Nutrition for Men Over 40: What’s In Your Diet?

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

nutrition for men over 40

Exceptional nutrition for men over 40 is a must if you want to look and feel your best — at any age.

Knowing what to eat, what to avoid, and how to keep disease risk factors low is the best way to boost your life expectancy and quality of living.

There are several changes that can occur in men over 40 that affect what you should eat, and how often to see your doctor for checkups.

Examples of health risks that many men face at some point during their lifetime include:

  • A slow metabolism
  • Low testosterone
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Reduced lean mass
  • Increases in body fat
  • Lower bone density
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Weight gain
  • Prostate cancer
  • High blood sugar
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to combat chronic diseases, avoid nutritional deficiencies, and maximize your quality of life!

Use the tips below to maximize nutrition for men over 40 and lead by example for your loved ones!

Is that “health food” really healthy? Here's how to read and understand nutrition facts labels.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Changes that Happen Over 40 in Men

There are a few changes to watch out for in men over 40, such as:

Metabolism Changes

Men's metabolisms often slow down with aging for several reasons.

One is because aging is linked with less lean mass, and muscle burns more calories than body fat.

Another reason has to do with hormone changes, including lower testosterone levels, that commonly occur with aging in men.

Thyroid problems can contribute to a slower metabolism too, though women are more likely than men to experience thyroid imbalances.

Lower Testosterone

Aging is a common cause of low testosterone in men over 40.

This phenomenon increases your risk of fatigue, weight gain, thinning hair, erectile dysfunction, and other sexual problems.

Fortunately, hormone therapy, healthy lifestyle changes, and testosterone-boosting supplements help normalize your levels.

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Nutritional Requirement Changes

Men over 40 have different nutritional requirements than younger men.

The main difference is the number of calories needed to maintain a healthy weight, as older men generally need fewer calories than their younger counterparts.

Men over age 70 need slightly more vitamin D and calcium than younger men.

Protein is another key nutrient for men over 40.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Nutrition for Men Over 40: What to Eat

Men over 40 can follow simple tips to ensure they meet daily nutritional goals. Examples include:

Protein-Rich Foods

Protein foods help you maintain muscle and minimize the effects of age-related muscle decline.

Protein foods boost satiety and your metabolism.

Dairy foods and their plant-based equivalents are rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin D, which maximize teeth and bone health.

Examples of muscle-building, fat-burning protein foods to include in a healthy diet for men over 40 include:

  • Lean meat: lean organic beef, pork, venison, and buffalo
  • Poultry: chicken, turkey, and duck
  • Fish: salmon, canned light tuna, catfish, haddock, herring, perch, tilapia, pollock, or other low-mercury fish
  • Seafood: shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, crawfish, and other types of seafood
  • Eggs: whole eggs, egg whites, and egg substitutes
  • Dairy foods: milk, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, plain kefir, and reduced-fat cheese
  • Dairy equivalents: protein-enriched plant milk
  • Protein shakes: low-sugar ready-to-drink protein shakes or homemade protein shakes [made with protein powder, plant milk or water, fruit or nut butter (optional), and ice]
  • Plant-based meat substitutes: veggie burgers, meatless chicken strips, meatless sausage, and seitan
  • Legumes: green peas, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, lima beans, soybeans, lentils, and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds
  • Nut and seed butter: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, and sunflower butter

Choose a variety of protein-rich foods during meals and snacks.

Consume three servings of dairy foods, calcium-rich (plant-based) equivalents, or low-sugar protein shakes daily.

Nuts, seeds, and nut butters are good sources of protein AND heart-healthy fats.

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Fiber-Rich Foods

Plant-based foods are loaded with fiber, which can reduce chronic disease risk factors in men over 40.

Fiber can:

  • Aid in healthy weight management
  • Enhance weight loss
  • Reduce high cholesterol
  • Lower heart disease, obesity, and diabetes risks
  • Reduce constipation
  • Maximize gut health

Examples of fiber-rich plant foods include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables: leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, bell peppers, green beans, zucchini, asparagus, mushroom, onions, artichokes, and more
  • Starchy vegetables: corn, sweet potatoes, green peas, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, lima beans, soybeans, lentils, and other legumes
  • Fresh fruits: berries, melon, bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi fruit, and more
  • Whole grains: brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, bulgur, and other whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds

Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, aim to eat about 2-3 servings of fruit and 3-4 servings of vegetables daily, as well as a variety of other fiber-rich foods.

Heart-Healthy Fats

As the name implies, heart-healthy fats offer many benefits for your heart and overall health.

Omega-3 fats can maximize brain health, reduce your risk of dementia, boost satiety, make your hair, skin, and nails healthy, and help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K).

Examples of nutritious fats to add to menus for optimal nutrition for men over 40 include:

  • Walnut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Fresh or dried coconut
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, or other oily fish)
  • Fish oil supplements
  • Vegan omega-3 supplements

Algae oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and it's often present in vegan omega-3 supplements.

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Nutrient-Dense Drinks

Nutrient-dense beverages are free from added sugar, artificial colors and flavors, artificial sugars, and other additives.

Examples of drinks to consider for better nutrition for men over 40 include:

  • Water
  • Water mixed with 100% fruit juice
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Milk
  • Plant milk
  • Low-sugar protein shakes
  • Plain kefir
  • Tea
  • Coffee

Drink plenty of water and a variety of nutritious drinks throughout the day.

Men often require about 16 cups of fluid daily to keep energy levels high and prevent dehydration.

