A Man’s Guide to Balanced Nutrition

11 09 2011

By the Editors of Men’s Health
Men’s Health

Fad diets come and go. But eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. “The best diet known to man—a diet that can help you lose weight, build muscle, and live longer—is simple,” says Alan Aragon, M.S., the Men’s Health nutrition advisor. “Eat mostly whole and minimally processed foods, and start cooking at home more often.” But just how much of these foods should you eat? Hit the goals shown here, and you’ll accelerate your path to optimal health.

Nuts

1 to 2 servings per day

What They Do

  • Improve blood cholesterol levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fight cancer

Macadamia nuts: Best combo of monounsaturated fatty acids and zinc

1 serving = ¼ cup nuts or seeds, or 2 Tbsp nut butter.

Eggs

1 to 2 servings per day

What They Do

  • Aid muscle function
  • Build muscle
  • Improve blood pressure

1 serving = 1 egg.

Healthy Fats

1 to 2 servings per day

What They Do

  • Improve blood cholesterol levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fight cancer

Olive oil: Best combo of high monounsaturated fatty acids and good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids

1 serving = 2 Tbsp oil, ½ small avocado, 2 g fish oil, or 1 pat butter

 

Quick Ideas:

Grapeseed oil: Use it for high-heat cooking (such as stir-frying) or as your go-to oil for grilling.

Avocado: Halve an avocado, fill it with canned crabmeat, and scoop to eat.

Butter: Mix softened butter with minced fresh herbs and garlic; use it to top grilled steak.

Seafood

1 to 2 servings per day

What it Does

  • Helps your heart
  • Fights cancer
  • Boosts brain function
  • Prevents eye damage and age-related macular degeneration
  • Aids muscle functioning
  • Builds muscle

Mackerel: Best combo of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and zinc

1 serving = 3 oz

 

Quick Ideas:

Salmon: Grill it until done and flake it into pasta, along with extra-virgin olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and fresh herbs.

Sardines: Buy them canned and eat with hearty bread or with mustard and Triscuits.

Shrimp: Keep shells on, brush with olive oil, and grill until pink. Peel and eat.

Poultry and Pork

1 to 2 servings per day

What They Do

  • Promote satiety
  • Aid muscle functioning
  • Build muscle

Pork tenderloin: Best combo of zinc and iron, low in calories

1 serving = 3 oz

 

Quick Ideas:

Skinless chicken breast: During the last few minutes of grilling, cover the chicken with the sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo.

Pork chops: Grill until done and serve with grilled apples and peaches.

Turkey: Skip the lunch-meat version. Roast a turkey breast, and eat it in sandwiches, wraps, and salads.

Beef and Game Meats

1 to 2 servings per day

What They Do

  • Promote healthy blood cells
  • Promote satiety
  • Aid muscle functioning
  • Build muscle

Grass-fed beef strip steak: Best combo of vitamin B12 and iron, low in calories

1 serving = 3 oz

 

Quick Ideas:

Skirt steak: Best seasonings for beef: rosemary, cumin, and smoked paprika. Season and grill.

Lamb: Marinate kebabs in a mixture of plain yogurt, lemon juice, a little ground cinnamon, chopped fresh parsley, and a few cloves of minced garlic.

Venison: Try adding ground venison to chili for a robust flavour upgrade.

Fruits

2 to 3 servings per day

What They Do

  • Promote satiety
  • Prevent diabetes
  • May prevent cancer
  • Aid weight loss
  • Lower blood pressure

Raspberries: Best combo of fiber and antioxidants, low in calories

1 serving = 1 baseball-size fruit, 2 egg-size fruits, 1 cup fresh fruit, or ¼ cup dried fruit

 

Quick Ideas:

Apple: Chop and add to ½ cup uncooked rolled oats, along with slivered almonds and milk. Cook as usual.

Strawberries: Slice and add to a spinach salad, along with some balsamic vinegar and crumbled goat cheese.

Banana: For breakfast, top whole-wheat bread with peanut butter, raisins, cinnamon, and banana slices.

Whole Grains

2 to 3 servings per day

What They Do

  • Promote satiety
  • Improve blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of coronary heart disease
  • Fight cancer

Oats: Best combo of fibre, folate, and magnesium

1 serving = 1 cup cold cereal, ½ cup hot cereal, 2 bread slices, or ½ cup rice

 

Quick Ideas:

Brown rice: For an Asian rice bowl, layer grilled salmon, scallions, and sauteed shiitakes over brown rice. Drizzle with soy sauce and sriracha.

Popcorn: Season unflavoured popcorn with pepper and Parmesan.

Quinoa: Toss cooked quinoa with roasted peppers, cubed mozzarella cheese, and chopped basil.

Dairy

2 to 3 servings per day

What it Does

  • Promotes satiety
  • Builds muscle
  • Strengthens bones
  • Aids weight loss

1% milk: Best combo of high protein and calcium with low calories

1 serving = 1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt, or 1 oz cheese

 

Quick Ideas:

Blue cheese: Eat it with walnuts and dried apricots as an easy cheese plate.

Sour cream: For an awesome taco topping, flavour sour cream with fresh lime juice and sriracha.

Chocolate milk: Fuel muscle growth: Add it to your protein shake to make it taste better, and drink up!

Starchy Vegetables and Legumes

2 to 3 servings per day

What They Do

  • Promote satiety
  • Aid weight loss
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cardiovascular-disease risk

Navy beans: Best combo of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C

1 serving = 1 cup cooked or 1 baseball-size portion of potatoes or yams

 

Quick Ideas:

Green peas: Toss cooked peas with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and season with sea salt.

Sweet potatoes: Bake whole sweet potatoes until tender; drizzle with maple syrup.

Black beans: For salsa, mix them with cilantro, chopped scallions, minced jalapeno and garlic, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. $PageBgreak$

Green Vegetables and Other Nonstarchy Vegetables

2 to 4 servings per day

What They Do

  • Promote satiety
  • Lower diabetes risk
  • Reduce cardiovascular-disease risk
  • May prevent cancer
  • Aid weight loss
  • Lower blood pressure

Spinach: Best combo of vitamin A, potassium, and folate

1 serving = 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked

 

Quick Ideas:

Arugula: Try it in salads and on sandwiches to add bite.

Bok choy: Steam until tender and then toss with hoisin sauce and sesame oil. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Cabbage: For instant coleslaw, combine thinly sliced cabbage with red onions, carrots, rice-wine vinegar, crushed red-pepper flakes, and a little sugar.

Coffee

0 to 3 servings per day

1 serving = 8 oz

What it Does

  • May reduce risk of Parkinson’s, dementia, and, Alzheimer’s
  • Improves short-term memory

Green Tea

0 to 3 servings per day

1 serving = 8 oz

What it Does

  • May fight cancer
  • Promotes satiety
  • Prevents tooth decay and gum disease

Wine, Beer, Spirits

0 to 2 servings per day

1 serving = 5 oz wine, 12 oz beer, 1.5 oz hard liquor

Red wine: Best combo of antioxidant activity and heart-protective effects

What They Do

  • May prevent diabetes, fight cancer
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Ffight cavities

In fact, some experts would say that abstaining from alcohol is a health risk factor.

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