Teenagers can become obese thanks to lack of physical activity and not paying enough attention to a healthy diet. It is important, especially during the teenage years, to have a healthy diet plan. Proper nutrition plays a very important role in building a strong body that will keep you looking and feeling good.
Many teenagers think that if they skip meals they can lose weight; however, skipping meals deprives your body of the nutrition you need to keep energized. A good way to start eating a nutrient-rich diet is by incorporating the basic food groups.
Grains can provide your body with the needed carbohydrates to keep energized. Choose anything made from whole wheat because the high-fiber content can help you lose weight. You can find whole wheat varieties of many of your favorite carbohydrates, such as bread, rolls or pasta. You can eat whole-grain cereals, oatmeal, bagels and English muffins for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, a cup of brown rice would provide fiber and carbohydrates.
Eat fruits daily, for they are a great source of vitamins and fiber. They also help people combat chronic illnesses when they’re eaten regularly. According to the Center for Disease Control, teenagers should eat at least 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits daily if they only get less than 30 minutes of physical activity. You can increase the amount of fruit intake if you exercise more. Some good fruits to try are apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, grapefruit, melons, mangoes, peaches, raisins and strawberries. Apples and oranges are good choices, too; however, eat them in moderation if you want to lose weight, because of the high carbohydrate levels of apples and high sugar content of oranges. Drinking 100% fruit juice is better than drinking soda or artificial fruit juices.
Teenagers should eat veggies. Vegetables are good beta-blockers and can fight chronic illnesses when they’re eaten daily. An average teenager should eat at least 2 cups of vegetables a day to benefit from their nutritional value. Eat them fresh, such as in salads, or eat them steamed to cut calories. If you have to eat sautéed vegetables, use only olive oil and avoid putting in too much salt. Broccoli, carrots, spinach, zucchinis, green beans, green peas, kale, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, tomatoes are some examples of must-have vegetables.
Milk and Milk Products
Teenagers should drink a glass of milk in the morning for breakfast and a glass of milk at night before going to bed. Use fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk instead of whole milk. You can also substitute milk with buttermilk. Eat fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheese or low-fat yogurt in regular or frozen form.
Meat, Poultry and Fish
Teenagers should take care to eat the right proteins, such as those coming from lean meat, poultry and fish. Beef, pork, chicken, fish, shellfish and game meats are beneficial to the body. Choose only lean meat and remove any visible fats. The cooking method of choice for a healthy diet is broiling, roasting or poaching. Remove the skin from chicken because of its high fat content.
Nuts, Seeds and Legumes
Nuts are also high in protein. Some good examples to choose are almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. Peanuts and mixed nuts are also great; however, eat them in moderation, for sometimes they have high fat content. Avoid eating nuts with too much salt. You may also eat sunflower seeds for snacks. Examples of legumes to eat are kidney beans, split peas and lentils.