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Diet For Sedentary Lifestyle

As we know, most of us live sedentary lives owing to the nature of our work that demands that we spend most of our time sitting at a desk. Despite knowing the fact that a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits are the main causes of weight gain, we do not have time to exercise. Therefore, a perfect diet for sedentary lifestyle is necessary to avoid gaining weight.

The calorie requirement for an individual depends on many factors such as age, gender, weight, lifestyle, etc. Since people having sedentary lifestyle do not burn calories similar to moderately active people, they have to consume fewer calories in order to maintain weight. However, they still need proper nutrition to prevent malnutrition.

Thus, a well-balanced, low calorie diet for a sedentary lifestyle is best to keep good health as well as maintain healthy weight.

Calorie Requirements

The daily calorie requirement for people with sedentary lives depends on their body frame, weight, gender, and height. Sedentary women aged between 19 and 30 should consume 2000 calories a day, whereas women between the age of 31 and 50 should consume 1800 calories daily. Men usually burn more calories, and the daily allowed calories for men aged between 10 and 30 are 2400; 2200 calories for those aged between 31 and 50.

Food to include

The diet of people who are sedentary should incorporate 45% to 65% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 30% to 35 % fat. Obese people have to adjust their fat intake to 20% of the daily allotted calories.

  • People with a sedentary lifestyle should consume more carbohydrates as the main base of their diets. Instead of simple, refined carbs, healthy, complex carbs such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain, whole wheat products, whole cereals, whole pulses, beans, legumes, etc. are recommended.
  • Ensure to include good sources of protein such as eggs, low fat dairy products, poultry without skin, lean meat, and fish in the daily diet.
  • Good fat forms do not make you gain weight. Eat low fat dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and skim milk. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat forms are high in omega 3 fatty acids and are good options. Seeds, olive oil, and nuts are good sources of healthy fat forms.
  • Ensure to include all food groups daily to gain all vitamins and minerals in the diet.
  • It is necessary to drink plenty of water.  As per the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine, men require 13 cups of beverages and women needs 9 cups of beverages daily. Ensure to drink calorie free water most of the time.
  • Fresh fruits and salads will be a great alternative to salty, fatty snacks.

A sample 1800-calorie meal plan that is appropriate for sedentary women ages 19 to 50 is as follows:

  • 2.5 cups vegetables
  • 1.5 cups fruits
  • 6 ounces grains
  • 5 ounces high protein foods
  • 3 cups dairy foods
  • 5 teaspoons oil

In addition to this diet, one can take 161 extra calories each day.

Sedentary men aged between 19 and 50 can consume 2400 calories each day, and the foods for men with sedentary life include:

  • Vegetables, 3 cups
  • Fruits, 2 cups
  • Grains, 8 ounces
  • High protein foods, 6.5 ounces
  • Dairy foods, 3 cups
  • Oil, 7 teaspoons

In addition to this, men can eat 330 extra calories each day.

Foods to avoid

Apart from following the diet for a sedentary lifestyle, it is necessary to avoid certain food forms that make you gain weight.

  • Sedentary people should avoid unhealthy fat forms such as trans fats. These fat forms also increase LDL cholesterol level.
  • Limit the intake of saturated fats.
  • A person leading a sedentary lifestyle should avoid high-cholesterol foods.
  • Avoid processed foods and junk foods.
  • Avoid sugary drinks such as fruit juices, soda, sweetened tea, etc.

Physical activity is essential to improve overall health; try to increase physical activity as much as possible to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.


Submitted on January 16, 2014