Harvard Men's Health Watch

More dietary advice

Q. I read the column about dietary guidelines and caloric percentages, but I'm not a math guy. Any chance you could put it in English for me?

A. I feel your pain. The numbers are important, but they can be dull, even downright oppressive. And truth to tell, when I do the shopping, I bring my list but leave my calculator on my desk. But that doesn't mean choosing food at random. Instead, a few simple rules of the aisle will help you fill your pantry with healthful foods. Here is a list of the choices we make in our house:


Instead of

Baked, broiled foods

Fried foods



Whole-grain breads, cereal, pasta

White bread, refined grains

Unsalted nuts

Salted nuts

Beans, soybeans, lentils

Meat, cheese, eggs

Nonfat dairy products

Whole-fat dairy products

Olive oil or canola oil


Spreads with plant stanols

Butter or stick margarine

Fresh, unprocessed foods

Processed foods

Fruits and vegetables

Snack foods and desserts

Various spices and seasonings

Salt and high-sodium sauces

Water or sugar-free beverages

Sugary beverages such as sodas

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