Another great perspective on healthy eating as a teen written by the lovely Gen from Healthy Chocoholic. I guess we should just deem this week healthy teenage week, huh?
Not many teenagers today make the choice to live a “healthy” lifestyle. Packaged, processed food and fast foods are just too convenient. We think that we can eat whatever we want while we’re young, and adopt healthier lifestyles later on in life. What many of us don’t realize is that, even if someone don’t necessarily “look” unhealthy, if they are fueling themselves with inadequate food, they are unhealthy. Now, this in no way means that we should never, ever eat pizza or have some cake and ice cream. It is just important to view these types of foods as treats and not as daily meals.
Healthy food is yummy, too! We need certain nutrients and vitamins to fuel us, which can be found in a wide array of foods. There are so many small modifications that we can make to our eating choices that can make such a big difference in our overall health. Swapping white bread for whole wheat is one option. Choosing soft tortillas over fried taco shells, or grilled meat over fried meat is something else that just about anyone can do. Learn to read labels and look for essential nutrients, but also to savor anything decadent or to eat the “not-so-healthy” foods every once in a while, and to truly enjoy them. I think that one problem that many teenagers face is that we get so accustomed to eating the same highly processed foods every day, that we don’t appreciate them as much. If these foods become treats, then we will enjoy them more when we do eat them, as opposed to eating them purely out of habit.
Here is what a typical day looks like for me:
- Breakfast: 1/3 cup cooked oatmeal topped with peanut butter, fruit, and cinnamon.
- Morning Snack: Yogurt, cottage cheese, granola bars, or more fruit.
- Lunch: Turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion, bell pepper, and condiments like mustard or salsa with a side of wheat thins or something similar.
- Afternoon Snack: Similar to my morning snack.
- Dinner: If eating out, I try to look for a grilled meat with a side of some sort of vegetable and a starch. At home, I usually eat something similar to that, like chicken, roasted veggies, rice, and beans, or soup and a sweet potato topped with some butter and cinnamon.
I also have chocolate in some form practically every day. Its my absolute favorite thing, and I don’t want to deprive myself of it. I also usually drink 100% juice at least once a day, and lots of water.
Be creative, choose to eat food that is more wholesome than Pop Tarts and burgers. You’ll find that educating yourself about nutrition and making the right choices will give you so much more energy, and you’ll feel great! Also, you’ll learn to truly enjoy a treat, instead of just eating it because its available.
Teenagers: how to do you feel about healthy eating? How do your eating habits vary from your friends?
If you’re an adult how do your eating habits differ now from when you were younger? Were you interested in being healthy when you were a teen?