Heart-Healthy Father’s Day

Happy dad and daughter cooking at home
Image by Freepik

Shifting your Father’s Day menu toward heart-healthy options isn’t going to make as big of a health impact as adjusting everyday eating routines. However, it can be an opportunity to try a few new things together as a family. Keep expectations realistic. You never know, one might make the cut for future meals and celebrations.

“Dad approved” dishes

Whether it’s with heart-healthy fish dishes or simple shifts that make your entrée more heart-healthy, you can make dad’s day, while also doing his body good. If meat is on the menu, seek Guiding Stars earning cuts of lean beef, center cut pork, and poultry. While it may be tempting to move toward plant-based options instead of meat, it’s not necessarily a lower fat or reduced sodium choice. Choose carefully by looking for the Guiding Stars nutrition icons while you shop or consider making your own Black Bean & Quinoa Burger.

Superior sides

Side dishes make the meal, but in the case of typical summer sides they often miss out on opportunities for improved nutrition. Pasta salads, for example, can be made with heart-healthy olive oil in place of caloric, creamy ingredients rich in saturated fat. Level up grain dishes with nutrient-dense whole grain or bean-based pasta, brown rice, or quinoa. Prepare dad side dishes that have his health in mind like this creamy salad and veggie slaw, which are made with nonfat Greek yogurt.

Have your chips and eat them too

You may be surprised to learn that some potato chips earn Guiding Stars. It’s true! Dad can have his chips and eat more heart-healthy at the same time. Star earning chips are often crafted with vegetable oil, less sodium, and no added sugar. While this doesn’t mean chips are something we should enjoy every day, there are better-for-you options we can enjoy when the moment calls for it. Encourage moderation by putting some (not the whole bag) into a bowl and serve them alongside Grilled Peach Salsa or heart-healthy dips made with nutritious ingredients like avocados.


Of course, we shouldn’t deny dad dessert (or anyone, really), but we can serve sweet treats in a more balanced way. Start by offering an array of petite bars, brownies, and cookies. This way, it’s easy to enjoy a variety without overindulging. Likewise, homemade frozen treats like ice cream, granita, or sorbet let you control the ingredients are all delicious options that meet the nutrition criteria to earn Guiding Stars.