by Beth Winthrop, MS, RD
Is it really harder for women to control their weight and eat a healthy diet? It sure is! Women tend to be smaller than the men they cook and dine with, potentially leaving them side tracked if they decide to order both appetizer and dessert. Women often put others before themselves, so they may decide on a family favorite dinner, even if they’d rather try fish or a vegetarian option. Women are always busy, so they are likely to grab quick options including granola bars or fast food, even if they’d prefer something fresh and lean. And when their busy schedules catch up with them, they tend to grab caffeine and sugar to keep them going.
Given that 2016 shows no signs of being a less busy year, here are some strategies for eating healthier to feel great in the short term and protect your health in the long term.
- Remember that you need just as much liquid during cold weather months. Make water your go-to beverage with every meal. Eat your calories, don’t drink them!
- Start each day with breakfast. Fuel your body and your brain with fruit, low fat milk or yogurt, whole grain hot cereals and lean protein like eggs. Start eating veggies early in the day, try a delicious mushroom and spinach omelet.
- Eat attentively. Sit down at the table with friends and family and take a few minutes to relax and enjoy your meal. Avoid munching away in the car, in front of the TV or computer.
- Find a fun activity where you can run around with friends. Burn off steam and calories!
- Start meals with half your normal portion. Eat slowly and stop when you’re satisfied; not stuffed. Learn how to tell when your body is really hungry, rather than just bored or needing comfort.
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. No portion control needed here! Start with an easy soup and add veggies such as roasted root vegetables and winter squash for a satisfying stew.
- Try tracking the calories you consume and those you expend. Fitness trackers help you see how you feel when you balance calories in and calories out!
- Don’t snack to entertain yourself, only to satisfy hunger if you haven’t eaten in a few hours. Stock up on healthy snacks in measured portions. Having a low fat cheese stick or almonds, an apple and water bottle handy can save you time and money and help you avoid fast food.
- Switch to whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain bread. Whole grains are more nutritious, more filling and very tasty! Try some delicious recipes from the Whole Grain Council at www.wholegrainscouncil.org.
- Train your taste buds to appreciate the natural sweetness in fruit, and slowly wean yourself off added sugars, sweetened beverages, pastries and desserts. Kick the sugar habit!
In addition, here’s some information to reference on healthy tips for women, including preventing iron deficiency at www.eatright.org/resources/for-women.
Women whose weight or dietary patterns have the potential to cause health concerns such as diabetes or high blood pressure should talk with their physician about a referral to a registered dietitian: the food and nutrition experts. Find a dietitian near you at www.eatrightri.org/find-an-rd.
Beth Winthrop, MS, RD is a registered dietitian from Newport, RI. Beth’s daughter, Jennifer is also a dietitian as well as a nurse practitioner. Beth worked for many years in healthcare, and is now the national wellness director for Sodexo campus services. Beth is a member of the Rhode Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For more information, go to www.eatrightri.org.