Our kids are our future, and what I have been devoting a great deal of time to recently are how a kid/ teen functions throughout a given day.
We hold a sports conditioning camp every year to promote fitness out here in the valley, and I was alarmed in watching and listening to how some of these kids look, feel and operate during a day. Some of them told me that they always skip breakfast, eat junk food, play video games as much as they can, don’t get regular exercise and are always complaining of fatigue. I wonder why we have a health issue here to be concerned about.
There is a major health concern these days when it comes to adolescent nutrition. There are organizations that are stepping up to the plate recently to help teenagers make better food choices. A big part of the problem is that kids don’t know better. The majority of kids were raised on foods high in sugar and junk which includes fast foods places, movie theatres and convenience stores.
The schools’ cafeterias’ (up until recently) were filled with junk. The food choices were loaded with processed foods and high in sugars and unwanted fat. Some of the choices included pizza, hot dogs, sodas, candy and ice cream. No wonder why teachers are having a difficult time with their student’s attention levels. Some schools now have taken away vending machines, sodas, candy and have added fruits and salads.
We live in a fast paced world and our lifestyles are like the places that most Americans love to dine, in “fast” food places. Kids today skip meals, because either they just don’t have the time, or they say they are not hungry. The problem with skipping meals is that our metabolism slows down, and our energy levels become alarmingly low, which in turn leads to a decrease in concentration levels which then equals bad grades.
The best advice that I can give kids is to eat often but eat in small portions. Your body needs the food to use as energy. When you eat often you maintain normal blood sugar levels, which means that you won’t have “peaks and valleys”. You also want to eat as natural as you can. Meaning eat organic foods. These foods have not been tarnished by adding chemicals such as pesticides, toxins, hormones and additives to them.
Here are some helpful nutrition tips and guidelines to follow:
- Eat regularly. Don’t skip meals. By doing so your energy, digestion, metabolism and concentration will all suffer.
- Don’t skip breakfast. This is your most important meal of the day.
- Select good food choices. Like meat, vegetables and fruit. Avoid processed (fast foods), sugar, soda, caffeine, foods high in salt. Limit intake of milk and dairy products due to pasteurization.
- Try and eat a balanced meal that contains a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fat.
- Don’t be afraid to eat healthy fat, like nuts, seeds, lean meat, and oils. You need fat in your diet to protect your organs and for energy.
- Drink plenty of water ( Approx. ½ of your body weight in ounces a day, if your urine is a dark yellow then you are dehydrates)
- A good energy replacement drink is Propel. Gatorade has 12-14 grams of sugar while Propel has 2grams of sugar.
- Avoid fast food places. They are loaded with additives and preservatives. (You might notice how good you feel right after, and then an hour later you are tired?)
- Get plenty of sleep (sometimes its tough with your school schedule) but try for 8 hours.
- Get plenty of exercise. Have an activity that you enjoy. Keep moving, you will be hungry more often.
- Limit your time playing video games. It’s tough on your eyes, concentration and energy.
These are just a few ideas. Get educated on what you are putting into your body, it’s the most important tool you own so take care of it!