Serving Sizes for the Average Woman
Follow-up from my video segment
If you’ve made it to this blog post, likely you followed the link from my video from Bootique Fitness San Diego. I’m writing this post to give you a resource to follow up on the information I provided there.
An important point to consider is that you may need different recommendations based on your individual needs and goals. If you have blood sugar control issues, are having trouble losing weight, or want to follow a more “paleo” style diet, these carb guidelines may not be individualized enough- you will need to see your dietitian or nutritionist for more specific recommendations.
Most women with weight management and fitness goals should aim to eat not much more (and in many cases, less) than 30 grams of overt, starchy carbohydrate per meal. 30 grams is about “fist-sized”.
You can use food labels to identify serving sizes and carb content, measuring cups to serve yourself at home, and “eyeballing” a fist-sized amount when eating out.
Examples of ~30 grams carbohydrate
- 1/2 cup of pasta and 1/2 cup of green peas
- 2/3 to 1 cup of beans
- 1 cup of sweet potatoes or 1 small to medium potato
- 1/2 cup oats and 1 cup berries
- 1 small piece of fruit and 1 piece of toast
- 6-8 oz of unsweetened yogurt and 1/2 cup chopped fruit
- 2/3 cup of quinoa or brown rice
- 1/3 cup rice and 1/3 cup beans
- 2-3 corn tortillas
Make your carbohydrates “low glycemic“, these are primarly whole foods that come in nature’s packaging. As always, make sure your plate is full of colorful vegetables, sufficient protein, and healthy fats. This will provide valuable nutrients and help keep you full and satisfied.
Most women require about 50-70 grams of protein daily and some current research shows that 90 grams daily is ideal for improving health and preventing chronic diseases such as obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and sarcopenia.
I recommend 15-20 grams of protein before lunch. Whether you get all of those grams at breakfast or mix it up with a mid-morning snack, getting a solid dose of protein earlier in the day will balance your blood sugar and help to keep cravings and fatigue at bay.
Eating at least 15 grams of solid protein 3 times daily will assure that you are meeting your needs.
When choosing animal sources of protein go organic for your dairy products and pasture/grass-fed for meats. Choose products without additives or preservatives. One of my favorite brands is Applegate Farms.
Examples of ~15-20 grams of protein:
- 2 eggs or 1 whole egg + 1 gg white
- 1/3 cup beans and 1 egg (Huevos Rancheros! watch those tortillas….)
- 2 Tbsp almond butter + 1 string cheese
- 3 slices of turkey, 1 slice of organic cheese
- 2-3 ounces of chicken or chicken sausage
- 2 slices of bacon/turkey bacon + 1 egg
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese + 1/4 cup walnuts
- 8 oz Greek yogurt + 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened soymilk (or regular milk) + 1/4 cup nuts or seeds
- 1/4 cup almonds (about 1 handful) and 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup lentils and 1/4 cup seeds
- Most protein powders provide between 15-20 grams per scoop
Again, always always add color and fiber to your meals with a variety of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits. Some of my breakfast favorites are greens, red peppers, mushroom, avocado, tomato, berries, and apple or pear.