Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Teens Health - MyPlate Food Guide

To help people make smart food choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designed an easy-to-follow symbol: MyPlate. The plate graphic, with its different food groups, is a reminder of what — and how much — we should be putting on our plates to stay healthy.

How MyPlate Works

The MyPlate graphic has sections for vegetables, fruits, grains, and foods that are high in protein, as well as a "cup" on the side for dairy. Each section is a different size and color coded (green for veggies, red for fruits, orange for grains, purple for protein, and blue for dairy) so you can see at a glance how much of these foods to eat.
My Plate
The plate graphic reminds us of the following nutrition needs:
  • Choose variety: The best meals have a balance of items from different food groups.
  • Half of your plate should be vegetables and fruits.
  • About one-quarter of your plate should be grains and one-quarter protein.
  • Drink fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and water instead of soda, sports drinks, and other sugary drinks.
  • Avoid over-sized portions.     continue reading article here...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Teens

How to be a better you this year.
Here's a list of the most common New Year's resolutions - and, more importantly, some ideas for getting started on them (and actually keeping them past January 1st).

1. Get Healthy

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
Getting healthy doesn't just mean losing weight. It can also mean playing more sports, making healthier eating choices or just resolving to get off the couch a little more often. Make one small change at a time - like riding your bike to school instead of taking the bus, or ordering a salad instead of a burger - and you'll have an easier time keeping this resolution.

2. Get Happier

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
This is a little more of an abstract resolution that can mean different things to different people. See if you can find ways to boost your self-esteem, or just spend more time doing things that you love instead of things that make you feel bad about yourself. The links below can help you find a way to get started.

3. Be a Better Person

by Michael Buckner, Getty Images
Being a good person - by donating your time or old stuff to those in need, or just by throwing some random acts of kindness into your daily routine - feels so good that it can be addictive. Get the do-gooder party started on one of these pages:
continue article click here........

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Teen Nutrition Tips

(tips for the girls and tips for the guys)

As a teenager, you have special diet requirements due to the sudden growth spurt and changes in your body. Now is the time to exchange the junk food for healthier alternatives. It’ll make you more attractive now and healthier later on.

Tips for the girls

Balance your energy levels. It's important to stay active when you hit your teens. Although your energy needs are high at this age due to all the changes in your body, adolescence can also be a time of weight gain if you’re not careful. Take part in sport and replenish your energy levels by eating moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates. These include starches rich in fiber, such as whole-wheat bread, fruit and vegetables.
Keep strong with calcium. Because of speedy muscular, skeletal, and hormonal development, your calcium needs have risen tremendously. Interestingly, 45% of your bone mass is added during your teens. So stock up on the milk, yogurt and cheese – but choose the low-fat or fat-free alternatives if you're concerned about your weight.
Bring on the fruit and veggies. Eating too little of nature’s own medicine can lead to cancer and other diseases later in life. At least five portions of fruits and vegetables are recommended per day.
Iron it up, baby. Due to the onset of your periods, a large amount of iron is lost every month. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which may impair your immune response and decrease your body’s resistance to infection. Anemia is also associated with a lack of energy and concentration ability – not a good thing if you want to keep up those good marks. Try to include iron-rich foods in your diet, such as liver, beans, potatoes, oats, raisins and dried peaches.
The skinny on fat If you're concerned about gaining weight, the answer is not to cut out all the fat in your diet. Some fats are actually good for you. Fish like tuna, sardines and salmon contain beneficial fats and should be consumed on a regular basis (at least twice a week). You should, however, try to cut back on pastries, baked products, junk food and sweets.
Start the day the right way. Stop that mid-morning doughnut craving dead in its tracks by eating breakfast – this way, you won’t gain those extra kilos. Plus, there’s no denying it: skipping breakfast has a definite effect on concentration and school performance levels. A generous helping of fruit, high-fiber cereal or oats, and milk or yoghurt will kick-start your day.
A to prevent acne. Vitamin A has been proven to be effective in the treatment of acne. It reduces the production of sebum – the white fatty substance found in the body’s pores. Find all the vitamin A you need in orange and red fruits and vegetables such as carrots, melons and tomatoes. Large amounts of vitamin A can, however, be toxic. So don’t overdo it.

