Intakes (Balanced Diet for Women)
Nutritional needs (balanced diet for women) vary depending on sex, size, age and activity levels so use this chart as a general guide only. The chart shows the Reference Intakes (RI) or daily amounts recommended for an average, moderately active adult to achieve a healthy balanced diet for maintaining rather than losing or gaining weight.
The RIs for fat saturates, sugars and salts are all maximum amounts, while those for carbs and proteins are figures you should aim to meet each day. There is no RI for fiber, although health experts suggest we have 30g a day.
Numbers and figures are all very well but how does this relate to you? Keeping in mind, you can personalize your portion sizes with our handy guide.
Kick-start your metabolism by including protein at breakfast, choose from eggs, salmon, lean beef or dairy.We burn more calories digesting protein rather than carbs so by making your breakfast a protein one you’ll be revving up your metabolism because protein keeps you fuller for longer then you’ll eat fewer calories the rest of the day.
A protein breakfast needn’t take any longer to prepare. Top your morning toast with a scrambled egg, a slice of smoked salmon or some lean beef and when you do have a little more time enjoy an omelet.
Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast as this sets your blood sugar off on a roller-coaster that means you’ll end up choosing the wrong foods later in the day. Remember breakfast makes an important contribution towards your daily intake and it plays a key role in maintaining a healthy weight.
Many people find eating little and often helps them manage their blood sugar levels. This doesn’t mean they eat more but instead spread their day’s intake evenly throughout the day. Make every snack count with nourishing options that supply both the ‘pick me up’ you need while topping up your five-a-day.
Swap your morning biscuits for oatcakes spread with peanut or almond nut butter and a banana, or have a tasty dip with veggie sticks.
Make lunch a mix of lean protein and starchy carbs. Carb-rich foods supply energy and without them, you’re more likely to suffer that classic mid-afternoon slump. The key is to choose carbs that produce a steady rise in blood sugar, which means passing on the ‘sugary white’ foods and going for high-fiber whole grains that help you manage those afternoon munchies.
Option for an open rye-bread sandwich topped with salmon, chicken or lower fat dairy as well as plenty of salad, or choose wholegrain toast topped with baked beans.
Satisfy that sweet craving and the need for energy with fruit. A handful of dried fruit combined with unsalted nuts or seeds provides protein and healthy fats to keep you satisfied until supper.
Swap your chocolate or cereal bar for a handful of dried apple rings with a few almonds or walnuts. Dried fruit is four times as sweet as its fresh equivalent, which is great if you’ve got an exercise class or a gym session planned for the afternoon. Combining dried fruit with nuts helps stabilize the release of their sugars keeping you energized for longer. Alternatively stock your fridge with plenty of low-calorie nibbles like cherry tomatoes, apples and vegetable crudités that will prevent you reaching for the biscuit tin when you fancy something sweet or crunchy.
Don’t curfew carbs. They’re low in fat, fiber-rich and help you relax in the evening. Combine them with some healthy essential fats, the ones you find in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines as well as nuts, seeds and their oils. Your body can use these healthy fats along with protein overnight for regeneration and repair, important for maintaining healthy skin and hair.
Fill half your plate with a colorful variety of vegetables or salad, drizzle with a dressing made from linseed or rapeseed oil and add meat, fish or beans with brown rice, quinoa or wholemeal pasta.