Tommy Europe’s top tips for mixing food prep, family time, and fitness
As an all-star defensive back in the CFL, Tommy Europe’s job was to keep up with some of the league’s fastest receivers. Now, more than 15 years after playing his final pro game, Tommy faces a new challenge: Keeping up with his wife and two young daughters! When the family visits the local park, he says, people ask, “How do you get your kids to jog like that?” Tommy’s reply: “They’re not jogging, they’re playing tag!”
Setting aside time to get active isn’t the only way Tommy helps his loved ones lead healthier lives. If you’re wondering how to keep your family healthy, here are three of his key tips:
Make time to get active
Kids being kids, Tommy says his two young daughters aren’t always enthusiastic about the family’s regular weekend walks, hikes and bike rides. “But at the end of the day, when I ask them, ‘Aren’t you glad we did that?’ the answer is always ‘yes.’ It’s our routine, and it makes all of us healthier and stronger.”
It’s true: From pick-up road hockey out front of your home to “Dad vs. The World” basketball at a local community court, getting active with the brood doesn’t have to cost a single cent. “There are lots of different ways to get your family active,” Tommy adds. “And the best part? They’re all lots of fun!”
Show them the way
Of course, families don’t have to be together to get active. When it comes to his daughters, Tommy says, getting them moving can be as simple as opening the front door. “Just let your kids go outside and play! Sometimes they don’t need things to be all that structured.”
Those quiet neighbourhood streets and local parks are also ideal for letting the kids do their thing without you. They’ll clamber over rocks and climb trees while you rest up for the next big game of tag.
At the same time, Tommy says, nothing is stopping you from being the one who ducks out the door for some healthy time in the great outdoors. “When the kids ask where you’re going, saying ‘for a walk’ or ‘for some fresh air’ sets a great example.”
Keep the veggies coming
“From the beginning, we’ve served our kids plenty of veggies,” Tommy says. “Peppers, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, the whole gamut. It’s something we incorporated early and often. People ask, ‘How do you get your kids to eat vegetables? And I say: ‘Well, first of all, they can’t cook!’ We never gave them a choice, so they grew up loving vegetables.”
After all, what kid wouldn’t want to eat their veggies when these quick and easy recipes make them taste so delicious? Here’s how to cook healthy family meals:
Do you love golf? How does a trip for 2 to play Angus Glen Golf Club in Toronto, new Nike Vapor golf clubs, and $1000 cash sound? That’s the grand prize, Chris T from Drayton Valley, Alberta claimed as part of our Ultimate Father’s Day Golf Giveaway. Congratulations, Chris!
The contest was part of Canadian Men’s Health Week, which was hugely successful in motivating close to 57,000 Canadian guys and their families to commit to living healthier.
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and helped to spread the good word for Canadian Men’s Health Week and stay tuned for more contests on our website. A special thanks to our participating sponsors, Rexall and Give Golf.
Getting to know Chris, our prize winner:
When we chatted with Chris, we were blown away by his enthusiasm and learned that he is making great efforts to be healthy every day. We thought, he may even have a thing or two to share with other guys looking to better their health.
Check out our Q&A, below:
Is your health important to you and why? Yes. If I don’t have my health then I can’t work and I can’t be there as a support for my wife.
What steps are you taking to get/keep healthy? I go to the gym 3-4 days a week. I joined the local golf club. My job is very physical as a gas fitter so I get in a lot of exercise and movement that way. Eating healthy too, of course!
Best advice you have for other men wanting to live healthier? Start slow – even if it means starting with walking. It’s all about baby steps. Don’t take on too much at once. The hardest thing to do is just getting started and once you do, it gets easier.
Chris is an avid golfer and after hearing that he had won, he couldn’t wait to book his trip. Our team hustled to coordinate all the details for Chris and his buddy to hit the green this weekend. We even managed to pull some strings for an extra surprise – shhhhhh.
Stay tuned on Facebook or Twitter to see photos and we’ll reveal how we surprised Chris!
With over 55,000 health pledges taken, we all took a big step towards creating a social movement for men to live healthier, happier lives by embracing small changes. Why should you care? Because this is going to be a long-lasting legacy for a better Canada. And c’mon even opposing political parties rallied together with us for the cause and that speaks volumes!
This first-ever digital campaign called on men to make four simple lifestyle changes that can help them feel better and live healthier lives: Take the stairs instead of the escalator, choose salad as a side dish, get off the bus one stop earlier, and eat more broccoli. Not only did more than 55,000 people take The Health Pledge (one click or tap at CanadianMensHealthWeek.ca is all it took!), hundreds of others, including Men’s Health Champions Simon Whitfield, Trevor Linden, Adam Kreek, Shea Emry, Jim Hughson and Ned Bell showed their support. Some Champions even recorded selfie videos and challenged friends and family to embrace stairs, short strolls and salads.
What prompted so many Canadians to take The Pledge? It could have been this ground-breaking study, released at the start of Canadian Men’s Health Week, which showed that four lifestyle factors — smoking, excess weight, over-consumption of alcohol and physical inactivity — are sapping a shocking $36.9 billion from the Canadian economy each year and causing incredible hardship at the individual and family level. For all you visual learners, click here to see an infographic of the report.
