Times are changing and many of us are more aware than ever about the nutritional value of the food we eat. But let’s face it; men still tend to drag behind the fairer sex when it comes to keeping tabs on their consumption – and in cooking up a healthy meal at home.
According to recent research by the University of Michigan (quoted in The Telegraph, May 2012), married men tend to acquiesce in making healthy changes to their diet at home – but only to avoid an argument. But this can mask a tendency to get their junk food fix outside the home, where their appetites go unregulated. Key to the process, researchers noted, was for husband and wife to discuss the changes together.
In fact, the study reinforced the idea that having women on the scene tends to have a positive effect on the health of men in general. But if you are a junk-happy bachelor, there are things you can do so you enjoy your food while you still eat healthily. Don’t forget that large amounts of fat, sugar and so on can have a dangerous effect on your health, leading to all sorts of problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems etc. While you’re thinking about your long term health you may also want to think about taking out life insurance.
The old switcheroo…
You might feel pretty good about your lifestyle – you put the time in at the gym, and have your wardrobe pretty well worked out. But chances are you don’t necessarily enjoy time spent in the kitchen, possibly with some negative hidden effects. Try these healthy takes on your favourite foods to eat better, at the same time continuing to relish your repast.
• The fry-up: this is the big one. Many of us love a fry-up in the morning, and eating one occasionally isn’t going to do you too much harm. But eating bacon, sausages and all the rest several times a week is quickly going to wreak havoc with both your waistline and your arteries. To reduce the fat, try switching bacon for turkey rashers, and substituting pork sausages for vegetarian or Quorn versions. If you can’t stomach giving up the pork, then simply grilling rather than frying the sausage and bacon will make a difference (just look in the grill pan for evidence of this), while wholemeal toast is better than white.
• You may think that scrambled egg on toast is a healthy variant on a cooked breakfast, but if you cook it with butter and oil (or even cream), then it is rather more calorific than you may think. Instead, try a simple poached egg – cooked in water, this picks up none of those extra calories in the cooking.
• Bagels are sometimes presented as a healthy option. While they aren’t too bad in some ways, they are around twice a calorific as a good old fashioned English muffin. And that’s before you slather them with peanut butter or jam.
• Sandwiches may be convenience personified, but their downfall– especially if you are trying to be careful with the filling – is often the calorific content of the bread itself. Instead of bread, try a wholemeal pitta , which is equally easy to fill and ideal for one-handed eating, or even put a lean chicken filling straight into lettuce leaves, using these as the ‘wrap’.
• In many ways a packet of crisps is perfect lunch food: tasty, cheap and convenient. But crisps are packed with fat, and – when consumed over a number of years – are potentially one of the worst foods for weight gain. An equally convenient option, but one which full of ‘good’ (i.e. unsaturated) fats is unsalted nuts. Nuts will also keep you feeling fuller for longer, so will reduce the urge to snack on other, less healthy, foods.
• Chips can become a default option for providing the bulk of an evening meal, but the truth is they are not great for us – even if you grill or bake rather than fry. Try swapping in other vegetables for the stodgy potato. Perfect switches include making parsnip fries (try coating them in almond butter, or dipping them in a low-fat sauce), or roasting chickpeas to offer a pleasingly crunchy substitute.
• Enjoy a burger for dinner? Get creative with mushroom to provide an alternative to both. Try replacing the beef with veggie burger patties from chopped mushroom and onion –like in this recipe, or use two cups of huge Portobello mushrooms to provide the ‘bun’ - cutting out all that heavy dough - with a vegetarian burger in between.
Issued by Sainsbury’s Bank
All information correct at time of publication, but may be subject to change. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any part of the Sainsbury’s Group of companies.