When we’re young, it seems that a diet of cookies, chips and pizza works out okay. You know, as long as we participate in P.E. class and don’t eat too much! But, as we age and the metabolism slows down, those same foods go straight from the mouth to the hips. OR, in my case, the belly. Add in chronic health issues, and those calories travel even faster to the places we don’t want them!
Now, if I was vain, I’d be talking about how to lose weight and get back to that bikini bod. BUT, I didn’t have a bikini bod in my 20s and I don’t expect to have one in my 50s.
So, what should we be talking about with diet and health?
How can we know what is considered healthy eating for 50 year old women?
Heck, what is healthy eating at all?
If it’s not about how to lose weight, what is it? Honestly, it should be about how to feed our bodies so they can run well. But, fad diets and supplement commercials make it hard to know what healthy eating is.
But the noise in our culture gets in the way!
How many of us have tried the grapefruit diet? the cabbage soup diet? How many people have tried severely restricting calories to lose weight only to gain it right back? We have to do better. For ourselves. For our daughters. For our future.
As a 53 year old who battled a long-hidden, health sucking disease, I was frustrated with my own body.
My disease driven diet, which made me crave sugar and carbs for the energy the disease stole, was adding to the problems of high triglycerides (a measure of sugar), high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I got super serious about a healthy diet super fast! I made abrupt changes, eliminating sugar, processed carbs and sodium the best I could.
And, while I needed surgery to correct the underlying issues, I drastically improved my health while waiting for surgery. I turned my attention to finding healthy foods that taste great AND would help me fight the disease.
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5 foods I eat every day to be healthy
I’ve been eating a relatively balanced diet for a 50 year old woman since last October. Amazingly, the sugar cravings disappeared within the first two weeks. Not only that, I started craving healthy foods! These are the five I eat every single day! I am healthier, stronger, and my blood pressure and cholesterol continue to improve. It’s pretty exciting to be the family member with the most stamina — yes, even more than my teen daughter!
Even better, as time passes, I find more healthy foods that taste great to add to my daily diet.
Oat bran, like Bob’s Red Mill oat bran cereal, is the outer part of the oat grain, what gets removed to create “whole oats” used in oatmeal. This outer part of the oat grain is very rich in fiber, a half cup dry provides 15% of our dietary fiber needs. It’s also rich in vitamin B, magnesium, iron and selenium. Some of the fiber in oat bran is “insoluble” which means it passes through the body, taking impurities with it. Fiber also helps us feel more full so we eat fewer calories.
I cook oat bran much like oatmeal with a water to bran ratio of three to one. I cook it in the microwave for about three minutes, stir it and add nuts and cinnamon. The consistency is similar to cream of wheat.
Nuts: walnuts, Pecans or Almonds
A balanced diet for 50 year old women should include nuts as well. They contain a number of vitamins and minerals, are fairly fiber rich and healthy, unsaturated fats. However, not all nuts are created equal. They don’t help if they’re covered in sugar — so skip the chocolate covered peanuts and candied nuts — hear that candied pecan fans? (Sorry!)
Dry roasted nuts and the mixed nuts that come in a can aren’t good either. They are roasted in fat and covered in salt, neither of which we need to add to our diets!
Stick with the nuts you can find in bags in the baking aisle. If you want to make the flavor richer — you know, healthy foods that taste great — try roasting them for 3 minutes in an air fryer to bring out the flavor and crunch.
This 4 quart air fryer is a great option for cooking healthy foods, like roasted nuts!
But beware, you CAN have too much of a good thing! A serving of nuts, which is calorie dense, is only 1/4 of a cup. Measure them until you know what a serving looks like!
When I gave up sugar, I didn’t give up my love of sweet foods. Not even close! To ease the craving, I bought a bag of clementines and ate one every time I wanted something sweet. The first few days, I ate a lot of little oranges! But, at only 35 calories, packed with vitamin C and high in water content, I found it a healthy way to move from processed sugar to natural sugar. I now eat one each day — usually as dessert after dinner.
I also eat grapefruit several times a week, though I know some people cannot have grapefruit. The tang is so refreshing to me, truly one of the healthy foods that taste great which I most enjoy!
See? Diet and health can taste good! Just find the healthy foods that you enjoy and eat them. In moderation of course, as part of a balanced diet!
Plain Greek Yogurt
Oh, I can hear the groans now!
