If you’ve been following our series of ‘A Balanced Diet’ articles, you’ll know by now what the definition is and what we’ll explore within this piece.
Much like the previous iteration, this article focuses on a specific social group that requires a balanced diet that is tailored to their shape, height, weight, activity levels and most importantly, gender.
You guessed it (or maybe you read the title), we’ll be exploring what a balanced diet means for women, what it entails and how exactly this can be achieved.
What is a Balanced Diet?
Once again, a balanced diet is integral to women’s lives as it ensures sufficient energy levels are provided for day-to-day living, as well as contributing to a lower risk of disease such as diabetes, stroke or even heart disease.
Let’s remind ourselves of what you actually need to consume daily for a balanced diet:
Fruits & Vegetables
On the whole, women need less calories to properly function than men, and really this is down to the fact that women tend to be smaller and have less muscle.
Active women ages 14 to 30 years: 2,000 to 2,400 calories
Sedentary women ages 14 to 30 years: 1,800 to 2,000 calories
Active women over 30 years: 1,800 to 2,200 calories
Sedentary women over 30 years: 1,600 to 1,800 calories
It’s important to adjust calorie intake based on activity levels - the more active you are, the more calories you burn, the more calories you need to intake to maintain optimum health.
So now we know what sorts of foods women need for a balanced diet, we also know the amount of recommended calories (dependent on various factors), but what about how much of each food our diet should consist of?
Here’s an estimate of the average female’s daily food intake:
Fat - 78g (as a maximum)
Commonly assumed as bad for you, fats are actually an integral part to a healthy, balanced diet. Some examples of healthy fats are nuts, olives, avocado and fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines.
Saturated fat - 24g (as a maximum)
Fatty cuts of dark meat, cheese, butter and other high-fat dairy foods are good sources of saturated fat.
Carbohydrate - 260g (as a maximum)
Most meals are thought up around the carbs - whether that be rice, pasta, potatoes or pulses. It’s an important aspect of any meal but you should try to be careful not to overload.
Sugars - 90g (as a maximum)
Fruits! Most fruits are full of natural sugars which can give you an energy boost and form part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Protein - 45g
There should really be some protein in every meal you eat, and there’s plenty of healthy options! Chicken, pork, fish, eggs and plenty more are great sources of protein.
Fibre - 30g
Fibre is thought to contribute to a lower risk of many diseases. It’s also vital that you get your fibre intake from a variety of sources! Fibre sources include fruits, wholegrain foods, pulses, beans and vegetables, to name a few.
Salt - 6g (as a maximum)
Too much salt in your diet can contribute to heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, so it’s important to ensure you don’t intake too much. 6g, by the way, is no more than one teaspoon!
Top Tips for Women to Follow
Cooking meals from scratch is an effective way to ensure you’re avoiding any hidden, unhealthy fats that you could find in ready meals and fast food.
Swap out your carbs for wholewheat alternatives for a leaner meal.
Try to make sure that you stick within your calorie allowances, and don’t deter from them too often.
Coupling regular exercise with a well balanced diet can lead to many, many health factors, including a better mental health and happiness.
If you ever need assistance, there are plenty of articles and guides online which can help you build a balanced diet.
If nutrition is important to you and you feel like you want a career in nutrition and fitness, find out more about our Personal Training courses.
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