When it comes to nutrition information there are many levels ranging from standards all people should fitinto their diets, and more tailored information based on gender, height, weight, activity level, and body type.  Here I am going to move from the general to the more specific, starting with governmental advice for a healthy diet, and moving into information tailored to young women. 

USDA MyPlate


MyPlate is the US Department of Agriculture's most recent dietary guidelines for the American public. This platform includes dietary recommendations as well as how to create personalized action plans that fit your family.

MyPlate focuses on how much of each different food group should be consumed for a well balanced diet.

Here are the basic recommendations for 19-30 year old women.

Fruits: 2 cups/day

Vegetables: 2 1/2 cups/day (important to have a variety of colors)

Grains: 6 ounce equivalents (at least half should be whole grains)

Proteins: 5 1/2 ounce equivalents/day

Dairy: 3 cups/day

Oils: 6 ounces/day

These recommendations are depicted in the plate infographic to the left that shows how much of your plate each group should compose.

Other Important Recommendations

  • Variety is paramount within your diet and all recommended food groups

          - Protein shouldn't just come from meats, also seafood, nuts, beans, and eggs.

          - Fat free or low fat choices should be considered when choosing dairy products.

          - Vegetables should be a variety of colors: dark green, orange, red, starchy.

  • Saturated fats, trans fats, added sugar, and sodium should be limited.

          - Less than 10 percent of calories per day should come from added sugars.

          - Less than 10 percent of calories each day should come from saturated fats.

          - Less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium should be consumed each day.

  • Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, not more than one drink each day.

  • A majority of your nutrients should come from foods, not supplements and vitamins



Photo Courtesy of

Specifics for Young Women:

Iron is a very important nutrient for young women to be consuming. Iron helps with energy levels, especially during menstruation.  It is key for women's health.  The graph to the right shows some main foods that are full of iron.

Folate/Folic acid is an important nutrient for women to consume in the years leading up to child bearing. When not pregnant, 400mcg per day is recommended, and this rises during pregnancy.  The photo to the right shows foods that are rich in folate.

Calcium and Vitamin D are also of particular importance for women.  Women are especially prone to the bone disease, Osteoporosis, and calcium helps to build bone strength.


Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

The Dark Side of Dieting

The above information emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet for a healthy life.  If you are still not convinced, and think restrictive diets are the best option, but click on the photos below for some insight into the dangerous effects of different fad diets.


3. “Start Simple with MyPlate.” Choose MyPlate,, 22 Apr. 2019,

4. “Chapter 1 Key Elements of Healthy Eating Patterns.” Key Recommendations: Components of Healthy Eating Patterns - 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2015,

5. Nutrition for Young Women. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2019, from

Madison Terry

UC Santa Barbara

© 2019 by Madison Terry. 

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