It is generally acknowledged that eating healthy foods is key to staying healthy, both physically and mentally. This is especially true for growing teens whose nutrients needs are higher as their bodies are undergoing critical changes and development during this period. Sadly most teens take healthy eating for granted, paying little attention to what goes into their system. They simply have poor eating habits, preferring fast food and sugary drinks that can jeopardise their health in the long run. Eating healthy is always to our benefit, and so here are five tips for keeping a healthy eating habit.
- Don’t play with breakfast
The importance of having breakfast each morning before setting out for the days work cannot be over emphasized. At night our metabolic rate slows down as no food is ingested and so taking breakfast in the morning brings our metabolism back to normal, thereby invigorating the brain and body. Breakfast improves ones performance and concentration and also provides strength and stamina for the days activities. A teenager who eats breakfast regularly is more likely to do better in school and engage in regular physical activities. Eating healthy breakfast helps us make better eating decisions for the rest of the day. Most teenagers prefer to skip breakfast, the girls think this will help in losing weight but the opposite is the truth. Research has shown that breakfast skippers tend to weigh more than those who eat breakfast regularly. A wholemeal or wholegrain breakfast cereal that is low in sugar served with low-fat milk can provide plenty of vitamins, mineral and fibre. Other fast and healthy options include yoghurt or wholemeal toast.
- Maintain three square meals
As with everything in life, dis-organisation is not a good way to go about things. Teenagers love to eat anytime and anyhow they feel like. We should all be thoughtful and deliberate on how we eat. Avoid nibbling on chocolate bars, taking a mouthful of hot dogs, gulping down fizzy drinks or eating ice cream here and there at all hours of the day. Maintaining three square meals a day is a healthy habit one should cultivate. A three square meal simply means eating a substantial and nutritious meal three times a day, that is breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Eat nutrient-rich foods
When eating, it is not quantity that matters but quality. Do not compromise on nutrient rich foods. Nutrients are substances that provides the body with all the essential nourishment for proper development and growth. Examples include carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and water. Teens should eat meals that contain the necessary nutrients in the right proportion. In addition it may be difficult for teens to give up their sugary drinks, so the best thing to do is to cut down on it a little and take more of water.
- Take enough fruits and vegetables
Teenagers don’t consume fruits regularly and they certainly don’t enjoy eating vegetables. But fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (which prevents ageing). They play a crucial role in the prevention of diseases. For example, vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots help keep our skin and eyes in good condition and prevent infection. Oranges and strawberry are rich in vitamin C which keeps our gums and teeth healthy. Also because fruits and vegetables are low in calories, they help in weight management.
- Don’t over eat
Never over eat. This is a very bad habit. There is little sense in filling up your stomach to such an extent that standing up would become a problem. When you over eat, the enzymes in your digestive system will not be able to quickly breakdown the food and this would lead to the build up of toxins. Over-eating can cause weight gain which if not checked may lead to obesity. It can also cause diabetes, coronary artery disease, in this case the arteries becomes narrow which can lead to a host of life threatening heart related problems. When eating, modesty is always the best policy one should cultivate. Form a habit of eating until you are 70-80 percent full.
Teenagers should always put healthy food habits on top of their list of priorities. It will only cost a little but will benefit them greatly. Healthy food habits would lead to physical, mental and even spiritual well-being. For teenagers who are particular about feeling and looking good, maintaining a healthy eating habits is a guaranteed and safe way to achieve this.
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