And, there was a time when I’d join in! I didn’t just wake up one day and decide that plain, Greek yogurt was my new favorite food.
It is high in vitamin D and calcium, providing about 20% of our daily needs in one 6 oz cup (about 100 calories). And, if you’re looking for the best diet for women over 50, anything that provides a dense concentration of vitamin D and calcium should be on the list! These nutrients are essential to bone strength as we age.
It’s also high in protein, providing about 15 grams per serving. Again, when it comes to healthy food for a 50 year old woman, protein is important! We lose muscle mass as we age, and without adequate protein, that happens more quickly. So, healthy protein (coupled with exercise) can help us stay strong well into midlife!
Another benefit of protein is it helps stave off hunger! I eat yogurt in the mid-afternoon to tide me over until dinner time. It helps me fight the sugar cravings — and I might even smile when I eat it, knowing I’m helping my bones and muscles fight the aging process! (If you knew me “IRL” — in real life — you would smile at the image that brings. You know I smile over such silly things!)
Make that plain yogurt taste better by adding in these yummy foods:
- 1/2 tsp of pure maple syrup — and the nuts for the day,
- 1 tsp of unsweetened, all-natural fruit preserves,
- 1 tsp of unsweetened coconut flakes (even better if toasted),
- Fresh or frozen berries or other all natural fruit.
Okay, true confession. I drink coffee. Every. Single. Day! My family knows that until I’ve had my first cup of coffee, I’m fairly useless. Back in my lawyering days, I drank coffee all day long. I was among the many who claimed, “I just don’t like water!”
You can — AND SHOULD — learn to like water! It’s the building block of most of our bodies. And without adequate water, we end up with headaches, dry eyes, wrinkles and other health issues.
Now, I’m not saying that if you suddenly start drinking water, all your wrinkles will go away. But, hydrating your skin from the inside out will improve the look of wrinkles. It should improve dry, cracked skin. So, that’s the vanity reason for drinking water.
But, your brain, heart and body NEED water to function properly! Both your brain and your heart are about 75% water. Just like your houseplants will wither without proper watering, your brain and heart “wither,” too.
Have a headache? Feeling brain fog? Weary? When was the last time you had water?
When I started drinking ENOUGH water every day — and less coffee as a result — I got fewer migraines! I’m down to 1-2 a month or less. I sleep better. I think more clearly. I feel good.
Around our house, the moment someone says they’re tired or have a headache, the first question out of anyone’s mouth is, “When did you last drink water?” It’s AMAZING!
Tips to drink more water!
Drinking water when you’re not thrilled about it can be tough. Here’s how I switched.
- Start by adding 8 ounces, just one cup, daily each week than you normally drink. Keep going until you get to 64 oz. per day. So, if you don’t drink water at all — I know you’re out there — drink one cup of water each day the first week. The second week add another cup of water each day for the whole week, or 16 ounces. In eight weeks, you’ll be a happy water drinker, too!
- Drink it earlier in the day! If you wait until just before bed, you’ll wake up during the night mad that you drank water at all. Been there. Done that!
- Fill a fruit infuser water bottle with flavors you like. Try these — just dice the fruit and crush the mint leaves:
- Apple and cucumber,
- Citrus (my favorite is grapefruit, of course),
- Pineapple and mint,
- Kiwi and berry, or
- Ginger and pear.
- Use a filtered water pitcher if you don’t like what comes from the tap.
- Chill it if you like cold water. Don’t if you prefer room temp!
Do not substitute juice for water. It might be tempting, BUT, juice is mostly the sugar calories of a fruit without the benefits of the fiber that fill you up. You will sabotage your health if you drink fruit juice all day long! The same is true for lemonade, sweet tea and coffee drinks. They do not have the same benefits that water does.
Save this post for later
I sure hope this inspired you to make diet and health changes to benefit yourself going forward. I know that as I looked into the best diet for women over 50, I found that it’s not as hard as I thought. Eat for strong bones (yogurt), strong muscles (also yogurt) and a focused mind (water). Add heart smart foods like high fiber oat bran and heart healthy nuts to keep going strong. I know I am stronger than I have ever been in my whole life. I have more strength and stamina, too. It’s never too late to say yes to a healthier lifestyle!
Save this post — and please refer to it when you need encouragement. It’s not about how to lose weight (though that might happen), but how to live a healthy, balanced life. Blessings, my friends…. now pin it!