Teens need exceptional nutrition because their bodies AND BRAINS are growing and maturing rapidly. With the exception of infancy, adolescence is THE most critical time for good eating. WOW! The irony, of course, is that the time they need it the most, is the time when they eat nutritious foods the least. They need help. The struggle of feeding healthy teens is a real one.
Over the next four blog posts, we will discuss ways to raise healthier teenagers–from why they need our help, to how we can play a role, along with an entire post devoted to healthy snack ideas your kids will eat.
Here’s the deal: Our teens ARE overfed and undernourished. (Take a look at the documentary!) Think about that profound statement! We need to help change this. These growth spurts do require more food; but not just more food, they require the good food.
There are lots of reasons this is a problem. Teens eat more meals away from home, and parental supervision is limited. The places they DO eat are usually fast-food restaurants, where “food” is riddled with unhealthy fat and void of nutrients. Basically CRAP.
Their tastes are changing. Boys try to build muscles by eating massive quantities of food. Girls want to be thin, and think limiting calories alone equates to weight loss. There is an increased affinity for fat (not the good kind). Boys crave heavy, protein-rich foods. Girls crave sweets. Hello, Cupcake.
The fact is that healthy nutrition — and especially the lack of it –affects so much of our teenagers lives: their academic success, athletic ability, overall attitude—and even their appearance. Our teens need to know this.
If we can educate them and help them adopt a few good habits, we keep them healthy and happy–not just now but straight into adulthood. This is our duty!
Effects of poor teen nutrition. You probably know what it looks like, but what does it do?
The effects of regular consumption of high inflammatory foods, such as fast food, sodas, potato chips, junk, foods with mascots, sweets etc, are NOT positive ones. Here’s what happens without good nutrition:
- Acne. Yep. Sugar and Dairy are the culprits. Enough said.
- Low energy, sluggishness. Excess sugar and bad fats, along with lack of good protein and good fats.
- Inability to focus/concentrate/ADHD. Largely affected by artificial dyes and lack of good fats and proteins. This is crisis is REAL people.
- Allergies! Big and little ones. Check out The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien. Infuriating.
- Mood swings/depression, anxiety, anger. Food can be a BIG factor in managing mood.
- Weight gain and risk of obesity. Greater chance of diabetes and heart disease later in life.
Bottom line: You and your teen can find better commitment to healthier foods just by knowing what some of these things do to you.
So much of what we feed our kids is full of chemicals and over-processed, nutrient depleted “food-like” substances. You may not even know the culprits–as they are hidden in everything. Junk food abounds, then all of the side effects appear. Providing your family with nutritious, acceptable and SAFE food is HARD to do!
Fast foods and convenience foods are pumped full of chemicals. It’s a real toxic sh*t storm out there. Even Chick-fil-A contains food colorings AND an “anti-foaming agent” in their fries that is also used in plastics. What????? Packaged snacks are made with hydrogenated oils, scary preservatives, creepy science experiments (GMOs), and things called rendered beef fat. Hidden sugars are everywhere. Prego spaghetti sauce=serving of Chips Ahoy. Sports drinks have tons of sugar, not to mention harmful food dyes that are banned in most 1st World Countries. We now consume 5 times the amount of food dyes than 50 years ago. Check out this frightening guide to food coloring dangers. If that doesn’t get you off your Sugar Smacks, nothing will.
Ramen noodle on that for a while. It’s upsetting to say the least. We need to get teens back to healthy foods. And, we will. Together. Until next time …