Nutrition For Women: Essential Nutrients, Diet Tips, And Meal Plans For The Working Woman
As a woman, you are a host of energies, a doer! From juggling between work life and personal responsibilities, proper nutrition is often left behind. Lack of nutrition is eventually noticed when the body and mind start to stutter.
Proper nutrition in a woman is essential, as is raising awareness around this subject. According to Axis woman health, a busy woman requires 1500-2000 calories daily, and it also helps combat stress and improve energy. The National Institute of Health (NIH) cites that a nutrient-rich diet boosts fertility and maintains health in the longer run.
Nutritional requirements among women are unique and, in many ways, different from men's. Only with proper nutrition can women perform their best in the workplace or in personal chores.
Women need a number of key nutrients to live fully and maintain their health. In this article, we will discuss some diet tips for working women to prioritize their health.
The Nutritional Needs of Women
As we mentioned earlier, women have unique nutritional needs. This includes specific vitamins and minerals essential for women's health. Amongst these, iron is more vital for women than men due to blood loss in menstruation and maintaining hemoglobin. Women also require a good calcium and vitamin D intake for bone health.
It is important to understand that a woman's nutritional needs changes throughout her lifecycle, specifically during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and stress from work. Considering these nutritional needs can allow women to make informed diet and nutrition choices.
Here are certain vital nutrients a working woman needs to incorporate into her lifestyle -
Folic Acid is a vitamin B that helps body make new healthy cells. Folic Acid is essential for women who are pregnant. It helps develop the fetus's neural tube. Having Folic Acid can prevent birth defects.
Folic Acid can be found in -
- Leafy greens
- Breakfast Cereals
- Citrus food
- Brussel sprouts
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps calcium absorption in the gut and maintains sufficient calcium and phosphorus concentration for bone mineral density. Vitamin D is important for bone health and can prevent cancer and autoimmune diseases. Sun rays can trigger Vitamin D synthesis when they strike the skin.
Vitamin D can be found in -
- Fatty fish (Salmon, Swordfish, Tuna fish)
- Egg yolks
- Dairy products
- Red meat
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats or polyunsaturated fats that support heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. The body cannot produce adequate omega-3 fatty acids, so it is essential to consume them to maintain proper health. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids may also extend to pregnant and nursing women.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in -
- Fatty Fish ( Salmon and Sardines)
- Chia seeds
- COD liver oil
Probiotics are a mixture of good bacteria/ yeast that live in your body and keep you healthy. Probiotics contain microorganisms intended to improve digestion and restore intestinal flora. They have been effective for bowel problems, vaginal infections, lactose intolerance, and urinary tract infections.
Probiotics can be found in -
- Sourdough bread
Suggested Read: 17 Best Probiotics for Gut Health in Corporate Employees.
Calcium is a vital mineral to maintain strong bones and teeth. Bones and teeth hold most of the body's calcium, giving them shape and hardness. Compared to males, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a condition where bones weaken. Thus, it is important for women to consume calcium and maintain bone health and density.
Calcium-rich foods include -
- Dairy products
- Leafy greens
- Fortified juices
- Anything made with fortified flour
Iron is an essential element of hemoglobin. Iron is crucial for forming red blood cells, which transport oxygen between the lungs and cells in the body. Muscle metabolism and connective tissue health are also supported by iron. Iron is also essential for physical growth, neurological development, cellular functioning, and hormone synthesis.
Women have a higher risk of developing iron deficiency anemia due to blood loss during menstruation. It becomes vital for working women and women of all walks to maintain adequate iron levels for a stronger body and healthier life.
Iron-rich foods include red meat-
- Dark Leafy greens
- Fortified cereals
- Dried fruit and nuts
Common Nutritional Deficiencies in Women
It is important to nourish your body with the right vitamins and minerals in order to live healthy and strong throughout life. Poor dietary choices can result in a deficiency of iron, calcium, and Vitamin D levels.
But no worries, taking care of yourself doesn't have to be a daunting task. You can ensure that your body thrives by incorporating nutrient-rich foods and the right supplements.
We only have one body, and it deserves to be treated with care and attention. Remember to make self-care a priority.
10 Healthy Eating Tips for Working Women
For a woman's overall health and well-being, healthy eating is essential. Do not skip meals; try controlling the urge to munch on unhealthy food items. As working women with a tight schedule, finding the time to prepare healthy meals and snacks can be challenging. Here are some diet tips to make healthy eating more manageable for you -
1. Plan ahead
Plan your meals ahead of the day. Take a few minutes every day to plan your essential diet. Keep a check on your diet and snacks. Planning your meal will help you stay on track and avoid unhealthy choices.
