Nutrition - Creating healthy eating habits






Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day is very important to meeting nutritional needs. It is nearly impossible to get all nutrient needs in only one or two meals each day. This way of eating may lead to overeating and poor food choices because people may get too hungry to think clearly about what and how much they are going to eat. Irregular meals may be one of the reasons many people struggle to maintain a healthy weight. In fact, skipping meals in an effort to lose weight it is a common mistake. Depriving oneself of a meal or particular food in order to lose weight may lead to bingeing (a period of uncontrolled eating) or poor eating later in the day.

Never skip meals. Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day is very important to meeting nutritional needs. (UPI/Corbis-Bettmann. Reproduced by permission.)
Never skip meals. Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day is very important to meeting nutritional needs. (
UPI/Corbis-Bettmann
. Reproduced by permission.)

Hunger usually wins out and irrational food choices can result. Smaller, more frequent meals or snacks is a sensible way to remain energized and get all of the servings needed from the five food groups each day.

Don't Forget Breakfast

The meal most often neglected by teenagers is breakfast. It is an easy meal to skip as people rush to get out the door to school or to work, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast literally means to "break a fast" (a fast is a period where little or no food is eaten), in which the fasting period is the time that the person was sleeping. A person's body needs fuel in the morning to help spark metabolism. Breakfast fuels people up with enough energy to learn and be active throughout the day. It can help to keep concentration at a better level and energy high. Breakfast can make a difference in how a person feels all day. Quick and easy breakfast ideas include granola bars, bagels, English muffins, cereal, and frozen waffles. A glass of milk and juice or fruit balances it out.

SAMPLE EATING PLAN FOR TEENS

Breakfast

1 cup cereal (grain)

3/4 cup orange juice (fruit)

1 slice wheat toast with jam (grain/extra) or peanut butter (meat)

1 cup low-fat milk (milk)

Lunch

2–3 slices ham (meat)

2 slices wheat bread (grain)

1 teaspoon low-fat mayonnaise (extra)

Carrot and celery sticks (vegetable)

Apple (fruit)

1 cup low-fat chocolate milk (milk)

Snack

1 cup low fat fruit yogurt (milk)

3 Fig Newton cookie bars (grain)

Dinner

Grilled chicken breast (meat)

Tossed salad with low-fat salad dressing (vegetable/extra)

1 cup rice or noodles (grain)

1/2 cup spinach (vegetable)

Dinner roll with margarine (grain/extra)

1 cup low-fat milk (milk)

Snack

Light microwave popcorn (grain)

1/2 cup fruit juice or 1 serving fresh fruit (fruit)

Remembering the dietary guidelines' recommendations and utilizing the food pyramid is the key to a healthy diet. Spend lots of time at the bottom of the pyramid, less time at the top, and choose carefully from the middle. Drink plenty of water each day and balance food choices with exercise to help maintain a healthy weight.

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