Healthy Eating Plans for Adults

by Richard Nilsen

About Richard Nilsen

Richard Nilsen writes poetry, fiction, features and news stories in upstate New York. He was an emergency mental-health consultant for 20 years and directed a mentoring agency for a decade. Nilsen is a black-fly control technician in the Adirondack Park, where he enjoys hiking, biking and boating.

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Overview

When you're thinking about a healthy eating plan, be sure to consider your special needs as a woman and your activity levels, including a variety of food choices to make it interesting. Size matters. An active 135-pound woman likely burns more calories than an inactive 150-pound woman. Once an approximate total calorie intake calculation is made, adding a variety of fresh produce, meats, dairy products and whole-grain foods can fulfill your nutritional needs, while also keeping taste in play.

Calories Count

A healthy eating plan for an adult woman should include a measure of the total calories you need to maintain both nutrition and weight. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that, by calculating your needed daily calorie intake, you can plan a menu that meets those needs. A relatively inactive person has a sedentary lifestyle, while a moderately active woman works but doesn't do lots of exercise. An inactive, 150-pound woman can eat about 1,500 calories per day and be satisfied, while and an active 135-pound woman can take in 1,600 calories per day without weight gain.

Whole Grain Carbs

About half your daily calorie intake should be in the form of carbohydrates. Whole-grain foods provide plenty of carbs and also supply a good amount of fiber, which aids digestion and has other health benefits. About 200 to 300 grams of whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta will supply the right amount of carbs for an 1,800-calorie daily diet. Fiber is low in processed white bread and pasta, which are made with refined flour. By avoiding these foods and sugary, processed cereals, you'll also avoid the unnecessary extra sugars and fat that add pounds with little nutritional gain. Choosing enriched bread can also boost your intake of B vitamins and iron, nutrients especially important for women.

Focus on Fresh Produce

Begin food shopping in the fresh produce aisle for healthy eating plans. Choose fresh produce so that important nutrients, minerals and vitamins will be a good part of any menu. MyPyramid.gov recommends varying colors among veggies and fruits, choosing green veggies like broccoli and spinach, orange veggies like carrots and squash and red fruit like apples, tomatoes and cherries to bring the full spectrum of nutrition to the menu. Fresh fruits help supply water-soluble vitamins like C and B complex. Fresh produce brings the added bonus of lots of fiber, good for your heart and to help keep your blood sugar in check.

Moderate Amounts of Meat and Dairy

Your healthy meal plans should contain about half as much protein and fat as carbohydrates. Meat, fish and dairy products supply much of the protein and fat needed for a healthy meal plan. If you consume 1,800 calories daily, you should include about 100 grams of protein and 60 grams of fat, according to the MyPlate recommendations. Add lots of skinless chicken, fish or lean meats for protein and to minimize unhealthy, saturated fats. Dairy products will supply much fat-soluble vitamins like E, A, D and K and also promote their absorption by adding a little dietary fat. Skip fats from processed snacks and opt for low-fat or non-fat milk and other dairy products.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.