The Best Diet for Middle-Aged Women

Middle-aged women are at a crossroads in life, where, in addition to worrying about their waistlines, they should also begin to worry about their longevity. An ideal diet for a middle-aged woman will help you lose weight and avoid the potential pitfalls of aging, including increased blood pressure, diabetes and cardiac conditions. According to Katherine Hobson, a fitness correspondent for US News and World Report, the DASH diet helps middle-aged women accomplish their fitness and health goals.

The DASH diet consists of whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. On average, you will want to consume between eight to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day, which means that you will want to be consuming roughly one fruit and one vegetable per meal. Regarding whole grains, aim for six to eight servings per day. Ensure that your whole grain sources are labeled 100 percent whole grains, otherwise they will contain unwanted content from refined flour, which will not do anything positive for your waistline. Round out the diet with six or fewer servings of lean meat each day. Healthy lean meat sources on the DASH diet include poultry, fish and low-fat red meats, such as 90 or 95 percent lean ground beef. Consume only two to three servings of fat heavy food per day (such as nuts, butter, coconuts and various types of seeds). Most of your dietary fat should come from unsaturated sources like cooking oils, nuts and fat-containing fruit like avocados. Limiting salt is also an important part of the DASH diet, so be sure to consume less than 2,000mg per day by eliminating your use of table salt and consumption of high sodium foods like chips, pretzels and other types of canned or processed food. Always check the label information for your desired food type and choose the alternative that contains the least amount of sodium.

Sample Diet
A sample diet for a day is an easy introduction to DASH-style eating. For breakfast, prepare two whole grain waffles, topped with fresh strawberries and served with a two scrambled eggs, an orange and a large glass of low-fat milk. For lunch, cook a bowl of whole wheat pasta with low-sugar and low-sodium tomato sauce, mixed with four ounces of 95 percent lean ground beef. On the side, have a pear and a small bowl of baby carrots. For dinner, prepare a large serving of heart-healthy seafood of your choice--lobster, crab, shrimp or fish. Serve your meal with a large salad containing cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, low-fat cheese and a low-calorie vinegar dressing. Have one or two 100 percent whole grain dinner rolls on the side for added fiber. To bolster your intake of fruits and vegetables, snack on dried fruit throughout the day, along with tasty treats like celery with natural peanut butter.