Elizabeth Tripp, MS, RD
The USDA’s most recent dietary guidelines were released last week, and with them came confusion. We don’t measure our food in milligrams when we cook and restaurants don’t ration portions of salt and sugar. Why should we think about health that way?
This is especially true for teens, so let’s keep it simple. Instead of bringing a scale to your next meal, just keep these 6 pro-tips in mind:
Eat a morning meal
Eating breakfast helps you jump start your metabolism and curb cravings for sweets throughout the day. A morning meal also gives you more energy and can help you focus better in school or at work. Breakfast that boosts your grades? Yes, please.
Avoid skipping meals
It’s not good for your body to go for a long time without nutrition. Plan out your day and throw an apple, banana, granola bar, or some trail mix in your backpack or purse. This can keep your body fueled all day long.
Cut back on sugar sweetened beverages
Most people know that soda is full of sugar — but did you know that drinks like Gatorade and Arizona Tea still have more than a day’s worth of sugar in one serving? Try to cut your number of sugar sweetened beverages in half. If you drink two a day, cut it back to one and have water instead of the second!
Fill in missing food groups
Teens typically eat enough carbs and protein daily, but what are missing are fruits and veggies. It may be hard to get these food groups in at every meal, but get on the right path by trying to get one serving of each every day.
Balance your diet AND satisfy your cravings
Pizza may not be the most nutritious meal, but you don’t have to give it up completely! Try to balance one unhealthy thing you love to eat with a healthy option as well. If you grab a slice of pizza for lunch, eat a banana as well — then you will hit a serving of fruit AND satisfy your heart’s desire.