Good nutrition is essential for everyone, but it’s especially important for growing teenagers. Unfortunately, many Australian teenagers have an unbalanced diet.
Many teenagers eat junk food every day. This might be sugar-sweetened drinks like fizzy drinks and high-kilojoule foods like potato chips, doughnuts or French fries. However, your body can’t run properly on poor fuel.
Small changes can make a big impact. Try to:
- Cut back on sugary drinks like soft drinks and energy drinks. Sugar-free versions are okay to drink sometimes, but sugar-free frizzy drinks are still acidic, which can have a negative effect on bone and dental health. Water is the healthiest drink – try adding a slice of lemon, lime or orange for flavour.
- Keep a fruit bowl stocked at home for fast, low-kilojoule snacks.
- Eat breakfast every day so you’re less likely to snack on junk food at morning tea. A wholemeal or wholegrain breakfast cereal that is low in sugar served with low-fat milk can provide plenty of vitamins, mineral and fibre. Other fast and healthy options include yoghurt or wholemeal toast.
- Don’t skip lunch or dinner either.
- Help with the cooking and think up new ways to create healthy meals. Make those old family recipes lower in fat by changing the cooking method – for example, grill, stir-fry, bake, boil or microwave, instead of deep frying.
- Reduce the size of your meals.
- Don’t add salt to your food.
- When eating out at chain fast food stores, check the kilojoules listed on the menu and choose the lower kilojoule option.
- Don’t eat high-fat foods every time you visit a fast food outlet with your friends. Many of the popular fast food chains now have healthier food choices on the menu.
- Change your meeting place. Rather than meeting up with your friends at the local takeaway shop, suggest a food outlet that serves healthier foods, such as wholemeal rolls with vegetable fillings or sushi.