Tips for guys

Cut the fast food. Your mom’s been telling you this for years. Fast foods tend to contain lower amounts of the right stuff: iron, calcium and vitamins A, B and C. These foods are usually sky-high in fats as well. If you eat out, try to settle for a healthier option such as pasta or a whole-wheat sandwich.
Hold back on the proteins. While protein is absolutely necessary for normal growth and development, you should be wary of overdoing it. Excessive intakes of protein can interfere with calcium metabolism, which can lead to osteoporosis later in life. Too much protein can also increase your fluid needs and this may put you at risk for dehydration while exercising.
Iron, man. Due to the build-up of muscle mass during your teens, the blood volume of your body expands. An increase in blood volume calls for an increase in dietary iron intake. It's possible to boost your diet with iron without including unnecessary amounts of protein. Try to include alternatives to meat such as potatoes, dried fruit, dark green vegetables and beans.
Zinc it up. This mineral is crucial to your body’s normal development, especially your sexual maturation. There is also some evidence that zinc can help in the prevention of acne. Work this mineral into your diet by eating moderate amounts of fish and shellfish on a weekly basis.
Fluid, fluid, fluid. It's very important to maintain a fluid balance at all times. If you're active, even more so. Exercise produces heat, and fluid is important for maintaining a body temperature that maximizes performance. A good sports drink contains all the right stuff to replace lost electrolytes. Drink at least a cup of fluid every 15-20 minutes during exercise and two cups afterwards.  

 Complete article at   http://bit.ly/JLQjBU  Additional information  http://bit.ly/1beWhRk

Best Teen Diets believes the best nutrients are found in lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts; fruits and vegetables; whole grains; and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.  Crafting a diet that addresses your individualized nutritional needs will establish the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ten Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year. Over a lifetime, holiday weight gain can really add up. The holidays don't have to mean weight gain. Focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun. By implementing a few simple tips you can stay healthy through the holiday season.
  1. Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.
  2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Try 10- or 15-minute brisk walks twice a day.
  3. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
  4. Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  5. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
For the last five tips, see the original article, "Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating" by Greta Macaire, RD

Best Teen Diets recommends healthy well balanced eating that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low-fat or fat-free dairy. We offer nutrition information for teens, parents and educators that emphasizes the importance of healthy eating for teens. For more information visit www.bestteendiets.org

Sunday, December 8, 2013

High Protein Snacking

Whether it’s fueling up before hitting the gym or taking a mid-day snack break to avoid the 2 o’clock lull, high-protein snacks are the tastiest way to keep on going. Protein snacks are the perfect way to fill up just enough, and give us longer-lasting energy than the usual, carb-heavy options.

Cottage-Style Fruit: Top ½ cup cottage cheese with ½ cup of your favorite fruit. Why not try some superfoods? Bananas, mixed berries, and melon are some great choices.

Mixed Nuts or Trail Mix: This is a favorite in the Greatist office. Mixed nuts are an easy way to get a delicious dose of protein in a convenient, shelf-stable package. Try a mixed bunch for variety and a combo with dried fruit for some added sweetness. The best bang for your protein buck? Almonds and pistachios are high up there in protein while comparably lower in saturated fat than their nutty peers

Pumpkin Seeds: Those orange gourds aren’t just for Halloween. The pumpkin insides, scooped out to make room for spooky faces, can actually make a healthy little snack once they’re washed, dried, and nicely roasted! Just ½ cup of pumpkin seeds has about 14 grams of protein — the perfect pre-workout snack!

Hard-Boiled Egg: Inexpensive and loaded with nutrients, eggs are one of the best ways to get a healthy dose of protein. Try hard boiling and pre-peeling a dozen at the start of the week and throw one in a small Tupperware container each day for an easy on-the-go snack. (Feeling extra famished? Slice the egg and place it on a piece of whole-wheat bread.)

Nut Butter Boat: Any vehicle for nut butter (almond, peanut, or cashew, perhaps?) is perfection in our book. Try loading a few celery sticks with 1 tablespoon of any nut butter topped with a few whole almonds or raisins (oh yeah, we went there). If you’re not a fan of celery, try scooping out the middle of an apple and fill it with a nut buttery surprise!

Mini Bean-and-Cheese Quesadilla: It might take an extra minute to prep, but combining these two high-protein treats is worth it! Fold ½ cup black beans, 1 tablespoon salsa, and 1 slice cheddar cheese in a small soft tortilla. Cook in a dry nonstick pan until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly browned. Wrap in foil and stick in a plastic baggie for easy transport.

Hummus Dippers: How’s this for an unconventional use of a travel coffee mug: Put 2 tablespoons of a favorite hummus in the bottom of the container. Stick a handful of vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, and snow peas are a great mix!) vertically in the hummus, screw on the top, and throw in a purse or gym bag for an easy, on-the-go, super-healthy snack.

