Nutrition & diet is very important in teenage years as this is the period of rapid physical & brain growth. Availability of good quality nutrients will help to grow well and prevent macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies .Iron deficiency anaemia was the second leading cause of years lost by adolescents to death &disability in 2016. Iron and folic acid supplements are a solution that also helps to promote health before adolescents become parents. Regular deworming in areas where intestinal helminths such as hookworm are common is recommended to prevent micronutrient (including iron) deficiencies. Micronutrients like zinc , selenium , chromium are necessary for cellular metabolism . Iron is very important as it combines with hemoglobin to transfer oxygen to all cells of the body . Low hemoglobin leads to feeling of tiredness and weakness due to low oxygen delivery to cells .
Developing healthy eating habits in adolescence are foundations for good health in adulthood. Reducing the marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt and providing access to healthy foods are important for all, but especially for children and adolescents.
Development of healthy eating habits are essential
- Eat three main meals a day and 2 snacks .
- Breakfast must be the most important and heaviest meal of the day & should be part of your daily schedule. Eating breakfast gears your body up and awakens your mind in it’s best form for the day ahead. It provides glucose to your brain which is required for proper functioning of the brain.
- Try to keep away from greasy, fatty foods. These foods are hard to digest, as well as being very fattening, and will clog up your system and make you sleepy.
- Use self-restraint when eating sweets, candy, ice cream, etc.
- After many teens realize that they are overweight , they think, ” I’ll just go on a diet for a month or two to take off the extra pounds.”
- Don’t have meals while watching television
- Have family meals together
- Have rainbow coloured meals
- Increase intake of fruits , vegetables , fibre & water
Diets don’t work. when you begin a diet, your caloric intake is much less than normal. Hence , your body responds by using up the stired calories . When body is in the starvation mode , it conserves the fat and uses the enrgy from the muscles . As the diet end , your body starts craving the food and you return to your earlier eating habits . The only way to beat this is through Lifestyle Modfications
.Changing your lifestyle means a conscious change in your outlook on eating habits. A few of the other favorable changes you’ll experience are:
• Greatly increased amounts of energy to apply.
• Heightened perception and ability to concentrate.
• Exceedingly diminished risks of heart disease and cancer.
• Independence from reliance on junk food for “that extra boost”.
Every individual needs vary for different types of people, the Food Guide Pyramid is only a recommendation of appropriate portions and quantities for the average person. Teenagers especially should augment fiber-rich foods near the base of the pyramid.
The Food Pyramid
|Bread, cereal, rice, pasta
|1 slice of whole-grain bread, 1/2 hamburger bun or english muffin.
A small roll, biscuit, or muffin.
5 to 6 small or 3 to 4 large crackers.
1 ounce of cereal.
|A whole fruit, such as an apple, banana, or an orange.
A melon wedge.
3/4 cup of juice.
1/2 cup of berries.
1/4 cup dried fruit.
|1/2 cup of cooked vegetables.
1/2 cup of chopped raw vegetables.
1 cup of leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, or kale.
3/4 cup vegetable juice. (Yuck!)
|Meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts
|Amount should total 5 to 7 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry without skin, or fish a day.
Count 1 egg, 1/2 cup cooked beans, or 2 tablespoons nut butter as 1 ounce of meat.
|Milk, yogurt, cheese
|1 cup of milk.
8 ounces of yogurt.
1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese.
2 ounces of processed cheese.
Few people realize the importance of drinking water and it’s direct effect on your health. Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day can dramatically increase the efficiency of your digestion and metabolic functions.Water is used for many basic functions. If the body runs into a shortage of water, it can cause dehydration or exhaustion. When you drink water during the day, you curb your appetite and are less likely to overeat at meals.
- When your body is dehydrated and you need water, you usually feel tired or hungry.
- Normal reactionary response of eating snacks or other foods does nothing to help the root problem.
- Muscular content: only 25% of excess fat is made up of water, compared to 75% of muscle. Drinking plenty of water helps the effectiveness of exercise.
- When you drink plenty of water it flushes the impurities out of your system, so your internal workings have freedom to operate more effectively
- Try to drink your water throughout the day instead of at one or two sittings.
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight
A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or eating plan is one . What is a healthy eating plan:
According to the Dietary Guidelines, a healthy eating plan:
• Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk
• Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
• Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
• Stays within your daily calorie needs
Eat Healthy and Enjoy It!