A quick Google search for “dude food” pulls up fat-laden favorites like chili dogs, cheese-stuffed crust pizza, fried chicken wings, steak, and anything and everything with bacon. Man-loving meals are generally known to embrace the mantra “grease is good.” However, not all man foods need to clog your arteries or be devoid of health-promoting nutrients. Check out these five dude foods that are actually good for you:
While protein can be found in a variety of foods like dairy, nuts, soy, legumes, peas and whole grains, meat remains the preferred protein source for most men. Turkey cutlets and skinless chicken breasts are certainly top choices for providing lean protein options; however, if it’s a burger you crave even red meat can be healthy if kept lean and eaten in moderation, which for most adults is a 3 to 5 ounce serving size. In addition to high-quality protein, red meat provides iron, vitamin B12, and zinc. The leanest ground beef will be ground round, ground sirloin, ground chuck, and then regular ground beef that is 90 to 95 percent lean. Other key words to look for when choosing beef cuts are “loin” or “round,” such as tenderloin, round tip, top round, top sirloin, bottom round, or top loin. Pork products with “loin” or “leg” in the name are also leaner choices.
If you're a "meat and potatoes type of guy," your spudly habits come with health benefits. Potatoes are rich in potassium, a mineral that helps control high blood pressure. In fact, a baked regular potato has twice as much potassium as a banana. However, the key to your taters being a friend or foe to your diet is how you cook them and what you put on them. Boiling cubed potatoes can reduce their potassium content by 75 percent. Your best bet is to bake them and eat them with the skin on. Rather than loading up your baked potato with butter and sour cream, try topping them with vegetables and a little cheese or nonfat sour cream and chives.
Savory pistachios are a favorite snack choice for men, especially when they come in flavors like Salt & Pepper and Sweet Chili from Wonderful Pistachios. What makes them worth cracking open? Pistachios have three times the protein and fiber compared to regular potato chips – and nearly 90 percent of the fat in pistachios is the healthy unsaturated type, mostly monounsaturated fats. Better yet, you get a whopping 49 nuts per serving, and the shells may help slow you down.
While most men aren’t likely to crave steamed vegetables, the dry heat cooking of roasted vegetables gives them a bit of crispness and intensifies their flavors. It also brings out a bit of natural sweetness that is sure to please. Roasted vegetables are a healthy and satisfying side dish for any protein and an easy way to nutritionally balance a meal. Carrots, cauliflower, beets, asparagus, zucchini, Brussels sprouts – whatever vegetables you’re roasting, it will increase its flavor power and offer loads of nutrients and antioxidants for good health. Simply toss vegetables in olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Adding fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary is also a taste enhancer that’s good for your health.
Americans eat about 1.5 billion pounds of potato chips per year -- that’s about four pounds per person. And while there’s nothing wrong with potato chips once in a while, there are some healthier chip alternatives on the market. Bean and rice chips, apple chips, and quinoa chips are just a few of the new chips popping up on grocery store shelves. Look for products that have no more than 5 grams of fat per serving and offer some fiber or protein. Known for having half the fat and all the flavor of a fried chip, Popchips recently released a Crazy Hot flavor, which is sure to heat up a manly pallet.
Relationship disclosure: Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN works with Wonderful Pistachios to help people make healthy snack choices.
Patricia Bannan is a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications. She is the author of "Eat Right When Time Is Tight: 150 Slim-Down Strategies and No-Cook Food Fixes." Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.