Healthy eating habits begin at home. As your children get older and eat more meals and snacks away from home, making sure they understand what a healthy diet is becomes increasingly important. With the rise in obesity in the U.S. – especially among children – it is incumbent upon parents to not only set the example but help their teen understand how to go about eating healthfully.
Helping your Teen Understand Nutrition Information
Understanding what she is taking into her body and how it impacts her can help your teen have a healthier attitude about eating.
Protein – is the main component of muscles, hair nails, skin, eyes and internal organs. It is necessary for growth and healthy red blood cells. Proteins can be found in dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt, soy products such as tofu and soymilk, beans, nuts poultry, beef and fish.
Carbohydrates – is a source of energy and an essential structural constituent of animal cells. It plays an integral role in the functioning of muscles, internal organs and the nervous system. Carbohydrates include simple sugars and more complex macromolecular sugars. Foods high in carbs include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. However, carbs that should be limited are the simple kind such as pre-packaged cookies, cakes and soda. Simple carbs have a negative effect on the body’s blood sugar and on a teen’s mood.
Fat – is your body’s energy reserve and it also insulates you. Your body will burn it like fuel when your diet doesn’t provide enough fat. Most people think of fat as bad but there are both positive and negative fats. Negative fats include saturated fats which are found in animal products and hydrogenated fats which are used in many pre-packaged baked goods. Positive fats include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. A lack of these has been linked to depression, ADHD and learning disabilities. Good sources are flax, cold water fish, olive oil and avocados.