3. Gary Mason column:
The Globe and Mail newspaper’s national affairs columnist sets off a wave of media attention by using the Economic Impact Report’s findings to alert men to the consequences of ignoring their health. See the full article: “Men shouldn’t need a GPS to find their doctor’s office.”
4. The world’s first health awareness tool built specifically for men launches:
The innovative online health survey YouCheck.ca provides a free, anonymous, bilingual tool for assessing the risk of developing seven of the most common diseases and conditions among Canadian men. It only takes 8 minutes and is a survey all Canadian men should take to be proactive about their health.
TV and radio stations across Canada shine a light on men’s health issues, including a CTV National News report highlighting Canadian Men’s Health Week.
7. National Canadian companies support:
Leading Canadian firms Rexall, Scotiabank, Rogers, Deloitte and many others (see the full list here) encourage management, staff and customers to take The Pledge as part of a continuing drive to boost health awareness and positive change at the workplace and in our communities.
8. Community Partners pay off:
Health and non-profit organizations across the country, including the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association, Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre and Dieticians of Canada, draw even more attention to Canadian Men’s Health Week.
9. Got the attention of major national sports organizations:
Major sports organizations such as the National Hockey League Players Association, the Canadian Football League and its players association as well as RogersSportsnet broadcasting service showed their support on Twitter.
10. Michael Buble fans support:
The international chart-topping Canadian singer and songwriter bolsters Canadian Men’s Health Week with a personal post to his 7.8 million Facebook fans and 2.26 million Twitter followers, generating more than 1,300 “likes,” dozens of positive comments, 50-plus shares and scores of retweets…and counting!
OK, I made that number up. But my point stands: Having children is the most transformative experience I’ve ever known. As I write this blog post, for example, I’m getting…a little…choked…up…as I ponder the significance of my two young daughters in my life, and the significance of my life in theirs. Pre-kids, I shed nary a tear when Old Yeller and E.T. kicked the bucket.
Father’s Day brings it all home. On one hand, it’s a day that doesn’t even exist for men until they become dads. On the other, the day’s emphasis on dads’ domestic roles — as breadwinners, caregivers, role-models, spider eradicators, the list goes on — highlights the gravity of fatherhood.
If I’ve learned anything in the eight years since Ava arrived (on Dec. 25!), it’s that the most important part of being a dad is being there. Being there to bond with your kids. Being there to play with them. Being there to show them right from wrong. And being there to show them how to have healthy relationships and healthy lives.
On that note, being there means more than physical presence. You have to be mentally present — that is, not constantly distracted by texts or work or meerkat videos — and you have to look after yourself. I admit it: Playing with my girls can be physically demanding, especially when a horsey-ride marathon is called for. In short, there’s being there, and then there’s making the most of being there.
That’s one of the messages at the heart of the “Insanely Fun Father’s Day Guide” from the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. All of the suggested activities, from kayaking and tree-planting to kite-flying and kabob mastery, parlay time together with healthy family fun.
Heck, there’s no reason you can’t fit two or three — or if you’re feeling ambitious, all — of the guide’s nine ideas into Father’s Day. Sign up to receive the free ebook, and you’ll see how making the most of being there can be a blast for everyone involved. And if you have other ideas for Father’s Day fun, go right ahead and share them in the comments below.
What would you do for your country? With Canada Day just around the corner this question is especially relevant. Of course, most men already do plenty for their home and native land, whether serving in the Armed Forces, working a government job, or simply paying the taxes that keep everything humming along.
But there’s something else millions of us can do for Canada: Live healthier lives. The personal benefits of this are obvious and easily attainable, as Canadian Men’s Health Week and the Take the One-Click Health Pledge Campaign clearly show. But the flip-side of this – unhealthy lifestyle behaviours – are costing Canada much more than you might think.
How much? The phrase “an arm and a leg” comes to mind when looking at the results of a new ground-breaking study. Taken together, four health factors – smoking, excess weight, over-consumption of alcohol and physical inactivity – cost Canada’s economy $36.9 billion each year.
The infographic below breaks down the specific sources of this staggering dollar figure, which is more than, say, the value of every NHL team put together; all the Canadian coins in circulation; a decade’s worth of maple syrup production…you get the idea. In short, it amounts to around $2,200 for every adult male in the country. Yikes!
The takeaway: There may be better ways for you to display your patriotism than by cranking the Tragically Hip or flocking to Parliament Hill on July 1. In fact, Take the Pledge offers four. It calls on guys across the country to commit to making four simple lifestyle changes that can help them feel better and live healthier lives: Take the stairs instead of the escalator, choose salad as a side dish, get off the bus one stop earlier, and eat more broccoli. One click or tap to CanadianMensHealthWeek.ca is all it takes for men to take the pledge.
But it doesn’t stop there. Guys can take their pledges to the next level by recording selfie videos and challenging friends and family to embrace stairs, short strolls and salads. (Men’s health Champions Simon Whitfield, Trevor Linden, Adam Kreek, Shea Emry, Alain Vigneault, Jim Hughson and Ned Bell are taking the lead on this; to see Hughson’s clip, click here.)