Teen Nutrition:
You can show the world how to lose weight

Good Teen Nutrition can put you on the path you want - never dieting again. (Make exercise a habit, and you're set for life.)

You may still be growing; you're definitely still learning. You can learn to eat in a healthy way, even if your family and friends aren't.

Questions about Teen Nutrition

Can I eat snacks? What are healthy snacks for teens?

How should I eat to never diet again?

What should I eat to lose weight?

Nutrients you especially need as a teen

What vitamins do I need?

How much food should athletes eat?

How do I eat right but still "fit in" with my friends?

How do I eat out without gaining weight?

Answers to your Teen Nutrition questions

Can I eat snacks? What are healthy snacks for teens?

Good news, YES!!

You may have heard not to snack, especially if you're trying to lose weight.

For teen nutrition, it's actually better to snack. How?

Try to keep your snacks around 200 calories. This is the only time I pay attention to calories.

It's best to eat a really healthy snack.

But if only choice is to skip a snack or grab some junk food, it's actually better to eat 200 calories of a candy bar. When you go more than 2-3 hours without food, you can mess up your blood sugar, lower your metabolism, and make your body think it should store up on fat (because you're starving). But don't make this the norm; find some healthy snacks you like to eat consistently.

Here are some ideas for snacks for teenagers.

How should I eat to never diet again?

It's not hard, and you won't feel deprived.

First, eat every 2-3 hours. It keeps your metabolism up and avoids blood sugar drops (not good). If you have to wait longer because of school or work, just eat a little extra at the next meal. No problem.

Second, think of a plate with three parts:

• Protein (meat or beans)
• Carbohydrate (potatoes, grains-bread-rice)
• Vegetable

Let's face it - vegetables are usually the problem in a healthy diet for teens (even adults). Most people haven't developed a taste for them.

My advice is keep it simple. Check out these teen-friendly vegetable side dishes. You could even make these yourself.

Now fill in the blanks for a good day of eating:

Why should I eat to lose weight?

Want to skip to the end of the assignment? Skip dieting.

Most people want to really cut down their eating to the bare minimum to lose weight fast. (That's understandable. We get mad at ourselves for gaining weight, and we're impatient to lose it.)

Here's the problem; your body thinks you're starving (like during a drought or flood or war). To keep you alive, it wants to put all the food it can into fat!

I don't recommend temporarily depriving yourself to lose weight (that's a diet). Just go straight to eating right and your weight will melt off.

THE WEIGHT WILL STAY OFF because you changed your eating habits permanently. You learned good teen nutrition.

So, look back up to find out how to eat.

Nutrients you especially need as a teen

You need more calcium as a teenager than any time in your life. You're growing.

Which of these calcium-rich foods can you do for good teen nutrition?

• Milk
• Yogurt
• Cheese
• Orange juice with calcium added
• Breakfast cereal with calcium added
• Oatmeal with calcium added
• Spinach, kale, okra, collards
• Salmon, perch, sardines

Here are some suggestions:

Eat pizza. (Not a whole one - a portion size, which is 1-2 pieces.)
Snack on almonds.
Find a yogurt you like. Add granola to it for a snack.
Drink orange juice (with calcium added) or milk for meals.
Add spinach salad to your dinner.
Eat chili made with white beans.
Look for breakfast cereals high in calcium. See which ones you like.
Add oatmeal to your chocolate chip cookies. (Don't eat the whole batch. Two cookies.)

What vitamins do I need for teen nutrition?

Most people can take a multivitamin. (There's always exceptions. Check with your doctor when it comes to taking supplements and medicines.)

Look above at getting calcium-rich foods in your diet.

Drink soda pop rarely. Carbonated beverages actually take calcium out of your body - not good for teens.

Drink water, milk and juice instead.

Click here for more information about vitamins.

How much food should athletes eat?

If you're down to a good weight and are working out a lot, you'll be able to eat more food.

How much more depends on you - your weight, your activity level, what you're eating.

Follow the eating guides above, but listen to your body. When you're hungry, you probably need to eat some more. (Warning - if you're not eating foods with fiber, you need more food to feel full. A cheeseburger with ketchup on a white bun just doesn't fill you up. Put lettuce and tomato on it or add some carrots on the side.)

How do I eat right but still "fit in" with my friends?

Answer - Portion Sizes. You can eat pretty much whatever you want in the right amount.

Portion sizes follow your hand.

Worried that those meals and snacks will be too small?

First, you will eat 2-3 hours later, and your body truly adjusts to eating smaller meals and snacks in between.

Second, when you are able to incorporate a vegetable (even just carrot sticks and ranch dip), you will feel much more satisfied with your meals. Fiber is your secret defense.

Overnight with friends? Popcorn is a good snack (without tons of butter). Eat the things you like in an appropriate serving size. Then 2-3 hours later, eat again.

How do I eat without gaining weight?

Eat 1-2 slices of pizza. Better with a side salad. Can you eat veggies on the pizza?

Have a single hamburger. Can you get it without cheese? With Veggies on it? Just skip the french fries. Or offer to split fries with your friends. Order a water. Or at least order everything in a small size.

A pasta serving is the size of your fist. You can even ask for a take-home box right when your food arrives.

When served bread before the meal - a serving is the size of your flat hand. After that amount, you'll want to discipline yourself to wait for your entree. You can also move the bread away from you.

You can research "nutrition facts" for a restaurant on the internet before you eat out. Or if you have a smart phone, you can get a free app that lists calories, etc. for restaurants. I use this all the time and have found some better options when eating out.

Teen Nutrition - Never diet again

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