“Movember” is a men’s health campaign that makes November a time to think about ways to address men’s health issues, including prostate cancer and testicular cancer, as well as the specific challenges men face in areas like mental health.

One of the most critical aspects of men’s health is eating a healthy diet. Numerous studies show links between poor eating habits and a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions, including certain types of cancer.

Your diet also plays a significant role in your mental health. Multiple studies confirm that men who eat a high-calorie diet each day (over 2,400 calories) have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those who eat a lower-calorie diet. One meta-analysis found that men have a lower risk of depression when they eat a healthy diet mainly consisting of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Low-fat dairy

Other benefits of eating a healthier diet include:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Better mood
  • Less fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Improved sleep
  • Lower chance of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease
  • Improved digestion and gut health
  • Better memory and lower chance of cognitive decline or dementia

Simple Steps Toward a Diet for Better Men’s Health

If you asked most men, they would probably tell you that they know they should be eating healthier. But it’s not an easy thing to do. If you’re not sure where to begin, try these simple steps to get started.

1: Plan your meals.

Meal planning is one of the best ways to stick to a healthy diet. When you have some free time, create a menu with all your meals for the coming week (or longer). Head to the store and buy all the ingredients you’ll need to make those meals, so you’re ready for healthy meal prep.

2: Do as much prep as possible.

After a long day at work, sometimes cooking a healthy meal feels like too much. Prep as much as you can the night before so you can put everything together quickly. For example, after work, chop up veggies for easy salads and stir-fries, or throw them into a crockpot with chicken breasts before bed and it’s ready in the morning. 

3: Replace one or two restaurant meals each week.

If you go out to eat a lot — fast food for lunch, takeout for dinner, eating out on the weekends — the calories and fat you consume can add up. You don’t have to give up restaurant meals completely, but you can start small by replacing a few with a home-packed or home-cooked meal. 

4: Swap soda or alcoholic drinks for water.

Soda and alcoholic drinks can also add a lot of calories to your day. Set a goal to swap one soda or one alcoholic drink per day with water instead. Or limit your soda and alcohol drinking to just the weekends.

5: Go meatless on Mondays.

Eating a plant-based diet can reduce your risk of chronic disease, including cancer, and it’s good for the planet too. But you don’t have to give up meat entirely. Pick one day a week that you won’t eat any meat (any day of the week is fine, but there’s a whole movement you can follow if you want to participate in Meatless Mondays). Replace that meat with fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Find more information on men’s health topics like depression, prostate cancer, preventive screenings, and healthy eating from EHE Health.