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Healthy Eating For Teenage Girls
Being a teenager is not the easiest time when it comes to dealing with weight changes brought on by puberty and peer pressure to look a certain way. However, but focusing on health and nutrition, you can develop healthy habits that will keep you looking and feeling healthy and fit throughout your teenage years and into later life. Your teens are a time when you require the good nutrition in order to make sure you grown and develop as you should.
Focus on health not weight loss
What magazines advertise is not the ideal
With magazines filled with stick thin, airbrushed models and constantly being bombarded with what is considered to be the ‘ideal’ body shape, it can be difficult to accept what you have ended up with if it doesn’t fit this mould. It is also common for teenagers to feel that they will not be attractive to the opposite sex, or popular if they do not look a certain way.
Too much weight loss is not good
It is important to remember that too much weight loss has many negative consequences for the body and your health. Everyone is made differently, and whilst one person may be very thin naturally and not suffer any negative health effects, for others this weight will be unachievable without putting your body under dangerous stress.
Stay away from extreme diets
Extreme diets that restrict calories to very low levels can cause changes such as hair loss, unhealthy skin and hair, irritability, depression, loss of menstruation and infertility and in extreme cases heart failure and even death.
In your teenage years your body is also still growing and developing, so by following very extreme diets there is a risk of not growing and developing as you should and also of not consuming the nutrients needed for things like bone formation which may increase risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Improve your eating and exercise habits
It is essential to think about these negative consequences and consider if they are really worth it for the loss of a few pounds more. If you are unhappy with your weight, rather than focusing on a specific goal weight, try to improve your eating and exercise habits in a healthy way, you will soon find that you feel and look better and often lose weight along the way.
Many teenagers who start very restrictive, strict diets find them impossible to maintain for very long and usually end up gaining back all the weight they lost and then some by their early twenties. By developing healthy habits you are more likely to have control over your weight and health in the long term and are less likely to pile on the pounds once you get a bit older and your metabolism slows down.
It is also important to remember that as a teenager you often go through a ‘puppy fat’ phase where you put on a little weight due to the changing hormones in your body. Most teenagers grow out of this phase, so even if you feel you have gained a few pounds, keep up a healthy exercise and diet and more than likely this phase will pass.
How to deal with outside pressure
Teenage girls are under a lot of pressure from the media, friends and even family to look a certain way. It is important to remember that the women in magazines are airbrushed and have access to makeup artists, personal trainers and fantastic clothes in order to look this good and probably don’t look nearly so great without all this help. Be realistic in your expectations of how you look and you will be happier with yourself.
Remember as well that whilst the skinny girls may seem to be the popular ones now, often this changes when school is finished and you are out in the real world. Often people who have made friends and gained popularity through their looks will end up without any other attractive qualities to fall back on when their appearances changes with age. Those who have friends because of their generous personality, their humour or their intelligence are far more likely to be popular later on as these characteristics do not fade.
Easy Healthy Changes
In order to make over your diet and improve how you look and feel, here are some easy changes to make. There is no need to obsess over calories and look at the fat content of everything that passes your lips if you are aware of the basics of nutrition and make healthy choices the majority of the time.
1. Drink water
This is the best drink as it is calorie free and contains no artificial ingredients that may be found in low calorie beverages. Drinking plenty of water improves the condition of your skin and hair, boosts your metabolism and can also help fill you up. Avoid sodas and juices as these are very high in calories and sugar and can contribute to weight gain and dental problems if consumed to excess.
2. Eat wholegrain
Whole grain products such as pasta, bread, and brown rice are an excellent way to get the carbs you need as well as plenty of essential B vitamins and fibre. In your teenage years you are growing and often active, so it is important to include some carbohydrates to fuel your body in these processes. Whole grain products also tend to fill you up more so you eat less than more processed versions such as white bread.
Also read: How to increase your whole grain intake
3. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
These are low in calories and high in nutritional value. By cutting down portion sizes of protein and carbohydrates slightly and increasing the amount of vegetables on your plate you can easily reduce the calorie content of a meal and provide yourself with valuable nutrients in the process.
Also read: How to eat more fruits and vegetables
4. Choose lower fat cooking methods
By steaming, grilling, boiling or baking food without adding fat you can cut a lot of calories and still enjoy the foods you love. Avoid fried foods as these tend to be higher in fats and often the bad fats that are unhealthy for the heart. Cutting any visible fat from meat before cooking and avoiding the chicken skin can also cut the fat. A little healthy fat such as in olive oil, avocado or nuts has been shown to have health benefits and may even help with weight loss.
Also read: How to cook healthier meals
5. Snack healthily
If you are hungry between meals, make sure your snacks are healthy as snacking is an easy way to add a lot of extra calories without really meaning to. Try fruit, low fat yogurt, hummus with vegetables to dip or a few unsalted nuts for healthier options.
Along with a healthy diet, exercise is the other factor that will improve your health and how you look. Try to do some exercise each day, be it running, swimming or a dance class. Get your friends involved to make it more fun and find something you enjoy to make it easier to stick to. Doing exercise will help tone muscles as well as make you feel more energetic.
7. Choose healthier options when eating out
When eating out beware of very high calorie take away and fast foods. Choose foods that are based on vegetables, grilled or steamed and stay away from fried foods.
8. Cook from scratch where possible
By cooking yourself, you are in total control of what goes into your food. This makes it easier to eat more healthily and also to get creative with healthy cooking. A diet does not need to be boring and by experimenting with new methods of cooking and ingredients you can improve your health and make your meals more interesting.
9. Use low fat products
Simply choosing low fat products when there is an option is a good way to reduce fat and calories. There is no need to eliminate foods such as dairy products from your diet and in fact these provide the essential calcium needed to build bones during the teenage years, but by choosing low fat versions you are limiting your intake of unhealthy fats.
10. Eat a wide range of foods
Diets that eliminate whole food groups are not advisable at any age, but particularly for teenagers whose bodies are still growing and need all the nutrition they can get. For the best healthy, eat a wide variety of foods to get a goof range of essential nutrients for the body and eat from all the food groups. If you choose to be vegetarian or vegan, it is important to find other sources of essential nutrients such as protein to replace meat and be aware that you may need supplements for nutrients such as iron.
If you wish to undertake a particular diet, it is a good idea to discuss the diet with your doctor or a dietician to determine if it is healthy for you, if there are any keys nutrients that you will miss out on and if your weight falls in the healthy range.
Finally, you can also read 50 weight loss tips for even more healthy living tips.10 weight loss tips for teenage girls by Naomi Tupper