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HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES FOR TEENS
DR. DAVID HILL: Today, we are going to talk about a healthy diet for your teenager. The teenagers pose some special dietary challenges. Kids are growing fast, making lots of bone, lots of muscle, so they need lots of nutrients for that. At the same time, it is easy for teens to become over scheduled and start relying on unhealthy snacks and fastfood to feed their growing appetites.
They also are dealing with body image, and they may be tempted to starve themselves, go on fad diets or eat unusual foods to try and build muscle mass. Lastly, teens are exerting even more control than before over their lives and it may be very difficult for you to influence what they eat at all. The beginning of everyone's day, including teenagers is breakfast. A lot of teens may get in a hurry and decide they want to skip breakfast. They think that is a good way to lose weight. But the best study show us that eating breakfast is one of the best ways to lose weight. People who stop and have breakfast, any breakfast are less likely to eat as many calories later on in the day. They also tend to have clearer heads and perform better in school.
Next your teen can prepare for the coming day by preparing some snacks to bring with him or her on various activities. Teens tend to be busy and over scheduled, so having healthy food with them keeps them from being tempted to snack on chips, soda, or fastfood for the rest of the day. Later on, when they come home, try and preserve some time for a family meal. This is a really important time, not only to develop healthy eating habit but to talk about your family's values, the teen's day, and bring your family close together. I know teens have a lot to do in the evening, but do your best to preserve that. It is going to be good for you and for them. Be on the look out for things like fad diet. Teens maybe tempted by dietary supplements, medicines that they think they can take to lose weight or gain muscle mass, very few of these have any validity.
A teen do need a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and healthy low fat protein sources just like anyone else. Teens are building lots of bones, so they are going to need plenty of calcium in their diet. This should come from low fat dairies, such as low fat milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy products. So, remember teens are growing fast and it is a time that they can develop healthy eating habits or very unhealthy eating habits. Be sure they have a low fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Make sure they eat breakfast. And keep them away from fad diets and weight loss programs. That may be very unhealthy. That is feeding your teen.