The struggle to ascertain the foods and nutrients that will provide you with the most benefit is only getting more complicated. Between organic, free-range, and what feels like thousands of new fad diets, uncovering what food is healthy to eat seems to require more of a college dietary course than a natural selection while browsing your local grocers. So, where one pack of rice may have "health food" written across the packaging, another screams "gluten-free" in bright, bold lettering, and we are left with a lot of choices and not much guidance over what is best.

So, how do we navigate all of these options? How do we decide which is healthy food meant just for women? We have different needs than men at a biochemical level, especially as we move into our adult years between 30 and 50. The choices we make during these hardworking years will likely have a significant impact on the overall health of our bodies as we age.

We at 95 Nutrition want to help by offering some well-researched insights into what should be considered healthy foods for a woman's regular diet. We will try to break down all the confusing marketing and advertising gimmicks and stick to the simple methods that have worked for hundreds of years.

What is Healthy Food?

Let's make this as easy as possible for you to understand so you will not get fooled by the food fads or workout tricksters trying to sell you another health bar full of sugar. Healthy food gives you the exact nutrients you need to sustain your body's natural well-being and improve your energy usage throughout the day.

Most healthy food will have a balanced contribution of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) as well as minerals, vitamins, and other microbiochemical factors. What will be a healthy meal plan for you could be very different for someone else. For instance, an older woman from the Northeast may have different needs than a younger surfer from California.

The problem is not that everyone is eating the same type of healthy food, but most Americans are not getting the total nutritional value of food recommended for them. For example, only about 1 in 10 adults need the daily recommendations of fruits and vegetables during a normal meal situation. If you consider all of the added sugars, fats, salts, and other processed items we get through ready-made meals, you end up with a pretty toxic cocktail of food intake.

We get so many preservatives in our food because big businesses want to keep their items on the shelf as long as possible for us to buy them. It is a lot easier to store a bag of Doritos in a grocery store than a pack of fresh strawberries. What is worse, we may know those berries will do far more for us than the chips, but the pull of sugar and salt and what are, probably, chemical additives make our mouths water.

How Does One Identify Healthy Food for Women?

The best way to figure out what will work for your body is to learn how to read and understand nutritional labels on different foods. Unfortunately, most consumers do not know how to read these labels or when they do, they misinterpret the meaning. For example, it is easy to think you are all good at eating a sweet chocolate chip cookie when it says there is only 4g of fat in the ingredients. However, if the serving size is 5, now you are eating 20g of fat and probably need to reconsider the snack options.

The same is true for any items that scream at you through marketing techniques. If the first thing you read on a package says "all-natural" or "heart-healthy" or "organic," you may want to take a closer look. Many of those items are using advertising gimmicks to hide the fact that there are additional preservatives or calories hidden underneath the eye-popping lettering.

To give you a better guide for what healthy diet foods work for women, consider these options:

  • Sugar intake should be around 25g per day. That is roughly 6 teaspoons.
  • Fat is about 50 g total at 9 calories per gram (450 calories).
  • Sodium (salt) should be less than 1,500 mg. This one is important because too much salt can lead to water retention.
  • Protein depends on your activity level. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, shoot for about 46g of protein per day.
  • Vitamins will vary depending on who you are individually, but try to stick to naturally occurring instances and not artificially added vitamins.
  • Calories are a big concern. The average woman needs 2,000 calories in a regular diet or around 1,500 to lose weight.

These numbers change based on your activity level, age, background, and specific health-related issues. A woman in her 40s trying to put on muscle for the first time in her life will need more protein and supplements than average. You may want to seek a nutritionist or speak with your healthcare provider if you have specific concerns that need to be covered through your dietary needs.

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What is a Well-Balanced Diet for a Woman?

Choosing healthy food to eat has more to do with a lifestyle than sticking to everything by the numbers. Of course, knowing your total caloric intake for the day will help you gain or lose weight depending on your goals, but adhering to a balanced diet is the best way to ensure you are getting the total nutritional value for your gender.

There is a surprisingly great deal of research into the effects of women eating healthy on the rest of the family and peer group. So when you make healthy decisions, others in your home tend to go in the same direction. This is very helpful because if you want to eliminate those pesky Oreos for a healthier snack, it helps when your partner isn't hiding them under the stove in that warming drawer you never use.

It helps to identify the difference between good healthy foods and bad foods. If you want a simple rule, stick to foods made from nature and not man. This is easier to say than done, but it is a great place to start. That means you source your ingredients from whole organic foods high in nutrients instead of sugars, salts, and additives.

To get more specific, think about filling your plate with meals from the five food groups - fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. So, when you snack, reach for the fruits and vegetables or easy proteins like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and nuts.

If you were to have an imaginary plate full of food for a meal, think about the portions like this:

  • Fruits & Vegetables = ½ a plate
  • Protein = size of your fist
  • Grains = stick to whole grains, about ½ cup or a baseball
  • Dairy = no more than 3 cups per day
  • Oils = small drizzle of olive oil or other cooking oil

If you are going to seek out vitamins to focus on, there are three that are important specifically for women:

  • Calcium lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Iron helps with our menstrual cycles when we lose blood.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish or supplements to reduce the effects of inflammation.

There is one more key ingredient we should mention: fiber. On the long list of healthy foods, fiber helps reduce many diseases that affect women, like heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and colon cancer. It also helps make you feel full after eating. Good sources of fiber are going to be beans, berries, whole grains, and dark green leafy vegetables. A healthy diet for women should include around 21-25 grams of fiber.

Where to Find Help with Healthy Food to Eat?

Women should balance their food intake with physical activity no matter their diet choice. A simple 20-minute walk every day can go a long way to improving your digestion and boosting your energy levels.

When you do decide to change up your dietary needs, do not let yourself get overwhelmed. We, at 95 Nutrition, are here to help make things so much easier. Our Buffalo-based team can prepare all kinds of healthy and nutritious meals made especially for a woman's diet. We offer online ordering and can send your meals to your favorite stores for pickup or directly to your home. There is no contract or obligation. Simply place your order, wait for it to arrive, heat, and enjoy.

Our goal is to offer you delicious portion-controlled meals that boost your body's natural processes with nutrient-rich ingredients. Visit our menu options today and see for yourself how 95 Nutrition can revolutionize your eating habits.