Written by: Ancica for KJSelections.com
Every organism is different and our nutritional requirements can vary according to our age, gender or physical activity. Women need different nutrients and their portions are not always the same as those of their male counterparts. Here is a guide for women seeking a balanced diet for good health.
What is a balanced diet?
You have probably heard some of the rules of balanced diet and you may be following some of them already. A balanced diet is all about eating fresh food, more fish and wholegrain food and cutting on red meat and sugar. The most famous rule says that you should eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetables every day. That might sound a lot, but it is not that much when you realize what is actually one portion.
To sum it up, a balanced diet defines what types of food should you eat, when should you eat it and in what proportion. Following these simple rules will improve your health and make you feel energized.
Men and women have different reference intakes so always make sure that you are looking at charts that are made especially for women. Of course, nutritional needs depend on many factors and you should use reference intake just as guidelines.
For example, while men generally need 2500 kcal a day, women usually need only 2000 kcal due to their constitution, height, and weight. Women should try to have around 50 g of protein every day (best sources of protein are poultry and fish) and 260 g of carbs. When it comes to sugar and fat, especially saturated fat, it is important to limit your daily intake. Actually, it would be best to avoid eating sugar and saturated fat whenever is that possible.
Many women are not sure what does one portion mean. It is a different amount of food, depending on the food type. Here is a short guide you can use:
Fruit: An orange, an apple or a pear make one portion of fruit. When it comes to smaller fruit such as strawberries or blackberries, one portion consists of around 10 pieces.
Carbs (cereal, rice, pasta or potato): One portion of carbs is a quantity that can fit into your clenched fist. You should eat one portion of carbs with every main meal, but make sure that it is always less than 1/4 of your plate.
Protein (meat, fish, poultry or tofu): One portion of protein is a quantity that can fit the palm of your hand. It is important to include one portion of protein with every meal. This rule is important for vegans as well. Nowadays it is possible to find many vegan-friendly alternatives that will give you protein.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is a perfect time to eat protein. There are a lot of options: eggs, cheese, yogurt or lean ham. A protein breakfast will keep you full longer and it will prevent food cravings during the day.
It is important to have some healthy snacks handy, in order to avoid eating premade snacks that contain way too much sugar. For example, you can prepare oatcakes with peanut butter and some banana. It is delicious and healthy!
A well-balanced lunch always contains some lean protein and some starchy carbs. If you like to have a sandwich for lunch, always choose one that is made of whole grain bread or any other healthier alternative. You can make a delicious sandwich with chicken or salmon. there are many interesting recipes that can be found online nowadays. Don't forget to add some salad too! It is time to eat one of those veggie portions.
Many women have sugar craving before dinner. We suggest you start eating fruit instead of snacks and sweets. You can combine dry fruit with nuts and seeds. That is a great way to include important nutrients and healthy fats into your diet, and it will keep you full until dinner.
The evening is a perfect time for healthy fats that can be found in fish or olive oil. Our body will use those fats and proteins to repair our bodies during the night's rest. Carbs are also allowed but make sure that they have a lot of fiber. Half of your plate should be filled with salad and vegetables. Be creative and remember that colorful meals are the healthiest because it means that they contain a variety of nutrients.
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