We all want to eat healthier, but sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Nutritional guidelines seem to change on a weekly basis, and fad diets seem to come in and out of fashion more often than you change your socks. Not only that, but generalized guidelines often don’t take into account the fact that the nutritional needs of guys are different than the nutritional needs of girls. Men, in general, need more Calories and more protein than women do, but they need less iron and less calcium. If you’re looking to achieve a healthy, balanced diet as a guy, here are 10 superfoods you should think of packing in your work bag for lunches this week.
Did you know that avocado is actually a fruit? It can also be delicious in more than guacamole. Avocado has tons of healthy fats in it, including Omega-3s, which are normally only found in fish. In fact, avocados offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving. Just keep in mind that a serving of avocado is small: only 1/3 of an avocado.
So how do you serve it? Smear some on toast in the morning instead of peanut butter, or put it on your sandwiches in lieu of butter. It also tastes amazing on a burger!
Keep in mind that when we recommend oatmeal, we’re not talking about the sugar-laden instant oatmeal packets that you find in grocery stores. Instead, we’re discussing whole grain oats. Oatmeal is packed with fiber, which can help keep your digestive system regular. It has also been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Since heart attacks strike men younger and more frequently than women, anything you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as a guy is worth the effort.
Overnight oats are a popular way to eat oatmeal, and with good reason: they’re convenient to make at night, so it’s easier to get out the door in the morning, and they taste delicious.
Surprised that tomatoes made the list of superfoods? When paired against other fruits and vegetables for general health, tomatoes rarely win out, but they have one important component that makes them a superfood for guys specifically: Lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is thought to help fight off prostate cancer.
Lycopene is most readily absorbed when tomatoes are cooked rather than eaten raw, so skip the salads with this one and instead enjoy tomato-based sauces a couple of times a week.
Popeye wasn’t wrong when he decided to eat a can of spinach before doing anything strenuous. Spinach is an important superfood, packed with fiber, protein, and vitamins. The extra protein in spinach is especially great for men, who, in general, need a little more protein in their diets than women.
Another food that’s better for you when cooked than when raw, spinach can easily be added to almost any dish you make. It cooks quickly and is great in most pasta dishes.
Ignore advice that says to avoid all carbs: Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They’re packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and have been shown to help protect against a variety of diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease, liver disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
Try sweet potatoes loaded with vegetables for an easy, healthy lunch, or mix them into chili for a hearty, nutritious dinner.
Blueberries are rife with antioxidants, helping prevent disease and keeping your body feeling good. They have also been shown to help boost energy levels. Wild blueberries are better for you than cultivated blueberries, so if you can get these from Farmer’s Markets in season, you’ll be doing your body an even better service.
Blueberries are great in overnight oats. They can also be eaten in milk with a little bit of sugar for a healthy evening snack.
Grandma wasn’t wrong when she told you that carrots helped your eyesight. They are loaded with Vitamin A, which is great for your eyes. Carrots can also help reduce inflammation and treat conditions like arthritis, which has been shown to hit men younger than it hits women.
Try packing carrots with some hummus for a quick, protein-packed snack that you can eat at your desk. You can also cut carrots up and put them in your chili.
If you thought that alcohol wouldn’t make the list of good foods to consume, think again. Red wine, when limited to 1-2 glasses per day, has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and prevent blood clots. However, keep in mind that this isn’t clearance to down bottles of red wine. It’s important to drink in moderation, or to avoid alcohol altogether if there’s a history of substance abuse in your family.
Instead, consider cooking with red wine, which can give you the same heart-healthy resveratrol found in red wine without the risk of addiction.
An apple a day hasn’t been proven to keep the doctor away completely, but it has been shown to reduce inflammation levels significant. It can also help protect against prostate cancer and lung cancer, both of which can have deadly consequences.
Not a fan of eating apples by themselves? You can cut them up and eat them with peanut butter, which can also give you a nice burst of protein, or you can cook them in cinnamon and serve them on pork chops.
Sweet and pungent, pomegranates aren’t just a delicious snack: they’re also amazing for your health. Packed with antioxidants that are shown to help prevent prostate cancer, they’re especially healthy for guys to eat.
While pomegranates make a delicious snack on their own, you can also toss pomegranate seeds with roasted root vegetables and maple syrup for a delicious harvest side dish.
Eating healthy as a guy doesn’t have to be a mystery. The trick is to skip the “tricks” and instead stick with lots of healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins. As a guy, packing on the calcium isn’t as important as it is for women, which means that you can skip the fats in milk and yogurt and eat more nuts and avocados instead. Yum!