Home & Family

Taking Care of Your Man

Women are nurturers by nature, and frequently the primary family caregiver. Women typically do it all – from food shopping to  meal preparation to managing the family’s health. So ladies, enjoy this power and take charge of your family’s health! Men sometimes are not in tune to health issues like eating healthily and getting regular exercise. You can help your man stay healthy and fit by maintaining a home with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and no smoking.  Of course this isn’t always the case-in some couples it’s the other way around, but regardless of who plays what role, once you commit to being with someone for life, you are partly responsible for their well being and they are for yours.

Anne O’Connor, 55, has been married to her husband Dan, 57, for 33 years. She noticed as her husband got older, it was harder for him to keep his ideal weight; she had to step in and help him get his weight under control, especially as he has high blood pressure and cholesterol. “Get all snack foods out of the house,” Anne recommends. “If it’s not in the house, he can’t eat it;  especially if he has a sweet tooth, make sure to get rid of all desserts like cookies, ice cream, etc.”  Anne also has success by limiting carbs, limiting meats to a few times each week and planning more dinners with fish.

When Anne plans their weekly dinners, she makes sure to cook extra so Dan has healthy leftovers to take to work for lunch the next day, eliminating the temptation to go out for a burger. “However, I do exercise portion control for both of us at dinner,” Anne adds. Anne also started buying vitamins for Dan to take each day, “Now he’s better about taking them than I am!” she comments.

Here are some more tips on how to take care the man in your life:

Take charge at the grocery store. If your man insists on unhealthy snacks like chips, buy healthy substitutes like baked chips or pretzels. Stock up on fruits and vegetables and incorporate them in each meal you eat together.

Take charge in the kitchen. Many men are not big veggie fans and are self professed “meat and potatoes” guys. Make your meat and potatoes dinner extra healthy by choosing lean meats, make mashed potatoes with skim milk, and add grilled veggies with steak seasoning. Spice up your man’s favorite burger by using ground turkey mixed with chopped onion and garlic and again, good old steak seasoning for a healthy twist. Chili can be an incredibly healthy dish if you make it with whole beans and veggies – if your man likes spice, even better – remember hot sauce has very little calories.

Stealth cooking. Many men, once they have decided they don’t like certain food,  are hesitant to try it again since they had it once in 5th grade and were scarred for life. In many instances these foods are delicious and healthy foods – brussel sprouts, beans and fish are all common examples of cafeteria food gone wrong. If prepared in a delicious dish, your husband may come around, so keep cooking healthy foods he says he doesn’t like – he’ll probably like it. Don’t even tell him what it is until he’s tried it and most likely enjoyed it. 

Try something new together and make it healthy Relationships benefit by new experiences – especially new experiences together. Pick up a new activity like golf, biking, cooking or hiking and you will both learn something new and improve your man’s health.  If you can’t find the time for a major exercise routine, take a walk together after dinner.  Even just going around the block helps the digestive system burn off that recently ingested meal rather than turning it into fat.

Doctor’s Appointments. Many men do not make their annual checkups at the doctor and dentist, much less the additional recommended doctor visits. Ladies, make sure you both make the appointments and that your man gets there – even if you have to accompany him on the visit. If your man has a specific issue, help him identify what is bothering him and assist with a list of questions for the doctor.  Some people can get old and set in their ways and brush off the need to see a doctor for ailments.  I bet you know someone like that.  You may need to be the nudge these folks need to get in front of a professional.

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Rachael Ray