As you reach different stages in your life, your nutritional needs will also change. From infancy, to adolescence and adulthood, you will find a wide range of information on how you can make the most out of what you eat and implement that into your health.
When it comes to healthy eating, this starts long before birth. For women who are pregnant, there are certain foods that should be avoided, while there are certain foods that you should try to include more of for not just your own health, but the health of your unborn baby. Whether scrambled, hard boiled, or used in an omelette, eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can feed yourself as they are a great prenatal protein. They also contain something known as choline, which is crucial for fetal brain development as well as reducing the risk of things like spina bifida. Sweet potatoes are another important food to consume while pregnant as it contains vitamin A, which promotes the development of your baby’s eyes, along with their skin and bones. They’re also high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, potassium, beta-carotene, and even fibre. Consumption of beans and lentils are also linked to a decreased risk of preterm delivery, prolonged labour, and low birth weight, as well as high in fibre, zinc, folate and calcium. They’re also a great alternative if you’re not keen on eating meat; however, if you are, then opt for lean beef and pork. These meats are great sources of protein which help your baby grow and promote proper muscle development. Magnesium-rich foods, such as nuts, will also decrease the risk of preterm labour, as well as promote the healthy development of your baby’s nervous system. You can find even more great foods to eat during pregnancy by clicking here. Once your baby is born, it’s important to remember that breast milk is all they will need for their first 6 months. If you are unable to breastfeed, commercially bought formula is recommended. You can find tips on choosing, preparing and storing formula by clicking here and here.
Children can be tricky to feed as their favourite foods tend to change quite frequently. However, it’s important to ensure they are eating from all four food groups each day – including vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives, as well as meat and alternatives. Foods you prepare for your child should also be made with little to not salt added, as well as no added sugar. Instead, opt for some healthy high-fat foods such as salmon, cheese, avocado, and nut butter. Speaking of nuts, peanut allergies are higher amongst children. Common signs of allergy include everything from rash and hives, or anaphylaxis, which is considered an emergency as it can be fatal. If your child has a nut allergy, ensure you let everyone around them know, including parents of friends, as well as school staff. While many schools no longer allow children to bring nut-based products into classrooms, you can never be too careful.
Nutritional needs also differ between men and women. For example, how many calories one should intake will depend on their body size. As men tend to be bulkier than women, they often require more calories. On average, a woman who weighs approximately 125 lbs. will require around 2,000 calories each day, while a man that weighs approximately 175 lbs. will need at least 2,800. How much protein a man needs vs. a woman is also dependent on body size. A woman weighing 125 lbs. requires around 42 grams of protein per day, while a man weighing 175 lbs. needs at least 58. A difference by approximately half an ounce. It’s also important to note that 15% of one’s calorie intake should come from protein, while 45% to 65% of your daily calorie intake should come from complex carbohydrates such as unrefined foods, foods that are high in fibre, whole grain products, beans and legumes. When it comes to fat, both men and women should avoid those that are considered “bad” fats. When it comes to the “good” fat, however, this also differs based on gender. For example, canola oil. While this is considered a healthier fat as far as the cardiovascular system is concerned, some studies have shown that it may actually be bad for prostate.
As we age, so does our need for certain nutrients – especially in seniors who suffer from certain conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis. There are also chronic illnesses that may prevent seniors from being able to chew or swallow their food, which is also important to keep in mind. Seniors also have higher rates of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even cancer. Many of these diseases can be prevented our managed through combined healthy eating as well as regular physical activity. In order to eat well, seniors should limit their intake of foods that are processed or deep fried, deli meats, hydrogenated oils and trans fats, refined grains, foods that are salty, as well as foods and beverages that contain or are high in sugar. Instead, seniors should consume more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and seafood, lean meat and poultry, legumes, calcium-rich foods, tofu, and eggs. Seniors can find more information on how to find balance between the foods they eat, what type of exercise they should be getting, as well as how to eat with a chronic illness by downloading a copy of the Healthy Eating for Seniors guidebook, which can be found by clicking here.