3 Nutrition Tips For a Healthier Hubby
June 22, 2017
Food & Drinks
Finding a healthy lifestyle that works for both you and the guy in your life can be a challenge for some. Many men hear "nutrition" and envision a strict diet of raw vegetables and water—definitely not recommended by this dietitian!

With a balanced approach to nutrition, including mindful indulgences, you can help your guy be the healthiest version of himself.
Keep the Carbs, but Make it Complex
Many diet trends focus on low carb, high protein regimens. While this might sound enticing for meat lovers, these diets are rarely sustainable and often forgo fiber, a nutrient most Americans lack. Fiber's role in a healthy diet includes staying fuller for longer, promoting a healthy GI system, and helping transport fat and cholesterol out of the body. Sounds pretty good, right?
Men should aim for around 38 grams of fiber each day. To include more fiber-rich foods into the daily diet look to whole grain foods. For many guys, this might be swapping the white burger bun for a 100% whole grain bun or 100% whole grain English muffin, or skipping the french fries and enjoying a baked potato (skin included) for added fiber and less fat. Luckily, many restaurant flavors can easily be recreated into healthy options at home. Think: whole grain pasta, whole grain or sprouted grain pizza crust, whole corn or whole grain tortillas, or using brown rice for Asian dishes or taco bowls.

Make it Meatless (Sometimes)
Protein is an important nutrient, but most people are consuming more than enough. Meat and animal sources of protein do provide some important nutrients, but overeating red meat can mean too much saturated fat and potential cardiovascular risks. Instead, try to cut back on red meat portions throughout the week and give a few plant-based proteins a chance. Options like beans, nuts, or seeds are rich sources of protein and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Try using black beans for a plant-based burger, or sautee them with onions and peppers in place of ground meat in tacos or fajitas. Nuts are an easy, on-the-go snack filled with fiber and protein. Just stick with around ¼ cup per serving to keep calories in check.
While a 100% plant-based routine may not be realistic, including other animal sources of protein will also help support a healthy diet. Try to choose fish 2-3 times per week to incorporate anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and lean sources of protein. Or, swap out red meats for leaner chicken sausage or turkey meatballs.

Avoid the "All or Nothing" Approach
The difference between building lifelong healthy habits versus fad diets often lies with sustainability. Hyper restricted diets usually lead to eventual burnout, frustration, and overeating. Instead of the "all or nothing" approach, choose balanced meals most of the time, but include 2-3 "treats" each week, too. For most meals, stick to a formula of at least ½ the plate as non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of the plate a lean protein and the other ¼ of the plate a whole grain. Then when you or your guy truly want to enjoy something like ice cream, truffle fries, or pancakes, make them extra special by going out for these foods. Keeping the home as a "health haven" will not only build healthy habits but also make those special treats something to really savor.

Many men find these treats are best saved for enjoying a steakhouse favorite, grabbing pizza with coworkers, or trying a new burger joint. Whatever the case, trying to incorporate vegetables as starters during these meals will not only increase nutrients but also helps fill up with fiber and less calories before the main meal arrives. The key is to mindfully enjoy these indulgences, but stick to healthy foods throughout the majority of the week.

 

Style Me Pretty Contributor - Amanda Baker Lemein, MS, RD, LDN, is a Registered Dietitian and freelance writer from Chicago. She works in private practice, helping both pediatric and adult clients find healthy lifestyles that work for a variety of nutrition needs.