How to Create a Balanced Diet for Women
Diets for women are not primarily weight-loss focused, but formulated to offer the most opportune nutrients for a happier, healthier life!
Healthy Meal Plan for Women
Creating a healthy diet for women is similar to a healthy diet for all, including the general 2,000-calories coming from whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. Women are further advised to pay attention to appropriate serving and portion sizes, along with practicing mindful eating techniques to nurture a healthy relationship with food while naturally keeping calories in check. And while a balanced diet lessens the risk of nutritional deficiencies, the nutrients below deserve specific and additional consideration in creating a healthy meal plan for women.
Recommendations suggest women should consume at least 46 grams of protein per day, though may flux based on activity level, pregnancy, and other factors. Protein is found in a widespread of animal sources, including chicken, beef, fish, eggs, and dairy products, along with plant-based proteins such as quinoa, lentils, and beans.
Women are encouraged to obtain at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Fiber plays a significant role in heart and digestive health and weight maintenance, and is predominately found in plate-based sources such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies.
Women of childbearing age need 400 milligrams (mg) of folate per day related to the association of neural tube defects and inadequate folate intake during early pregnancy. Beans, lentils, chickpeas, dark green veggies are considered significant sources of folate, though folic acid also often enriches pasta and bread products.
Women need considerably more iron to compensate for menstrual cycles and during childbearing years. Beef, lamb, seaweed, soybeans, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, lentils, and clams are rich food sources of iron, with vitamin C helping the body absorb iron.
To deter the risk of osteoporosis later down the road, women should consume calcium-rich foods, including milk and dairy products. If lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy, orange juice with added calcium, whole grain cereals, sardines with bones, almonds and unsweetened almond milks, soybeans, and collard greens are safe alternatives.
Women are encouraged to consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day. Natural avoid added sugars by reducing the intake of sauces and dressings, sodas, pastries, along with staying cautious of how food companies may be hiding sugar.
Although alcohol is suggested to fit into a well-balanced diet, it is important to stick to serving and portion sizes. Women are warned to limit alcohol consumption to one serving per day, along with regulating portions to 12-ounces of beer, 5-ounces of wine, or 1.5-ounces of liquor.
In addition to the guidelines above, additional dietary considerations include recommendations during pregnancy, if diagnosed or managing certain disease states, or following a specialty diet. If desiring meal assistance, bistroMD offers individuals plans for women to meet nutritional needs and personal health goals!
Balancing Diet with Physical Activity
Aside from nutritional recommendations, diet should be balanced with physical activity. Being active not only helps with weight maintenance, but promotes digestive, heart, and overall health. The American Heart Association encourages partaking in at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, along with the inclusion of strength and resistance training two times per week at minimum. Additional factors for good heath include sleeping seven to nine hours each night and managing stress through healthful techniques, including yoga, meditation, and reading.