2. Choose healthy when dining out
Look for healthy options on the menu when eating out. Add options like salad, grilled chicken, vegetables, and other healthy items to your meal. If you plan to eat something you might regret later, balance it with healthy options from the menu. Improvise and modify when ordering if food items don't cater to your healthy diet needs.
3. Pack healthy snacks for work
The hours in the workplace can churn your energy down to the last bits. It is important to keep charging your body through snacks and small bites. Packing healthy snacks to work will keep you energized for the whole day to avoid the mess of eating unhealthy.
Healthier power snacks like protein bars, nuts, and fruits are worth a small addition to your box. You can pack fruits, vegetable sticks, and some whole food. These small bites will not only keep you energized, but they will also improve your mood significantly and keep that workplace stress at bay.
4. Cut down on sugar
Sugar can lead to weight gain and too many calories. Sugar also causes heart and diabetes problems. Sugar is not good for the skin, either. Apart from flavor, sugar isn't really good for anything.
Only take necessary sugar that adds to your flavor and adds to your energy levels that come from glucose. Swap to sweeteners if you crave sweets, and consume fruits and vegetables as they are rich sources of glucose as well as sweet flavors. Consume water every time you feel like having sugar.
Suggested Read: Try the No Sugar Challenge for Insane Results.
5. Cook at home more often
Managing time to cook at home can be challenging. It might seem convenient to get food from outside or ordering online. As convenient as it is, the nutritional value isn't the same as homemade meals. By cooking at home, a working woman can save money, eat much healthier and gain control over their diet. Also, cooking more at home might unlock a new hobby for you.
6. Eat a variety of vegetables and whole fruits
Fruits and vegetables come with flavors of their own. They are tasty, healthy, and fulfilling. A vegetable-rich diet helps the body immensely. Fruits are equally healthy and even tasty.
The famous saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" still stands true. Fruits and vegetables make for great snacks to devour at any time. They are rich sources of nutrients.
A fruit and vegetable-rich diet helps lower cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, create a better digestive system, fill the body with vital nutrients, and prevent cancer, to name only a few.
7. Eat more fish
Making healthy meal choices is tough with a busy schedule. However, you will applaud one healthy choice: incorporating fish into your meals. Fish are excellent for supporting your diet and health. They are a great source of protein and come packed with omega-3 fatty acids.
Take some time out and nourish your body by preparing a fish-based meal. Try adding some fish to the plate regularly, add your favorite flavors, and enjoy its benefits.
8. Eat food Protein and fiber rich
Most people fall short of their required protein and fiber amounts. A busy day demands strength and energy. Food high in proteins and high in fiber are rich sources of nutrients to stay active throughout the day.
Protein rich food such as meat, dairy products, eggs, yogurt, and fish help in the speedy recovery of muscles, cellular movement, and maintaining body weight. Naturally, high-fiber and low carb food options such as broccoli, almonds, oatmeal, and chia seeds are great for bowel health, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels and achieving a healthy weight.
Incorporating food, fiber and protein-rich will help you stay energized, light, and tip-toed the whole day.
9. Eat at regular intervals
Why would you opt to skip meals when you can eat-up and nourish?
Skipping meals leave everyone feeling fatigued, unfocused, and unhealthy. Make regular meals a priority, and you will notice drastic improvements in your well-being.
10. Log meals with Vantage Fit
Vantage Fit is a people-first employee wellness app by Vantage Circle. It is designed for enterprises and women like you to care about your health, nutrition, and fitness. Vantage Fit promotes healthier lifestyles and habits for preventive health and fitness.
Keeping track of nutrition can be a pickle. Vantage Fit has a catalog of 4000+ food items to make it feasible. The catalog provides vital nutritional info, such as each food item's carbohydrate, protein, and fat content.
Other features include BMI Calculator, Calorie tracker, Customizable Trophies & Badges. Vantage Fit offers incentivization through Fitness Points & Gift Cards.
With a growing fitness and wellness community, you can share your progress, learn, and reach your goals with every step.
Leverage Vantage fit and log your meals, keep a tab of what you eat, and take control of your diet!
