Many experts agree that good health starts with good nutrition and proper hydration. Many health issues, such as cardiac disease, obesity, and diabetes, are caused or exacerbated by poor nutrition.
Men generally need a higher calorie and protein intake than women, especially physically active men. However, in American culture, this often takes the form of a “meat and potatoes” style meal that emphasizes large servings of meat and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. While these meals are filling and delicious to eat, adult men need a greater variety of nutrients from their food than the Standard American Diet usually provides.
Adding to the confusion surrounding proper diet and nutrition is the fact that the recommendations for what is healthy change as we learn more about the human body and its needs. When you were a kid, no doubt you were told that fat is always bad, and low-fat foods are always a better choice. However, we now know that the body needs a certain amount of good fats and that prepackaged low-fat foods usually contain large amounts of sugar. It can be frustrating to try to follow the latest trends in nutrition science, so what can a busy adult man do to be sure he’s getting proper nutrition? Here are five easy steps you can take to focus on proper nutrition and hydration:
- Eat a variety of fresh or minimally processed food. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs. Try to eat many different varieties of fruit and vegetable to get a well-rounded diet.
- Load your plate with plants. One bit of food science that has not changed is that plants are great for you. At every meal, try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables. If you find you’re still hungry at the end of your meal, you can eat more veggies.
- Drink water when you’re thirsty. Hydration is another topic of health that changes from year to year and expert to expert. The bottom line is that you should drink water more often than any other beverage, and drink whenever you’re thirsty. If you want to set a goal to drink 30 oz. of water a day or eight glasses, that’s great! But if you find it too stressful to track your water intake, skip it. Your body also gets some water from the foods you eat – foods such as lettuce, watermelon, and cucumber are delicious ways to get more water.
- Skip processed meats. Processed meats like bacon, pepperoni, and ham often contain large amounts of sodium, nitrates, and preservatives, which we should only eat in moderation. This does mean that you can never have a bacon cheeseburger again, but when eating meat, you should try to buy raw and unprocessed meats that you can cook at home, where you can control what goes into the meal.
- Track and/or plan your meals. Planning your meals can help you stay on track with healthier eating and save you money as well. Plan your meals before you make your grocery shopping trip so that you only have to buy what you need. Meal prep delivery services can also help you plan meals ahead of time, and although they cost more per serving, they are very convenient. Tracking your meals through an app such as MyFitnessPal can help you get an idea of where you spend your calories throughout the day, and keep you honest about what you’re putting into your body.
Ultimately, proper nutrition is about making your body feel great. While weight loss is a wonderful goal to work towards, by eating well and staying hydrated, you’re giving your body its best chance at wellness. And a healthy body means you’ll get to spend more time and energy doing the things you love to do.
Men’s Health Week Trivia Contest
Each day of the week we will post an article on a topic of Men’s Health, along with a trivia question that can be answered by reading the article. The rules are as follows:
1. You must LIKE our Facebook page to be entered.
2. Articles and trivia questions will be posted at 9 a.m. You will have until 8 a.m. the following day to answer correctly.
3. You can only answer each question once.
4. Each person with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing for a gift card. If you win you cannot win again.
5. The winner will be announced the following day.
6. We will reach out to the winners directly to send them their prize.
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Tuesday’s trivia question is: True or false – you can get some of your body’s water needs from foods that are high in water content.