Eat Like a Man—For Better Health
June is just about my very favorite month of the year. Not only does it mark the beginning of summer and family vacations, but there’s also Men’s Health Week, which occurs each year during the week leading up to—and including—Father’s Day, with a goal of heightening awareness of preventable health problems that affect men and boys.
This is a great cause and one that I support wholeheartedly!
Simple things we can do to help prevent important men’s health problems include staying physically active, getting sufficient sleep and rest, eating a healthful diet, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and getting regular medical checkups.
I love to eat, so let’s focus on good nutrition and healthy weight in men. According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of obesity in men worldwide has doubled since 1980. Many of us have settled into sedentary lifestyles, and we tend to gain weight as abdominal fat, which increases our risk for hypertension, insulin resistance, diabetes, and even heart disease.
One factor in our modern-day obesity epidemic is the ever-increasing portion size—or the “supersizing” of meals served in homes and restaurants over the past 40 years. We desperately need to cut down on our total calorie intake, and this involves eating healthier foods and reducing portion sizes at the same time.
Here are some tips to “eat like a man” and maintain a healthy weight:
• Eat a healthful breakfast that includes protein, whole-grain carbs, and fruit. Whole-grain cereal, milk, and a banana, or a healthy protein shake blended with berries are both good choices to start the day.
• Don’t be afraid to share that incredibly large entrée with your dining partner. This decreases the likelihood of overeating and saves money, as well.
• Eat mostly plant-based foods. Author Michael Pollan suggests that we Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Great advice because plant foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, and can help reduce intake of fat and cholesterol. Shoot for seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
• Avoid high-calorie snacks such as chips, French fries, and other processed foods, and instead…
• Choose smart snacks, including fresh and dried fruits such as apples, bananas, grapes, raisins, dates, or other healthful selections such as carrot sticks, air-popped popcorn, or unsalted nuts.
• Cut out the high-calorie sugary beverages. Try drinking more water or tea.
• Consider supplements. Especially a good multivitamin, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Today’s manly approach to eating needs to focus on healthful foods and portion sizes. Along with regular exercise, ”eating like a man” can help us to be the fit and healthy men we all aspire to be.