Too many men aren’t good at looking after their health. A survey from MDVIP/Ipsos found that 40% of men go to the doctor only once their symptoms are urgent, as opposed to routine checkups. Meanwhile, about 30% of men admit to avoiding doctors out of fear of finding out something is wrong. It is hard to pinpoint the exact reasons that men exhibit different health-seeking behaviors from women, and the factors most likely differ individually.
It’s important to note that ignoring possible symptoms and health conditions won’t make them go away. For men who may not be visiting doctors as regularly as they should, it’s important to keep healthy by maintaining an active lifestyle to make sure there aren’t any hidden problems you should be worried about. Working out and exercising is a good start, but intentionally eating healthy and making smarter food decisions can go a long way in keeping these nerve-wracking doctor visits away. Today we’ll go over some healthy eating hacks for men that don’t rely on restrictive dieting and still ensure flavorful meals:
Increase vegetable intake
It’s no secret that vegetables are healthy and good for you. They offer essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while providing fiber for good digestion and gut health. However, this doesn’t mean just packing your meals with all the greens you can find. This feature on the best vegetables for men from The Manual lists vegetables that don’t just bring health benefits, but also improve the color and flavoring of your dishes, making every meal an appetizing one. Garlic, for example, was found to reduce risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease, on top of being low calorie and an effective flavor boost for any dish. Pumpkins, for more color in your meals, are good for your skin and are a good source of healthy fats, zinc, magnesium, and fiber. They’re also super flexible as they can be juiced, cooked in soup, or roasted.
Substitute ingredients for healthier ones
Cooking can be a hurdle, especially if you’re not used to doing it or aren’t familiar with a lot of recipes. That doesn’t mean you can’t transform your existing meals into healthier ones, though. This is why swapping out certain ingredients for healthier equivalents is a core principle of WeightWatchers’ meal plans for men. With their “everything still on the menu” concept, these personalized weight loss menu recommendations switch out high-fat ground chuck burger blends for a more flavorful, extra-lean beef mixed with umami-enhancing cremini mushrooms as a start. Focusing on replacing ingredients with healthier food helps make the lifestyle change an easier one. Instead of overturning familiar dishes with completely new ones, you can look at the many ways to modify them to include healthier and more nutritious ingredients instead. That way, you won’t have to completely bid those burgers and potato chips farewell — just say hello to slightly new versions of them, like these mixed Japanese vegetable chips.
Switch to rice as your main carbohydrate
For the amateur chefs out there, you might want to pivot to cooking more rice. A Men’s Health article titled ‘Rice is a Carb You Should Stop Avoiding’ highlights how despite the bad rap, rice is actually very beneficial for you. There are many different types of rice, with brown and black rice seen as the most nutritious. Annelie Vogt von Heselholt, R.D., founder of DietitianDoc explains that “[rice] can help the digestion of food, improve cholesterol levels, and help you feel full longer, which is important for heart health, weight and diabetes management, and cancer prevention.” Apart from being easy to cook — you can even opt for electric rice cookers that do all the work for you — these are also easy to incorporate with food that you are already familiar with. It is also ideal for weekly food prepping.
Ultimately, these cooking hacks aren’t meant to overthrow the menu items you love to eat but to encourage smarter grocery and ingredient choices that are not only healthier but potentially more flavorful too.