HEALTHY EATING AND EXERCISE FOR TEENAGERS
Life can be busy for teens. In between school study commitments, after school jobs and extracurricular activities, teenager’s calendars can fill up fast. If you add travel time to school and activities, young people can sometimes feel as though they don’t have enough hours in the day. (sound familiar?)
Healthy food choices and the right types of exercise are essential for assisting your teens body and mind to function optimally. With so many obligations, it can feel impossible to get the balance right, but with planning, it can be done.
Let’s break it down into manageable chunks.
HOW MUCH FOOD DOES A GROWING BODY NEED TO EAT?
Teenage girls need to consume around 2,200 calories each day, and teenage boys need around 2,800. The source of these calories is important in determining how you feel and perform throughout the day.
Aim to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Five servings can help you manage your weight and keep your heart healthy.
Choose foods from the grains, fruits and vegetables sections at the base of the food pyramid to help build a healthy diet.
Choose a variety of protein foods, like lean meat and poultry, seafood, beans, soy products, and nuts.
Eat small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. Eating small portions frequently can help you to cut back on eating unhealthy snacks between meals.
Cut and bag healthy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Buy fruits that you can place in your school bag and snack on between classes.
Canned tuna in water or precooked chicken is a quick and easy lunch choice and if you add salad, you have a meal. Eating lean protein to helps to build muscle.
School canteens sell low fat milk drinks which can help build and maintain strong bones. Try to choose milk or water instead of soft drinks and high sugar juice.
Eat breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast do better in school, tend to eat less throughout the day, and are less likely to be overweight.
Pay attention to portion sizes and try not to overeat.
Limit sugary food and drinks, and you will feel consistently energized throughout the day.
HOW MUCH EXCERCISE DOES A GROWING BODY NEED TO BE HEALTHY?
Aim for 60 minutes of activity every day. Walk to school, sign up for a fitness class, find a sport you like, or dance in your bedroom. It doesn't matter what you do — just move and have fun!
Cardiovascular activity should comprise the majority of your 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Aim to get your heart rate up and get some sweat on.
The hour of exercise can be broken up throughout the day to help with time management. Breaking it down into two 30-minute sessions of exercise in your day could make it more manageable than one consistent hour. For example, you can achieve this by walking to and from the bus and going for a bike ride in the afternoon.
Strength-training exercises improve your muscular strength and your bone density. They should be part of your 60-minute physical activity at least three days each week. Resistance exercises are easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Make a healthy habit of doing pushups, lunges and abdominal crunches every other morning when you wake up. You can also keep a pair of dumbbells beside your bed to vary your workouts with other strength-building exercises like biceps curls, shoulder presses and squats. Make it fun and you'll find it easy to stay consistent with a healthy exercise plan.
If your teenager insists they don’t have time, aim to reduce computer use, social media scrolling and video game time. Try to limit sedentary time to an our or two per day.
A WORD OF WARNING
Teenagers should avoid fad diets. If it sounds too good to be true or requires that all of your meals come from one food group, you should avoid it. As a teenager, your body is still growing. You need to make sure you are getting proper nutrients. Fad diets often deprive you of these proper nutrients.
HOMEOPATHY FOR TEENS
If you have tried to implement these health strategies with your teenagers and they know what to do but simply can't find the motivation, energy or discipline to make change, homeopathy can help.
It may be worth trying an individual homeopathic remedy prescription to uncover the root cause of why they aren’t able to make better choices. The reason could be due to hormones, stress, lack of confidence or anything else, and the remedy may assist to gently shift their energy, realign their system and help support them to move forward.
If you are concerned about your child’s weight or would like a more personalised consultation to address your specific needs, you can book in to see me via the link in the website.
I am an accredited dietitian and have practiced in hospital settings both in Australia and South Africa.
You can also contact me directly on 0415 847 429.