Swap out healthy fats
Fat may be more calorie-dense than carbs or protein, but it satisfies your hunger — and that’s key to keeping your calorie counter down. People tend to lose and maintain more weight on a restricted-calorie diet that includes healthy fats than on a low-fat diet. For this reason, the best diet for women includes a source of healthy fat with every meal and snack. This can be two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of raw nuts or seeds, or half an avocado. Make sure you’re aware of these seven signs you’re not eating enough healthy fats.
Choosing the right fat is also key to staying healthy. While fiber plays a role in lowering cholesterol, the types of fats you eat can keep you healthy as you age. We’re talking beautiful, glowing skin, shiny hair and more! The key is to focus on unsaturated fats, especially anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Replacing the saturated fats in your diet—think butter, red meat—with unsaturated fats, a 2017 review in healthcare suggests it may lower your cardiovascular risk. A small study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that omega-3 fatty acids may also be helpful in stimulating muscle protein synthesis to help maintain muscle mass as we age.
Seafood omega-3 sources like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and fish oil supplements provide forms of omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA, the types your body can use most easily (and the types with a lot of research backing) . Plant sources like walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds provide ALA omega-3 fatty acids. Eating at least two servings of omega-3-rich fish per week covers your daily recommendation of 500-1,000 mg. If you don’t like fish, here are some omega-3 rich foods you can eat instead.
A word of warning: if you have heart disease, consuming oil (even olive oil) can be harmful.
Get lean proteins throughout the day
Getting enough of the right kind of protein (read: lean) is key to keeping your metabolism revving up and helping you feel full so you don’t have cravings as often. That means you can lose or maintain your weight without starving yourself all the time. Protein-rich foods are among the top foods for losing weight. For the best nutritional approach, make sure each meal and snack includes protein sources like chicken, fish, lean pork or beef, tofu, tempeh, beans and lentils, or dairy products like milk, cottage cheese, and plain yogurt.
A study in Journal of Nutrition found that people who eat less than the recommended protein intake and increase their protein intake lose less muscle mass as they get older. This is key to preventing your metabolism from slowing down. It’s all about preserving your muscle mass and even building more muscle with resistance exercises and getting enough protein.
Protein timing is also crucial. Many women tend to get most of their protein at dinner and very little earlier in the day. Do you eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch, and then a big piece of chicken or steak for dinner? Your body can only use about 30 grams of protein at a time, so spread out protein sources evenly throughout the day.
To hit the 30-gram mark at every meal, try an omelette for breakfast, 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese for snacks, add a palm-sized portion of fish, chicken, or tofu to your salad, and stick with dinner also a palm-sized portion of protein food. Here are 35 ways nutritionists are adding more protein to their diets.