Obesity is one of the problems society faces. Being overweight can lead to health complications such as diabetes, heart problems and liver diseases. Eating healthy is one of the ways to prevent obesity. The sooner one starts, the better are the chances of leading a full and healthy life. Parents should see to it that their children eat healthy while preteens in order to develop good habits.
Carbohydrates can cause weight gain, but they are not all bad. Highly processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, potatoes and foods with high sugar content may be bad if not taken in moderation. Eating foods high in carbohydrate can increase blood glucose, which can lead to diabetes and other complications. Ensure that your preteen eats the good carbohydrates instead of the bad ones. Whole wheat bread, brown rice and whole grain pastas are some examples of good carbohydrates.
The preteen stage is when children become physically active and are more involved in sports. In order to keep up with their high-energy activities, preteens need a diet that is high in calories. Foods high in calories can lead to weight gain if your child is not active, but they can beneficial if your preteen is very active. Give your active preteen lowfat milk, chocolate drink, malt and ice cream. Avoid high calorie junk food such as potato chips. Go easy on French fries and other diner or burger joint foods. Choose foods that are high in calories but still healthy to eat. Providing balanced nutrition is key, especially for this age.
Choose high protein diet for your preteen to help build strong muscles, which is important as your preteen grows. Provide lean meat, fish, eggs, chicken and plenty of dairy products. There are soy products such as soy milk that are high in protein–you can give them to your child if he is lactose intolerant.
Provide meals rich in vitamins such as calcium, iron and potassium. Calcium strengthens bones while iron helps to maintain normal red blood cell count, especially for girls, who lose red blood cells during menstrual periods. Low potassium leads to muscle weakness, cramping, fatigue, problems with muscle coordination, irregular heartbeat and heart failure.
Yogurt, milk and cheese are rich in calcium. Serve green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli to provide more iron. Fruits such as bananas, apples and oranges are rich in potassium. Ensure that your preteen gets enough vitamins by providing a balanced diet from the basic food groups consisting of meats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products.