While all of us could eat better, men fare worse than women. They consume fewer whole grains, drink more alcohol and chomp on more chips. For some men, neither fruit or vegetable graces their lips but once in a blue moon. Men also are less likely than women to take vitamins supplements. It’s no surprise that their diets can be lacking in vitamins and minerals, while often too high in total fat, saturated fat, calories, and sodium.
Despite these daunting statistics, guys really aren't that opposed to the idea of healthy meals. But it can be a tough sell to get him to make the leap from thinking about eating healthfully to actually doing it. The most important thing to remember is that his health is ultimately his responsibility - not yours. Don't set yourself up for disappointment or anger when he ignores your advice, or turns up his nose at your tofu burgers. Eventually he'll come around. The following suggestions will help you speed up the process.
Tricks of the Trade
Set realistic goals. Don't expect him to switch from loving burgers to craving broccoli overnight. Nutrition is rarely high on a guy's agenda, so plan for the process to take months, years, even decades. Every two to three months, set a mini goal. Some examples: Switch from 2% milk to skim, from regular to low-calorie salad dressing, and encourage more fruits and vegetables by placing a bowl of watermelon cubes in front of him while he watches the football game. That one tip alone could add up to big differences in his overall health, since watermelon is a source of vitamins, like vitamins C and A; minerals like potassium; fiber; and heart-healthy compounds, like citrulline that improves blood flow.
Emphasize the positive. Don't tell him he'll die if he keeps eating poorly. Instead, point out that he can improve his health by making better choices. For instance, don't say an 8-ounce T-bone will kill him; instead, fix him steak kebabs with watermelon cubes and onions. He still gets the meat, but in smaller doses and complimented with heart-healthy produce.
Stock healthful foods. Men are more likely to eat nutritious food if it's available. Fill the fridge with easy-to-grab, healthy snacks, such as watermelon chunks, baby carrots, frozen blueberries, and low-fat yogurt. When he prowls the kitchen, he'll surface with a healthy option. Leftovers are a man's best friend, so make sure there's always a little extra from last night's nutritious meal.
Make healthy versions of his favorite foods. Make burgers out of ground turkey breast. Slip a slice of watermelon into his turkey sandwich. Add a layer of chopped spinach to lasagna. Cut down the portions. Some men are set in their eating ways and simply refuse to give up their favorite foods. So, cook them-but make less. Even a six-ounce steak is better than a 12-ounce one.
Pump up the flavor. Healthy food must taste great. That means using savory flavors, such as fresh herbs, garlic, chilis, ginger, lemon, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, horseradish or salsa. Try mixing flavors, like adding watermelon to a spinach salad. Skip the cutesy garnishes and the finely chopped celery and focus on the type of meals most men like best- straightforward, uncomplicated, and satisfying.
Let him splurge now and then. An occasional treat will go a long way in keeping him on a healthy eating style.
Lose the attitude. You can undermine the best intentions if you present a tasty, healthful meal with a 'holier than thou' attitude. Leave the judgments and opinions at the door and come to the table with an open, accepting manner.