycling"