The tricky thing about eating healthy is finding out just what’s right for you. Taking into consideration factors such as age, weight, and physical activity level, we can try to figure out the perfect nutrient intake for women on an average. However, counting numbers every time you eat can be quite irritating and time-consuming.
But that is exactly what you need to do. A good way to do this would be to count numbers beforehand and chalk out a diet plan. To start you off on the path, let’s give you the average recommended for women of all ages.
These averages change based on your age and activity level. Here’s how the activity level is measured:1
- A sedentary level is a lifestyle where there’s no physical activity other than what’s required to live.
- A moderately active level is if you walk at least 1.5–3 miles per day at the rate of 3–4 miles per hour, in addition to the regular activities.
- An active lifestyle is where your physical activity is equivalent to walking more than 3 miles per day at the rate of 3–4 miles per hour, in addition to the regular activities.
Recommended Calorie Intake For Women
If you’re not burning more calories than what you eat, that is, if you aren’t exercising, you shouldn’t be eating too much. Rarely do any of us follow this rule. We eat what we wish to and then think of losing weight. But the best way to control weight loss or gain is to regulate your eating habits. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015–2020), here’s what you should be eating.
The ideal calorie intake for women following a sedentary lifestyle is as follows:
- Aged 19–25, 2000 calories
- Aged 26–50, 1800 calories
- Aged 51 and above, 1600 calories
The ideal calorie intake for women following a moderately active lifestyle is as follows:
- Aged 19–25, 2200 calories
- Aged 26–50, 2000 calories
- Aged 51 and above, 1800 calories
The ideal calorie intake for women following an active lifestyle is as follows:
- Aged 19–25, 2400 calories
- Aged 26–50, 2200 calories
- Aged 51 and above, 2000 calories
The calorie count goes down as you age because your body’s basal metabolic rate goes down.
Recommended Carbohydrate Intake For Women
The recommended dietary allowance of carbohydrates for women of all ages in the US is about 130 g. However, to be precise, about 45–65 percent of your daily calorie intake should come from carbs. Based on this rule, here’s how many carbs you should be eating:
- For 1600 calories, 200 g carbs per day
- For 1800 calories, 225 g carbs per day
- For 2000 calories, 250 g carbs per day
- For 2200 calories, 275 g carbs per day
- For 2400 calories, 300 g carbs per day
Distribute the carbohydrate intake throughout the day to have a balanced diet.
Recommended Fat Intake For Women
Fat is important for your diet, even if you’re trying to lose weight. The right kind of fat will make all the difference in keeping you fit. Ideally, somewhere between 25 and 35 percent of your calories should come from fat. So the average required fat intake, based on the calorie count, is as follows.
- For 1600 calories, 44 g of fat per day
- For 1800 calories, 50 g of fat per day
- For 2000 calories, 55 g of fat per day
- For 2200 calories, 61 g of fat per day
- For 2400 calories, 66 g of fat per day
Preferably, most of the fats you eat should come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. And this too should be in moderation.
Recommended Protein Intake For Women
Proteins are what promote muscle and tissue growth. The most common source of proteins is animal-based foods and the healthy option would be lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and nuts and beans.
Protein sources should make up 10–30 percent of your calorie intake. So, the average recommended protein intake would thus be as follows:
- For 1600 calories, 100 g of protein per day
- For 1800 calories, 112 g of protein per day
- For 2000 calories, 125 g of protein per day
- For 2200 calories, 137 g of protein per day
- For 2400 calories, 150 g of protein per day
In your diet, proteins will make up about half as much as calories from fat. This much of protein in your diet will keep your immunity strong and weight ideal.
The ideal recommendations given here are for women in general. This will be completely different for pregnant women. In such cases, discuss with your gynecologist, consult a dietician, and make sure you get a balanced, healthy diet for you and your baby.