Men's Health (USA)
A lot of HEALTHY FOOD tends to BE EXPENSIVE. Do you have any tips for eating healthy and BUILDING MUSCLE on a budget?
LET ME tell you a little bit about what works for me, Mike. (And that’s an important qualifier: At Men’s Health, we believe there are lots of different ways to eat well and lots of different ways to define health and healthiness, and my food priorities—which mostly come down to avoiding additives and preservatives and what is technically known as “crap”—may not jibe with someone else’s emphasis on counting macros and/or controlling portion size. To each his own, etc.)
So, about me: I’ve done paleo and Atkins and Whole30 and all the rest of the latter-day wonder diets, and these days I’m on a lean-meat, leafy-greens, no-white-flour-or-added-sugars routine. Lots of protein, lots of fiber, lots of water. And the thing I like about it is that it’s not complicated and it’s not expensive—I buy everything at my local supermarket (no Whole
Foods or Blue Apron for me), and I try to keep the prep as simple as possible. (Olive oil and a little bit of salt, pepper, and everything-bagel seasoning go a long way.) I try to buy organic fruits and veggies, fresh or frozen, but it’s not a huge deal. I try to buy grass-fed or pasture-raised meat and eggs, but I’ll eat the factory stuff. I try to buy steel-cut oats and sprouted-grain bread, but it’s hard to beat a white-bread bun for a burger. The point is: As much as food can sometimes feel political—a statement of you-are-what-you-eat values—it’s important we don’t load too-too much meaning into it. We’ve all got a lot on our (metaphorical) plates, we’ve all gotta eat, and everything goes down better without a side of guilt.
Which is one of the reasons that I love
“The Potato Is Back!” (page 60), a celebration of the ubiquitous, inexpensive six-letter superfood that for way too long has been dissed and dismissed by the healthy-eating crowd. Like a lot of people, I’d come to believe in the inherent nutritional superiority of the sweet potato—which senior editor Paul Kita reminded me is not even technically a potato, because words apparently no longer matter— but the everyday potato has a lot going for it. As Paul writes in his introduction to the package, “One medium-sized baked potato delivers six grams of protein and four grams of fiber, as well as high amounts of bone-assisting calcium, heart-helping potassium, and immunity-supporting vitamin C—all for just 265 calories. Potatoes are affordable and available everywhere, last for months if stored properly, and—as anyone who has ever enjoyed a scoop of well-whipped mashed potatoes knows—are incredibly delicious and satisfying.” Along with the humble chicken breast and a just-ripe banana, they are a paragon of nutritional versatility and efficiency, and it’s next to impossible to spend a lot of money on them. You could wish for a whole lot worse in a healthy meal plan.
Richard Dorment, Editor-in-Chief