Men who follow healthy meal plans and control their overall caloric intake have a lower risk for chronic disease and are less likely to become overweight and obese. Eating a healthy lunch that has lots of vegetables every day helps prevent or improve metabolic abnormalities such as high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high blood cholesterol and visceral obesity, according to a study published in 2014 in “Lipids in Health and Disease.”
Lunch Caloric Needs
The number of calories men should consume for lunch depends on their activity level and on their weight-management goals. Based on recommendations provided by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and results from a study published in 2011 in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association” that suggest eating three meals and two snacks daily helps maintain healthy body weights, men should aim to eat about 500 to 750 calories per meal. Men on reduced-calorie diets containing 1,500 calories daily may want to eat just 350 to 400 calories per meal.
Food Group Requirements
Healthy lunches for men consist of a good balance of nutritious foods from each food group. Such foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy foods, nuts, seeds and plant-based oils. Eating a variety of healthy foods helps ensure men get a good balance of protein, carbs, fat, vitamins and minerals. Moderately active men who eat 2,600 calories daily should aim for 2 cups of fruits, 3.5 cups of veggies, 9 ounces of grains, 6.5 ounces of protein foods, 3 cups of dairy foods and 7.5 teaspoons of oils daily, suggest the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
Sample Healthy Lunches
An example of a healthy lunch containing 498 calories includes 3 ounces of grilled chicken breast, 1 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of steamed broccoli, 1 cup of low-fat milk and 2 teaspoons of olive oil. A 550-calorie lunch option includes a large turkey burger patty, one whole-grain hamburger bun, one slice of reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 2 cups of leafy greens, 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 2 tablespoons of Italian salad dressing.
Sample Weight-Loss Lunches
Overweight or obese men seeking weight loss should eat slightly fewer calories during lunch to achieve weight-loss goals. A healthy reduced-calorie lunch containing 379 calories includes 2 ounces of grilled chicken breast, 3/4 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of cooked broccoli, 1 cup of low-fat milk and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Or you could go for this 385-calorie lunch, which includes a medium-sized turkey burger on a whole-wheat hamburger bun, one slice of reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 1 cup of leafy greens, 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of Italian salad dressing.
- Lipids in Health and Disease: Short-Term Intake of a Japanese-Style Healthy Lunch Menu Contributes to Prevention and/or Improvement in Metabolic Syndrome Among Middle-Aged Men: A Non-Randomized Controlled Trial
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Eating Frequency Is Higher in Weight Loss Maintainers and Normal-Weight Individuals Than in Overweight Individuals
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Tracker