What Makes a Manly Meal: Healthy Super Nutrition for Healthy Super Men

What Makes a Manly Meal: Healthy Super Nutrition for Healthy Super Men

What Makes a Manly Meal: Healthy Super Nutrition for Healthy Super Men

While there are some gender differences in metabolism, the differences are small. So when it comes to weight loss, the issue is mostly about calories in and calories out for men and women alike.

Burn Baby Burn

Knowing how many calories you need is mostly based on body size and exercise level leaving site icon  for both men and women. For example, moderately active men or women who weigh 150 pounds need about 2400 calories a day to maintain their weight.

Male and female bodies are the same in that they only lose weight if they burn more calories than they eat. With positive lifestyle changes, both men and women can achieve lasting weight loss.

The Rest of the Nutritional Story

Still, it takes more than simply adjusting calorie intake to get into healthy shape. In fact, there are some big differences between men leaving site icon  and women when it comes to the foods they need to eat.

Fill up with fiber. Most Americans fall behind on their daily fiber intake. Women need 21 to 25 grams per day, but usually eat only 13 grams. Men average 17 grams per day, but they should aim for 30 to 38 grams.

How can men bulk up on their fiber intake?

  • Eat two cups of fruit and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables per day. Beans, sweet potatoes and berries are close to the top of the list of high-fiber choices.
  • Skip refined grains and eat whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread instead.
  • Oatmeal may not seem very exciting, but it’s a tried-and-true health food that’s super versatile. The fiber in oats not only helps you feel full longer, it can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk for heart disease. Are you a grill master? Try adding oatmeal to your hamburger or turkey burger mix.

Milk it. Men need less calcium leaving site icon  than women. For men, excess calcium may even lead to a higher risk for prostate cancer. That doesn’t mean men should abandon dairy, though. It just means men should eat and drink dairy in moderation. About 800 mg of calcium a day is the sweet spot for men ages 19 to 70. Eight ounces of low-fat fruit yogurt contains around 345 mg of calcium, while one cup of skim milk has about 306 mg of calcium.

The pros of protein. Proteins are a good source of amino acids, which help the body to rebuild the specific proteins it needs. Getting a daily supply of protein is key, because the body doesn’t store amino acids.

Protein should make up at least 15% of men’s daily calories. On average, that’s about 60 grams of protein a day. That’s equal to about 8 ounces of chicken or 6 ounces of canned tuna. One egg has 6.29 grams of grams of protein, depending on the size of the yolk. Endurance athletes, people doing strength training and people with special medical conditions may need more protein each day.

Iron man. Despite the fact that so many men love iron-rich meat, men actually need less iron than women. Men should aim for 8 mg of iron a day, while women need 18 mg a day. Men should avoid excess iron.

A 3-ounce serving of beef has between 10-24% of the recommended daily allowance of iron, depending on the cut and preparation. Proteins like poultry, fish and red meats contain ‘heme’ ironleaving site icon This type of iron is more easily absorbed by the body than other types.

Plant-based iron sources and egg yolks contain non-heme iron. This type of iron is not absorbed as efficiently as heme iron. But you can boost your body’s ability to absorb iron from the non-heme foods by eating them with foods that are high in vitamin C, like strawberries, melons, mangos and citrus.

Are you getting your nutrients in? Tell us how in the comments!

Sources: Physical Activity for Healthy Weight, leaving site icon  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022; How Much Calcium Do You Really Need?, leaving site icon  Harvard Health, 2022; Iron, leaving site icon  Harvard School of Public Health; Healthy Eating for Menleaving site icon  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2022.

Originally published 6/4/2015; Revised 2019, 2022

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