Foodstuff

Last updated 08:21 27/11/2012

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Moustaches have been flavour of the month. But the razors are out and many mos are set to get the chop this week.

However, men's health issues need to remain in our faces. Generally, men are less likely to visit the doctor than women, meaning early warning signs for serious conditions such as prostate cancer can be missed.

The prostate is a small gland unique to males found near the bladder and symptoms are often related to changes in toilet habits. When something is out of the ordinary, men need to be encouraged to contact a health professional.

Healthy eating can play a role in reducing prostate cancer risk, since some evidence suggests diets high in animal fat increase the risk of prostate cancer. This can be a shock for the typical Kiwi bloke who thrives on plenty of meat to stay "manly".

A good place to start is looking at the quality of meat. Trim the fat before cooking or, better still, buy lean cuts to save time and money. (Usually products are priced by weight, fat included).

Ideally, reduce portions to about 100-120g per serve, which is roughly the size and width of your palm (fingers not included). If this is much smaller than what you are used to, do not worry. Meat is rich in protein, which helps us feel full, and is actually our body's least preferred fuel source. Adults need only one or two servings a day. Bake, grill or use a non-stick pan so extra fat or oil is not needed. Read food labels for processed products like sausages or pies. You might be surprised at how little meat you are paying for and how high the fat content is.

As a farming nation, red meat has traditionally been the focus for our main meals. Shifting the limelight from land to the water by serving fish twice a week reduces animal fat intakes, without compromising quality protein. Baked terakihi or salmon fillets can be just as juicy and delicious as a steak; while tinned tuna is a quick, easy and affordable choice.

If you dare, go totally meat-free by making beans, lentils or legumes the focus of your dinner dish. These are the protein powerhouses of the plant world, as well as being low-fat and cheap. How about a butter chickpea curry, kidney bean nachos or four-bean burger patties?

FOUR-BEAN BURGER PATTIES

2 cans (425g) four-bean mix, drained and rinsed

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 gloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

Olive oil spray

Mash beans with a fork or roughly chop in a food processor. Mix with onion, garlic, parsley and cup breadcrumbs. Combine well then shape into four patties.

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Lightly coat with remaining breadcrumbs. Spray with olive oil and cook each side until golden in non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Serve with salad, buns and sauce of your choice.

Check out healthyfood.co.nz for meat- free inspiration like this recipe.

Written by Amanda Brien (BSc Human Nutrition & Biochemistry).

- © Fairfax NZ News

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