Wednesday, June 24, 2015

10 Healthy Eating tips for Teen Girls

Having been a mom to boys for almost all my mom-hood, it was pretty surprising to me how different girls are. I don't think I have done a ton of things to make her be different, I bought my boys dolls and I bought Alice Legos (even though they were pink). But girls, whoooo-eeeEEE!! They are completely different creatures.

At some point girls start having much different nutritional needs than boys - it probably starts right around the time girls start to be Really different than boys. Maybe right smack in the middle of boys have cooties and boys do not have cooties years. (or months depending on your girl)

But here are some tips to help start excellent healthy habits that can benefit the growing body and mind of girls. The information here is from My Plate and as always, you can find excellent, easy to understand information there.

1. Start now to build strong bones. Like a savings account, little amounts and a lot of time make all the difference. Start now to build strong bones and to create healthy habits that will keep you healthy and strong you entire life. Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, especially milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. They contain vitamin D and Calcium for your bones. Also be active every chance you get. This not only will help you build strength in your muscles, but keep you entire body functioning at its best.

2. Cut back on the sugar and sweets.  As girls we all like to joke about how much we love chocolate and ice cream and perhaps eat cake for breakfast, but hopefully we recognize that those choices are for special occasions, rare treats and not a lifestyle and certainly not a coping mechanism. Soda isn't going to ever make you any less thirsty and not only are you consuming all that sugar and empty calories, but you are missing out on all the healthy benefits that water or low-fat milk and even 100% juice can provide (but you still need to take it easy on the juice)

3. Go Go Whole Grain Grains have really taken a lot of bad press lately. Celebrities brag that they lost weight by giving up bread and the fad diets encourage you to give up grains of any kind. The truth is, this is a terribly unhealthy way to live your life. Whole grains are amazing for you, they provide nutrients, vitamins and fiber. Try and make at least half of all the grains that you eat whole and avoid as much as you can grains that are overly processed. And then you'll really be making some smart decisions.

4. Choose vegetables with lots of color. We girls are born loving rainbows. Let's embrace that about ourselves and eat as many colors of fruits and vegetables as we can get our little painted fingernails on. Red peppers, orange squash, dark green kale.... you can almost be sure that the more colorful the fruit or vegetable the more vitamins in has in it for you. So rainbow that plate up because blueberries are blue!!

5. Check nutrition label facts for Iron. 40% of teen girls don't get enough Iron. Read the labels of food that you are eating to make sure you are getting enough. Lean meats, eggs and beans have protein, so do a lot of fortified breakfast cereals and breads. If you aren't getting enough, talk to your Dr or parents about taking a multivitamin with Iron.

6. Be an Example. Just like you can be influenced by the choices of others, your choices can inspire others. Be a role model and spread the word about great nutrition. Don't be a food shamer, and don't be a food preacher. Help your friends and family to make good choices by showing them how good you feel and how easy (and YUMMY!) it is to make healthy food choices.

7. Try something new. There is a delicious new favorite food out there, just waiting to be discovered by you. I remember vividly discovering hummus, pad thai, mangoes, caprese salad. If I had never been brave enough to try them, I would not have ever found some of my most favorite foods in the world. Get out there and eat the world...Lentils and Quinoa, heirloom tomatoes and papaya.

8. Make moving a part of everything you do. Start now to make your life an active one. Aim for at least 60 minutes of activity a day. But making moving a part of your entire life - have activity be something that you are.. Dance, yoga, biking, hiking, swimming - taking walks after stressful days to clear your head - or celebrating an accomplishment with trip to the beach or the mountains.

9. Include all the food groups daily. Like riding a bike or doing a hand stand - balance is key! That is one of the most important parts of having a healthy lifestyle - for your whole life.. Balance. If you interested in seeing just what you eat and how you move explore SuperTracker or My Plate.

10. Everyone is Different - and Everyone is Amazing This is a little bit of a strange one for a healthy eating tip, but I feel like it is really important. We are women do a lot of stressing about what we look like and how much we weight and whether or not we "measure up". We spend a lot less time (if any at all) focusing on how we Feel - and how we are taking Care of ourselves. I spent my entire high school life living on Coke-a-cola and chewing gum. No wonder I never had any energy!! Taking care of yourself in the best way possible will give you the BEST YOU possible.