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Top Ten Tips for Teen Nutrition

Posted Jul 18 2009 10:42pm

For those of you who attended my “ Nutrition for Teens and Parents Workshop ” on Sat, July 18th – thanks for coming! Here is a summary of the key points we covered:

1. Eat mostly whole foods – foods that are unprocessed or unrefined or processed and refined as little as possible before you consume them. When you do eat from a package – the fewer ingredients the better and you should be able to identify those ingredients. Know and understand what you put in your body!

2. Eat more vegetables! The more the better! Vegetables have the highest nutrient density of all foods and they’re delicious if you know what to do with them

3. Beware of misleading marketing when purchasing whole grains – particularly  cereals  and breads. Branch out and try some new whole grains if you’ve gotten into a rut. Try quinoa for example, which contains the highest protein content of all whole grains and is a complete vegetarian protein.  

4. Teens need lots of bone building nutrients as well as iron. Speaking of bone-building nutrients, drink milk – it’s the original sports drink!

5. Make sure you’re eating adequate lean protein – growing, active teens need plenty of it. A simple gauge is to eat half of your body weight in protein grams.  

6. Don’t be afraid of fat – just choose the healthy kind. The beneficial fats are  polyunsaturated fats found primarily in cold water fish, some nuts, seeds and oils and monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, seeds, avocados and olives and vegetable oils. Polyunsaturated fats also help decrease inflammation and can help alleviate mild depression. 

7. A healthful, easy-to-digest, low-fat snack combining complex carbohydrates, lean protein and a little healthy fat will facilitate a high-quality workout. Here are some suggested pre- and post-practice snacks or mini-meals:

 -Whole grain cereal and milk

-Plain Greek yogurt with berries and a few chopped walnuts or slivered almonds

-1/2 of a turkey or peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread

-Small handful of nuts and a piece of fruit

-apple and a hard-boiled egg

-Banana dipped in natural, no-sugar-added peanut butter or almond butter

8. If you want to keep your skin acne-free, avoid eating a lot of sugar and other simple carbohydrates but do eat a lot of vegetables and fruits.

9. Eat “brain foods”, those high in Omega 3 fatty acids,  the night before a big exam. Salmon, tuna, scallops, walnuts, flax oil and chia seeds are all good sources. The morning of your test, eat a good breakfast containing complex carbohydrates, lean protein and a a little healthy  fat.

10. Strive for a healthy weight –one you can maintain by eating nutritiously and exercising regularly, but also one that allows for some indulgences.

These suggestions are geared toward a general audience. For a  comprehensive, customized nutrition plan  tailored to your family or teen’s needs, please visit  my website  for more information.

Be Well,


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