Meal Planning for Women
Meal planning is perfect for employees to stay on track with healthy eating. Consider batch cooking and meal prepping to make meal planning easier. Here are some ideas for healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner preparation -
Breakfast is the first meal of the day. Having a healthy breakfast keeps the body energetic and sets the tone for the rest of the day. A healthy breakfast for a working woman may include the following -
- Scrambled Eggs
- Chia Seeds with eggs
- Brown Bread and Jam
- Fruits and Nuts
- Whole Grain
- Spinach and Omelet
- Curd Rice
- Overnight Oats with fruits
Lunch is the midday retreat, where we take a break from our daily hustle and bustle. It is the moment to savor our favorite meals. We recharge our body and spirit for the rest of the day with lunch. Some healthy lunch options for women with a busy schedule are -
- Grilled Chicken
- Roasted Vegetables
- Salmon or Tuna
- Salad with Avocado
- Whole-grain bread
- Rice and Dal
- Chappati and Lentils
- Green Vegetables
- Brown rice
- Whole-grain Pasta
- Yogurt with fresh fruit
- Rice bowl with roasted vegetables
- Tofu with Rice
- Paneer with Roti and vegetables
- Chapatti and vegetable curry
The day's final meal, dinner, is typically eaten in the evening or night. Dinner is the time that brings people together to share food, conversation, and memories. Dinner is the last meal before we set off to sleep, get some much needed rest, and recharge our energy for the next day. Some healthy dinner options are -
- Baked Salmon With Sweet Potato
- Stir-fry with Tofu
- Colorful Veggies
- Zucchini Noodles
- Lentil soup
- Baked Sweet Potato with Black Beans
- Fish with Quinoa
- Rice bowl and Dal
- Grilled chicken with salad
- Vegetable stew with soup
- Rice bowl and vegetable stew
- Rice and roasted fish
As a working woman, juggling among personal life, work life, health goals, and diet goals can be a pickle. Managing every aspect of life indeed is challenging. However, you must prioritize your nutritional needs for optimal health and well-being.
Be it any walk of life- work life or personal goals, understanding the unique nutritional needs, making healthy choices, and incorporating meal planning and tracking go a long way. It is especially important to make healthy choices for nutrition.
Small changes make big differences, and prioritizing your health and nutrition and implementing healthy habits will help your health and body in every aspect- immediately and in the long run.
What nutrition should an active female have?
An active female should intake 35 kilocalories per Kg of weight daily. This would mean an intake of 2000 calories per day for a 120-pound or 54 kg woman to 3000 calories per day for a 180-pound or 81kg woman.
How much protein must a woman intake?
Protein is a molecule made up of amino acids. Protein is an important component for a healthy body. Protein in the diet helps the body repair cells and make new ones. Generally, 35-45 grams of protein daily is considered good for health. Protein helps the body with improved muscle mass, builds muscle, skin, and cartilage, strengthens bone, repairs tissues, and offers a better mood.
According to Harvard medical school, 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight is recommended. This would mean the protein intake for a woman of 50 kg: 0.8×50=40 grams per day. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommends 44 grams of protein daily for a 55-kg or 120-pound woman. Meat, dairy products, soy, fish, and beans are good sources of protein.
Which juice is best for glowing skin?
A healthy lifestyle and a combination of many healthy habits help to have good and glowing skin. Healthy eating and healthy drinking also play a part. Some healthy juice that will glow your skin are -
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Lemon Juice
- Papaya Juice
- Tomato Juice
- Cucumber Juice
Staying hydrated keeps your skin healthy and glowing; water is the most important fluid to maintain glowing skin. Consume at least 3-4 liters of water every day for glowing skin and a healthy body.
What are the essential nutrients a woman should have every day?
Women's nutritional needs are unique and require a variety of nutrients to support their health. Some important nutrients a woman should have every day are -
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
Iron helps maintain healthy blood and prevent anemia, while calcium and Vitamin D are important to build strong bones. Folic Acid helps a woman during her pregnancy with fetal development, and omega-3 supports heart health. Protein ensures a strong body by repairing tissues.
What are some common nutrient deficiencies in women?
Taking care of your body and nourishing it properly is important. Women, mostly working women, often suffer from a deficiency of vital nutrients as they miss out on a proper nutrient-rich diet. Some common nutrient deficiencies among women are Iron, Calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. All women should get regular check-ups done, get their blood tested from time to time, and ensure they get enough of these important nutrients.
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