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Adolescent Nutrition

What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and is something that should be taught at a young age. The following are some general guidelines for helping your adolescent eat healthy. It is important to discuss your adolescent's diet with his/her physician prior to making any dietary changes or placing your adolescent on a diet. Discuss the following healthy eating recommendations with your adolescent to ensure he/she is following a healthy eating plan:

Making healthy food choices:

The food guide pyramid, designed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services, is a good guideline to help you and your adolescent eat a heart healthy diet. The Food Guide Pyramid can help you and your adolescent eat a variety of foods while encouraging the right amount of calories and fat.

The pyramid below applies to anyone 6 years of age to adulthood. Consult your adolescent's physician for more information.

Food Guide Pyramid for Adults, USDA
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Healthy eating during adolescence:

Healthy eating during adolescence is important as important body changes during this time affect an individual's nutritional and dietary needs. Adolescents are becoming more independent and making many food decisions on their own. Many adolescents experience a growth spurt and an increase in appetite and need healthy foods to meet their growth needs. Adolescents tend to eat more meals away from home than younger children. They are also heavily influenced by their peers. Meal convenience is important to many adolescents and they may be eating too much of the wrong types of food (i.e., soft drinks, fast-food, processed foods).

Further, a common concern of many adolescents is dieting. Girls may feel pressure from peers to be thin and to limit what they eat. Both boys and girls may diet to "make weight" for a particular sporting or social event.

The following are some helpful considerations as you prepare meals for your adolescent:

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