Foods and Drinks to AVOID

Another way to achieve exceptional nutrition for men over 40 is to limit or avoid the following foods and drinks when possible:

  • Fried foods: fried meats, fried chicken, fried seafood, chicken fried steak, French fries, fried cheese curds, mozzarella sticks, and other fried foods
  • Processed meats: hot dogs, regular bacon, ham, salami, deli meats, sausage, and other highly processed meats
  • Refined grains: white bread, white rice, white hamburger or hot dog buns, baked goods, sugary cereals, and other refined grains
  • Sweets: cookies, ice cream, candy bars, candies, cakes, and other sweet treats
  • Unhealthy drinks: soda, diet soda, sugar-sweetened sports drinks, sugar-sweetened juice drinks, lemonade, sweet tea, and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Some condiments: ketchup, barbecue sauce, sugar-sweetened salad dressings, other sugar-sweetened condiments, sweet pickles, gravy, and other white sauces
  • Alcoholic drinks

If you drink alcohol, limit it as much as you can.

That means having two drinks or less for men. Limit drinking occasions to once (or less) per week if you can or avoid alcohol entirely.

When drinking alcohol, choose lower-calorie alcoholic options. Examples include light beer, red wine, hard alcohol mixed with water or club soda, or a Bloody Mary.

Learn the answers to some of the most asked questions about drinking alcohol!


Tracking Health Indicators

To meet your body's nutritional needs and maximize health outcomes at age 40 and beyond, it's beneficial to track health parameters. Examples include:

Hormone Levels

Using a simple blood test, your doctor can monitor testosterone and other hormones to ensure they stay within a normal, healthy range.

If you have low testosterone, patches, gels, injections, pills, or subdermal pellets can boost your levels and improve the way you look and feel!

Blood Cholesterol

Blood tests with your doctor help determine if your cholesterol levels are too high, as elevated cholesterol puts you at risk of a heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.

Your provider lets you know how often to complete blood tests for cholesterol.

If your cholesterol remains high, medications and lifestyle changes can bring it back into a healthy range.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is also a heart disease risk factor, which is why routine blood pressure screening is important.

You can monitor blood pressure at your doctor's office or at home.

If you have high blood pressure, lifestyle changes and medications can lower it.

Prostate Health

Nearly 13% of men get diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime.

That's why prostate cancer screening with your doctor is important.

They can let you know when and how often to get screened for prostate cancer.

Common diagnostic tests for prostate cancer include blood tests, prostate exams, prostate biopsies, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, and other imaging procedures.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Waist Circumference

Waist circumference is a good indicator of your overall health and chronic disease risk factors.

To measure your waist circumference, place a tape measure around the largest part of your midsection.

Disease risks increase if your waist is greater than 40 inches around.

Vitamin and Mineral Levels

Routine blood tests can track your nutritional status, or whether or not you're deficient in vitamins, minerals, or other essential nutrients.

If you experience fatigue or other symptoms of a deficiency, your provider may suggest a blood test.

Bone Density

If you're at risk of osteoporosis, bone density scans are important.

Your risk of low bone density increases with age, especially if your testosterone levels are low after 40.

If you have low bone density, your doctor may recommend diet or exercise changes, dietary supplements, or medications.

Avoid smoking and excessive drinking to maximize bone health.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a fairly good indicator of body fatness and disease risk factors based on your body weight and height.

BMI categories include underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity:

  • Underweight = less than 18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = 30 or greater

Use a BMI calculator or the following formula to determine your BMI:

  • Multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 703.
  • Divide that number by your height in inches.
  • Divide by your height (in inches) once again.

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Ways to Enhance Nutrition for Men Over 40

Ways you can maximize nutrition for men over 40 and look and feel your best include:

Portion Your Plate

Portion your plate properly to meet your body's nutritional needs, build or maintain muscle, and manage a healthy weight.

  • Fill half of your plate with non-starchy veggies.
  • Fill one-fourth of the plate with organic lean meat, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood, meat substitutes, or other protein foods.
  • Fill the remaining one-fourth of your plate with whole grains or starchy vegetables like corn, sweet potatoes, peas, beans, or other legumes.

Consume three servings of dairy foods (or calcium-rich equivalents) daily, eat 2-3 servings of fruit, and add healthy fats to each meal.

Take Dietary Supplements for Men Over 40

Consider taking dietary supplements for men over 40 to avoid nutrient deficiencies, keep energy and testosterone levels high, maintain muscle mass, and lower your risk of illness and disease.

Supplements for men to consider (with your doctor's permission) include:

Mix and match supplements based on your health, disease risk factors, lifestyle, and preferences.

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Stay Active

Staying active daily is just as important as proper nutrition for men over 40 to maximize your health, reduce disease risk factors, and keep your bones healthy.

Exercise at least 30 minutes per day and participate in active hobbies or chores at least 45 minutes every day.

Keep your body moving around vs. sitting down whenever possible.

Sleep Well

Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy, as sleep is very important for your overall health and wellness.

Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly.

Go to bed at the same time each night and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and screen time right before bed.

Read a book or try guided sleep meditation before you go to sleep.

Try this one simple trick to fall asleep faster at night!


Don't Smoke

In addition to increasing your risk of lung diseases and cancer, smoking can diminish nutrient absorption and bone density.

If quitting smoking is a challenge, consider a smoking cessation program or ask your doctor about smoking cessation medications and other treatments that can help you quit.

Avoid or Limit Alcohol

Alcohol isn't the best choice if you want to maintain exceptional health.

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

That means having two drinks or less and limiting drinking occasions to once weekly when possible.

Avoid diet soda, soda, lemonade, and other sugary drinks, as these alcohol mixers contain empty calories and increase your risk of weight gain.

Join a Healthy Living Program for Men

Healthy living programs can enhance nutrition for men over 40 and your quality of life.

Try FF30X or simply start with a free meal plan and workout!

The Fit Father Project has helped hundreds of thousands of busy dads meet daily nutritional needs, get and stay fit, and maintain healthy weights for life!

Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on nutrition for men over 40.

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

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