The best anti-aging diets for women over 50 are well-balanced, delicious, and sustainable for a lifetime. Knowing how to maximize nutrition for women over 50 helps you look younger, feel your best, and boost your quality of life!
Basic Nutrition Tips for Women Over 50
When you’re over 50, it’s important to keep a few things in mind when getting or staying healthy is your goal. Whether you’re seeking weight loss, fat loss, weight maintenance, or muscle building, your basic nutritional needs remain the same. Try the following healthy eating tips for women below:
#1 Calculate Your Calorie Needs
Your individualized calorie needs vary, but women over 50 usually have lower calories requirement than their younger peers. That’s because metabolism tends to slow down over time.
Moderately active women over 50 usually need about 1,800 calories daily and active women over 50 might require up to 2,200 calories daily to maintain their weights, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
To effectively build muscle you might require a similar number of calories or slightly more, depending on the duration and intensity of your workouts.
If weight loss is your goal, aim to eat about 1,200-1,500 calories per day to drop 1-2 pounds weekly.
#2 Get Plenty of Protein
Protein is an important nutrient for women over 50 as it helps you maintain lean body mass, stay full longer, and boost metabolism. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein for women is 46 grams per day, but this is a minimum requirement.
To aid in weight and fat loss, eat up to 1 gram of protein per pound of your desirable body weight each day. This equates to eating 130 grams of protein daily if your goal weight is 130 pounds.
Choose protein-rich chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy foods, plant milks, protein shakes, tofu, seitan, legumes, nuts, and seeds to meet daily protein requirements.
A 3-ounce portion of grilled chicken contains about 26 grams of protein, 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides 28 grams, a container of Greek yogurt yields about 17 grams, and a portion of three eggs provides almost 19 grams of quality protein.
#3 Focus on Fiber
Fiber is important regardless of your weight and body composition goals.
This essential nutrient is crucial for digestive health, keeps cholesterol levels in check, and is beneficial for healthy weight management.
Fiber-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Women over 50 should aim for at least 21-25 grams of fiber each day!
You can meet fiber goals by following a healthy, well-balanced diet for women over 50.
For example, 1 cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber, a cup of green peas yields 9 grams, 1 cup of cooked lentils or black beans provides 15 grams, and cooked quinoa offers about 5 grams of protein per cup.
#4 Fill Half Your Plate with Vegetables
Vegetables are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
They aid in healthy weight management and reduce disease risks too. Aim to fill half of each plate with vegetables, and make sure they are non-starchy veggies if weight loss is your goal.
Non-starchy vegetables are lower in calories and carbohydrates than starchy foods, containing just 10-40 calories in each 1-cup portion.
Examples include leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, and bell peppers.
Starchy vegetables are an important source of energy and fiber too. Fill about one-fourth of each plate with starches (whole grains, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, beans, lentils, or other legumes).
#5 Eat Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium is an important nutrient for women of all ages, especially those over 50, because it helps you maintain strong bones. Aim to consume 2-3 servings of dairy foods or calcium-rich dairy equivalents daily as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. One serving of dairy foods equates to about 1 cup (cheese is an exception).
Examples of calcium-rich, high-protein foods and drinks include low-fat cottage cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, reduced-fat cheese, and plant milks – such as soy or protein-fortified almond milk.
Protein shakes for women are usually an excellent source of calcium too.
#6 Consume Healthy Fats
Healthy fats rich in omega-3 fatty acids can do wonders for heart and brain health. These fats help you maintain healthy-looking skin, nails, and hair, and increase satiety. Choose nutritious fats at each meal, such as avocados, plant oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters, fish oil, and olives.
#7 Take Dietary Supplements
Taking dietary supplements for women can prevent nutrient deficiencies, keep energy levels high, and aid in weight loss, fat loss, or muscle building.
For example, drinking protein shakes in place of meals helps control calories for weight loss, and consuming protein smoothies between meals supports lean body mass or aids in muscle gains.
Consider taking multivitamin, probiotics, omega-3, or calcium/vitamin D supplements if your levels are low.