Chocolate Milk: No, we're not going back to preschool. Low-fat chocolate milk is actually a great source of high-quality protein (especially post-workout)! Try keeping a single-serving, shelf-stable box in your gym bag (or purse) for snack attack emergencies — just try to find one that’s also low in sugar! 

For more snacks and the rest of the article click here: 31 Healthy and Portable High Protein Snacks

Best Teen Diets recommends healthy well balanced eating that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low-fat or fat-free dairy. We offer nutrition information for teens, parents and educators that emphasizes the importance of healthy eating for teens. For more information visit www.bestteendiets.org

Sunday, December 1, 2013

WHY Do I Need Water?

You probably know that your body needs water throughout the day, but do you know exactly why? We found a laundry list of reasons why you should drink up!

  • Fluid balance. Roughly 60 percent of the body is made of water. Drinking enough H2O maintains the body’s fluid balance, which helps transport nutrients in the body, regulate body temperature, digest food, and more.
  • Calorie control. Forget other diet tricks — drinking water could also help with weight loss. Numerous studies have found a connection between water consumption and losing a few pounds. The secret reason? Water simply helps people feel full, and as a result consume fewer calories.
  • Muscle fuel. Sweating at the gym causes muscles to lose water. And when the muscles don’t have enough water, they get tired. So for extra energy, try drinking water to push through that final set of squats.
  • Clearer skin. Certain toxins in the body can cause the skin to inflame, which results in clogged pores and acne. While science saying water makes the skin wrinkle free is contradictory, water does flush out these toxins and can reduce the risk of pimples.
  • Kidney function. Our kidneys process 200 quarts of blood daily, sifting out waste and transporting urine to the bladder. Yet, kidneys need  enough fluids to clear away what we don’t need in the body. Let's drink to that!
  • Productivity boost. In order to really focus, a glass of water could help people concentrate and stay refreshed and alert.
  • Fatigue buster. Move over coffee — water can help fight those tired eyes too. One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is tiredness. Just another reason to go for the big gulp! (Not the 7-11 kind.)  

  • Pain prevention. A little water can really go a long way. Aching joints and muscle cramps and strains can all occur if the body is dehydrated.
  • Keep things flowing. Nobody wants to deal with digestion issues. Luckily, drinking enough water adds fluids to the colon which helps make things, ahem, move smoothly.
  • Sickness fighter. Water may help with decongestion and dehydration, helping the body bounce back when feeling under the weather. Just beware — drinking fluids hasn’t been scientifically proven to beat colds in one swoop, so don’t swap this for a trip to the doctor or other cold remedies.
  • Brain boost. A study in London found a link between students bringing water into an exam room and better grades, suggesting H2O promotes clearer thinking. While it’s unclear if drinking the water had anything to do with a better score, it doesn’t hurt to try it out!

    For the full article: 12 Unexpected Reasons to Drink More Water This Year by Laura Schwecherl

    Best Teen Diets recommends healthy well balanced eating that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low-fat or fat-free dairy. We offer nutrition information for teens, parents and educators that emphasizes the importance of healthy eating for teens. For more information visit www.bestteendiets.org

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prepare your portions!!! How much should you go for?


Serving Size Equivalent: Light Bulb
No Thanksgiving’s complete without some silky-smooth pumpkin pie. But that portion shouldn’t cover the whole plate. Opting for just a light bulb-sized slice is a brighter idea, with about 50% of the daily vitamin A recommended daily, plus some vitamin K, calcium, and iron to boot. The downside: a slice this small still racks up about 160 calories, 13 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of fat.


Serving Size Equivalent: Bar of Soap
The name pretty much says it all with this carb-heavy dish. While there are plenty of stuffing recipes low in fat and cholesterol, 20 grams of carbs for every 28-gram serving is nothing to be thankful for. Oh right, it’s delicious, though… For a more guilt-free version of the good stuff, try opting for a whole wheat version packed with healthy seasonal veggies instead.


Serving Size Equivalent: Deck of Cards 
Twelve-pound turkey for two? Turns out that big bird could (and should!) feed more than just a Kate Plus Eight-size family. Opt instead for a 4-ounce portion of the lean meat, which can pack up to 32 grams of protein (more than half of what’s recommended daily). More active than most? Go ahead and carve up some seconds, just opt for skinless meat to keep it nice n’ lean.

Find out more on your other favorite dishes at "This is One Serving: Thanksgiving Favorites" by The Greatist
Best Teen Diets recommends healthy well balanced eating that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low-fat or fat-free dairy. We offer nutrition information for teens, parents and educators that emphasizes the importance of healthy eating for teens. For more information visit www.bestteendiets.org