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A registered dietitian shares meal ideas for women at all stages of life

Nishta Saxena breaks down how women can stay healthy at all stages of life.
September 27, 2021 10:21 a.m. EST

In all stages, making sure you prioritize taking care of yourself is the most important step to staying healthy as a woman. We’ve partnered with Smart Solutions to highlight how women can stay healthy and balance their hormones at different stages of life.

This means managing expectations, having a strong social network, finding supports for mental health, and prioritizing sleep for seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night. Of course, eating regular nourishing meals and snacks is a pillar of staying healthy.

Young Adulthood

Young women are often not thinking about how to protect their health as they enter adulthood. Making sure to eat regular meals and snacks gives them a much better chance of getting all the iron, B-vitamins, and trace minerals they need to continue to support their bone-building phase and keep up with working muscles. Nutrition is also so important for mental health, something affecting so many people at this stage of life. Key nutrients are iron, calcium, potassium, and B-vitamins.

For breakfast:

  • Toast or tortillas with eggs and tomato or avocado, sprinkled with chilli flakes and sea salt, and fruit
  • For a morning snack:
  • Nut bar or chia pudding cup

For lunch:

  • Tacos or big salad with protein and pita

For an afternoon snack:

  • Smoothie

For dinner:

  • Stir-fry or curry with protein and noodles or rice

For an evening snack:

  • As needed, popcorn, fruit, ice cream or apple with peanut butter

Motherhood

The demands of motherhood are endless! Being a mother impacts the mind, body, and spirit to the core. Supporting your health as a mother can be a challenge with the work and distraction of career and kids. Well-placed snacks and eating meals together with the kids are easy ways to make sure you are putting fuel into your body. High-fibre foods, those that support hormonal health and nutrient-rich foods keep energy levels high, without a crash, and help with replacing nutrients like iron and zinc lost in the throws of pregnancy, feeding, and child-rearing. Nutrients to focus on to re-nourish and energize include iron, protein, vitamin C, and a high-fibre diet that helps with controlling cravings and keeping gut bacteria happy.

For breakfast:

  • Oats with hemp hearts and molasses and peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt and fruit

For lunch:

  • Leftovers!
  • Coconut oil and milk curries, stews or pasta with toast or pita, or over rice or quinoa and kimchi

For an afternoon snack:

  • Nut bar and orange and high-fibre crackers
  • Cracker or nut butter and cheese and fruit

For dinner:

  • Black bean burrito bowls and made with rice or frozen corn and protein, and vegetables and salsa, hot sauce, and avocado
  • Pizza and protein salad

For an evening snack:

  • Brad buds, yogurt and honey
  • Frozen  yogurt with blueberries and honey

Aging Well

As we age as women, our bones, muscles, and hormones are constantly shifting. It’s important to focus on the mechanics of an aging woman’s body by focusing on the nutrients that need to come from the diet due to age-related losses. Protein is a major player in healthy aging for women, we naturally begin to lose our lean muscle after the age of 45. Protein from food is so important to help us retain our lean tissue, which is linked to immune function and heart health.

Vitamin D is a key piece of bone health, ensuring you get enough vitamin D with supplements helps your body use calcium. Protein and antioxidants, as well as getting a broad spectrum of minerals in the diet are key in this age group.

For breakfast:

  • Oatmeal or bran flakes with 1/2 cup of nuts and fruit
  • Two eggs with whole-grain toast and avocado
  • Omelet with veggies, bread and fruit

For lunch:

  • Leftover chicken/rice and veggies
  • Wrap with protein and dark green veggies
  • Soup and sandwich
  • Leftovers from dinner and dark chocolate

For snacks:

  • Cheese and high-fibre crackers
  • Nuts and cheese and fruit

For dinner:

  • Pasta or stir-fry
  • Curries with protein and vegetables
  • Soup or stews with pita or roti and fresh or frozen berries