Your doctor can let you know if you're deficient in certain nutrients.
#8 Drink 12 Cups of Water
Regardless of your weight and body composition goals, drink lots of water daily to stay hydrated, keep energy levels high, and reduce toxin build-up within your body. Drink water before meals to boost satiety and avoid overeating if weight loss is your goal.
Aim for at least 12 cups of water or other fluids daily – but steer clear of alcohol, sodas, lemonade, sweet tea, juices, and other sugary drinks.
Sample Menus for Women Over 50
The best diets for women over 50 are well-balanced to prevent nutrient deficiencies, boost energy, and help you maintain lean body mass. You can stick with nutritious diets long-term vs. “quick fix” fad diets.
Make sure each healthy breakfast you choose includes protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Examples include:
#1 Protein Shakes
Healthy protein shakes for women often contain plant milk, protein powder, and fruit or nut butter plus ice. For weight loss, eliminate the nut butter or use a small amount of it. If muscle gain is your goal, add extra protein powder or nut butter to a smoothie to increase its calorie content.
#2 Vegetable Omelet
Choose a high-protein breakfast, such as a veggie omelet, to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Consider a 2- or 3-egg omelet containing asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, or peppers (or combinations of these) plus olives, avocados, or feta cheese to complete the dish.
#3 Avocado Toast with Uncured Turkey Bacon or Eggs
Change things up in the morning by trying avocado toast using whole-grain Ezekiel bread, smashed avocados, and uncured turkey bacon or eggs. This breakfast is as delicious as it is nutritious and will keep you satisfied for hours.
#4 Oatmeal or Whole-Grain Cereal
Add extra protein to fiber-rich oatmeal by preparing it with protein-fortified milk or protein powder before cooking it. Or, choose whole-grain cereal topped with protein-fortified almond milk, fruit, and sliced almonds or walnuts!
#5 Black Bean Scramble Recipe
Try this black bean scramble recipe to get a boost of protein, fiber, and flavor during your first meal of the day. Ingredients include eggs, black beans, salsa, seasonings, and shredded cheese.
Simply follow the recipe instructions, which take just 10 -15 minutes to complete, and enjoy your nutritious breakfast!
Substitute reduced-fat cheese, avocados, or a small amount of vegetable oil for regular cheese or eliminate the cheese entirely if you’re trying to cut calories for weight loss. Use tofu in place of eggs and nix the cheese when following a vegan meal plan.
#6 Matcha Green Tea Protein Smoothie
When you're ready for an energy-boosting breakfast that keeps you full for hours, try this matcha green tea protein smoothie recipe. Ingredients include vanilla almond milk, matcha green tea powder, vanilla protein powder, and ground flax seeds. Simply blend the ingredients together in a blender with ice and enjoy!
Your options for healthy lunches are endless. As with breakfast, choose lunch meals that are well-balanced and satiating.
#1 Veggie Burger
Try a veggie or black bean burger topped with greens, tomato slices, and avocados for your next nutritious lunch.
Eat it on a whole-grain bun or over a bed of leafy greens if you're trying to cut calories.
#2 Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad
All you need to make a chicken Cobb salad is grilled chicken (or canned chicken if you’re tight on time), leafy greens, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and onions plus sunflower seeds (or avocado slices) and an oil-based dressing of your choice!
#3 Turkey and Artichoke Sandwich
You’ll need unprocessed turkey slices to create a delicious turkey sandwich for your next lunch meal. Top whole-grain Ezekiel bread with sliced turkey, Swiss cheese or avocado slices, plus greens and artichoke hearts. This sandwich is bursting with flavor and your entire family will love it.
#4 Cauliflower Crusted Veggie Pesto Pizza
To increase the nutrition content of pizza without the extra calories or carbohydrates, try this homemade cauliflower crusted veggie pesto pizza recipe. Ingredients in it include ready-made cauliflower crust, pesto sauce, tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Bake the pizza according to the recipe instructions for just 15 minutes at 425 degrees F.
#5 Tuna Salad
Mixed canned light tuna with avocado oil-mayonnaise, and eat it on whole-grain Ezekiel bread or greens with other veggies for a satiating lunch that’s loaded with nutrients.
