Have you ever thought about the sacrifices women have to make? At a recent conference, plenty of people were quick to offer their opinions on women giving up their careers to raise children, or swapping in the family surname for the husband's name – but not many of us knew the health sacrifices we should be making. Here they are – how many do you know?
Okay, so we all know that we should be snacking on apples and berries really, but with all the reports on how much sugar is in a piece of fruit, combined with the high prices, we are all guilty of reaching for man-made sugary snacks instead. It’s not just your waistline that’s at risk from the biscuit tin, though – your heart is, too. To give your heart enough of the protective compounds it needs, we need to snack on brightly colored fruits instead. Try keeping bananas in your crisp cupboard, or whizzing up a batch of berry smoothies in the mornings, to make healthy snacking easier. Sugar for fruit really is one of the sacrifices women have to make – I’m making a really good go at it!
I love a good pudding… whether it’s a strawberry-topped meringue or a sugar-covered pancake, there’s nothing quite like the perfect dessert after a meal. Finding out that your average slice of cheesecake contains 500 calories is somewhat less appetizing… Swap the desserts for a few squares of dark chocolate instead. Not only will you half the calories, but you’ll give yourself a good dose of antioxidants too.
Between 9 and 5 you might be at work, but that doesn’t mean you have to be sat down! Try to fit in as much exercise as possible during the day, and you’ll soon see the benefits. Just walking into town to grab a healthy lunch can make a big difference, and exercise releases endorphins that’ll make you feel great. If getting out and about isn’t an option, walk between floors using the stairs, and make as many trips to the kitchen/photocopier/telephone as possible to keep yourself active.
Already counting down til 5 p.m.? Many women admit to winding down with a glass of chilled wine in the evenings, and while that’s no bad thing, everyday drinking can be much more difficult to moderate. Give yourself as many alcohol free days as you can per week, starting with a minimum of two. You’ll have more energy, lose weight, boost your skin and wake up happier. Win!
It’s thought that over half the viewers of everyday dramas are women, so it’s no wonder we all like to settle down and watch them together. You don’t need to be sat down to pay attention, though – try gently stretching through the program, and doing more active exercise such as skipping or star jumps in the ad breaks. It might sound like nothing, but you’ll soon see the results, and feel more energized.
Fish can be expensive, but it’s often recommended as a great diet food. Why? Well, most seafood is very low in fat, and calories. Even frozen fish is packed with nutrients and goodness! Current guidance is to eat at least two portions of fish per week, with one being an oily fish such as tuna or salmon. As well as getting all the benefits of Omega 3, such as boosted concentration and a healthier heart, it’s thought fish might boost female fertility. It’s definitely something you should squeeze into your diet!
Red meat guidance seems to be flying around all over the place – and it’s frequently aimed at men. A recent study in the UK found that the majority of red meat portions served in restaurants exceeded a male’s daily allowance, and were well over a woman’s, making it very difficult to control what you eat. Red meat has recently been linked with an increased risk of bowel cancer, so cutting down is important. Try cutting down your portion and adding more vegetables instead, or making steak into a stew with root vegetables rather than eating a large piece with chips.
Breakfast companies are always targeting their new products at mums – why? Because they are the group that are most likely to skip eating in the morning. Whether it’s getting the kids ready or rushing off to work, women tend to brush over until lunch, and there are a variety of sweet, snacky products around to tempt you. A grilled bacon sandwich on wholemeal bread is a great breakfast, or opt for a fruit-filled porridge to save time. You’ll feel better for it, eat less and have more energy.
Do you make all of these food sacrifices women have to make? I’ll admit, I’m pretty bad right now – and I love a bowl of children’s cereal in the morning! I’ll definitely be making some changes to my diet. I’d love to know if you’ll be joining me!
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