As a general rule women require less food to maintain a healthy balanced diet than men. The exception is salt and fiber intake, which should be the same for men and women.
Here are some easy ways to help you measure out how big meal portions of everything you should have as a woman.
- Carbohydrates like cereal, rice, pasta, or potatoes - Clench your fist; this is the size of portion of carbohydrates you should have.
- Proteins like meat, poultry, and fish - You should measure your protein to be the size of the palm of your hand.
- Popcorn should just be enough to fit in two cupped hands.
- Limit your baked goods to the size of two of your fingers.
- Butter and spreads should be the size of the tip of your thumb.
So here are the balanced meals a woman should eat throughout her day.
This is truly the most important meal of the day. Kick-start your metabolism with protein. Be sure to include things like eggs, fish, lean ham or low-fat dairy. Stay away from the carbs in the morning. The protein will keep you full longer, helping you to eat fewer calories throughout the day.
Eating smaller meals throughout the day helps maintain your blood sugar. This doesn’t mean you eat more; it should be just a small pick-me-up. Some rice cakes spread with peanut butter and a banana are great for keeping your energy up.
Keep lunch to starchy carbs and lean proteins. The carbs will provide you with energy to keep you from falling victim to the mid-day slump that most people experience. You need to choose carbs that will give you a steady rise in blood sugar, so stay away from the sugar and white foods and opt for high fiber whole grain options. Try rye bread with salmon, chicken, or dairy. Don’t forget the greens. Whole grain toast with baked beans is another good lunch choice.
Is your sugar tooth starting to come out around this time of the day? Well, it’s a good time then to take care of that sweet tooth. But opt for fruit. A handful of dried fruit with some nuts are a good sweet and savory pick-me-up for a mid-afternoon snack. Combining dried fruits with nuts will help slow down the release of the sugar from the dried fruit, keeping you energized longer. Quick healthy snacks on hand like cherry tomatoes, grapes, and small vegetables will be great to keep in your fridge and grab for your mid-day snack.
Go ahead and have carbs at dinner. They’re low in fat, high in fiber, and help you relax in the evening. Have healthy fats like what you can get from salmon, mackerel, and sardines as well as nuts and seeds. Your body will use the fat overnight to regenerate and repair, which is great for healthy skin and hair.
Fill half of your plate with colorful vegetables, or a salad covered with a dressing made from flaxseed oil. Have meat, fish, or beans with brown rice or whole grain pasta.
Following these guidelines and making healthy choices throughout the day will keep you satisfied all day long, and ready to tackle a busy day.