During dinner time, aim to fill about half of each plate with vegetables, one-fourth of your plate with protein foods, and one-fourth of the plate with fiber-rich starches. Examples of healthy dinners for women over 50 include:
#1 Salmon and Vegetables
Salmon (or another type of fish) plus vegetables creates the perfect blend of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.
Prepare the dish with olive oil to further boost satiety, and serve it with quinoa, brown rice, or a sweet potato if you'd like.
#2 Shrimp Kabobs with Veggies
Shrimp is loaded with protein and fills you up without extra calories. Try a shrimp kabob recipe that uses shrimp, lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings, and add your favorite vegetables to the kabobs to create a heart-healthy, nutrient-dense dinner!
#3 Greek Salad
Studies show that Mediterranean dieting promotes disease prevention and healthy aging. When you’re in the mood for something light for dinner (or lunch), try this Mediterranean-style Greek salad recipe. Ingredients include lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, seasonings, olive oil, and lemon juice. It’s the perfect meal for a hot summer day!
#4 Chicken, Rice, and Green Beans
Prepare grilled chicken with wild rice, green beans (topped with slivered almonds), olive oil, and your favorite seasonings to create a nutritious dinner for women over 50. Substitute asparagus sautéed in oil and sesame seeds for green beans if you’d like.
#5 Tofu Stir Fry
Go vegan with this tofu stir fry recipe, as studies show plant-based diets enhance can weight loss. Ingredients include tofu, spinach, green onions, canola oil, cloves, sesame seeds, chili paste, seasonings, and low-sodium soy sauce. Stir fry the ingredients together and eat them as is or over brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.
Healthy Snack Ideas
Nutritious snacks are just as important as healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners when maintaining a healthy weight and achieving optimal health are your goals. Try the following snack ideas for women over 50:
#1 Roasted Chickpeas
This roasted chickpeas recipe is simple to make and loaded with satiating protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Simply roast chickpeas with olive oil and seasonings for about 30 minutes, let the mixture cool, and enjoy!
#2 Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Low-fat cottage cheese is loaded with satiating protein and calcium, which is why it’s one of the most nutritious snacks for women over 50. Eat it by itself or top cottage cheese with nuts, seeds, fruit, or unsweetened granola.
#3 Greek Yogurt Smoothies
Protein-rich smoothies for women work well as meal replacements or between-meal snacks. Blend together Greek yogurt (or plant-based yogurt if you prefer) with fruit or nut butter plus ice if you’d like! Add protein powder to further increase the protein content of your smoothie.
#4 Veggies with Hummus or Yogurt
Most Americans don’t eat as many vegetables as they should, but dipping vegetables in hummus or Greek yogurt enhances the flavor and boosts satiety.
Dip celery, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, or pea pods in hummus or plain yogurt to create a flavorful, fiber-rich snack!
#5 Fruit with Nut Butter
Fruit dipped in nut butter is nutritious and satiating. Top apple slices, bananas, or pears with almond, peanut, or cashew butter.
#6 Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and other nuts and seeds make the perfect snack for women over 50. These nutrient-dense foods are loaded with protein, fiber, AND heart-healthy fats. While nuts and seeds are higher-calorie foods, studies show they aren’t associated with weight gain and are linked with healthier body weights.
Join the Healthy Eating Bandwagon!
The best diets for women over 50 for weight loss, fat loss, muscle building, and healthy weight management are well-balanced and sustainable long term. But achieving your goal weight and physique involves more than simply choosing the right meal plan. Motivational support from health experts, fat-burning workouts, and additional healthy lifestyle habits are the key to long-term success.
The Fit Mother Project offers FM30X is a weight loss and healthy weight management program with proven success, designed for busy moms of all ages. Give it try free of charge by singing up for the FM30X 3-day weight loss jump start kit today!
Writer, The Fit Mother Project
A 15-year freelance writing veteran, Erin is registered dietitian and health educator who is passionate about health, fitness and disease prevention. Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife and mom of two beautiful children.