Nutrition: 10 good rules for the adolescents

Top ten tips for children and adolescents

1. Enjoy your food Try to eat lots of different foods every day for variety and enjoyment. Share foods with family and friends.

2. Breakfast is a very important meal Your body needs energy after a long sleep so breakfast is vital. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as bread, breakfast cereal and fruit, make good breakfast choices.

Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting in careless overeating. Skipping breakfast can also cause you to lack concentration for schoolwork.

3. Eat lots of different foods Lots of different foods every day is the recipe for good health. You need 40 different vitamins and minerals for good health and no one food can supply all of them. There are no "good" or "bad" foods so you don't need to miss out on foods you enjoy. Just make sure you get the right balance by eating a wide variety of foods. Balance your choice over time!

4. Base your food on carbohydrates These foods provide needed energy, vitamins and minerals. Foods that are high in carbohydrates include pasta, breads, breakfast cereals, fruits and vegetables. Try to include some of these foods at very meal as nearly half of the calories in your diet should come from them.

5. Eat fruits and vegetables at each meal You can enjoy fruits and vegetables at meals and as tasty snacks. These foods provide vitamins, minerals and fibre. You should aim to get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

6. Fat facts Everyone needs some fat in the diet for good health however too much fat, especially saturated fat, can be bad for our health. Saturated fat is found in full fat dairy foods, pies, pastries, fatty meats and sausages Balance your food choices-if you eat a high fat meal at lunch, try to choose low fat foods for dinner.

7. Snack attack Snacks help to provide energy and nutrients. Choose from a variety of snacks such as fruits, sandwiches, biscuits, cakes, crisps, nuts and chocolate. Make sure to vary your choices to keep the balance in your diet and don't eat too much that you can't have proper meals.

8. Quench your thirst You need to drink plenty of liquids because half of your body is made up of water. At least 6 glasses of fluid day are needed, more if it is very hot or you are exercising. Water and milk are great but variety is fun too.

9. Care for your teeth Care for your teeth by brushing them twice a day. Foods high in starch or sugars can play a role in tooth decay if they are eaten too frequently throughout the day so don't nibble or sip drinks all day.

10. Get moving Being fit is important for healthy hearts and strong bones so get active. Try to do something every day and make sure its something you enjoy so you stick with it. Too many calories and not enough activity can result in weight gain. Moderately physical activity helps burn off those extra calories. You don't have to be an athlete to get on the move!

Bibliography * Calvo, E. B.; Galindo, A. C.; Aspres, N. B. (1992). Iron status in exclusively breast-fed infants. Pediatrics, 90(3):375-379.

* Department of Health and Social Security (1988). Present day practice in infant feeding: 3rd Report. Report on Health and Social Subjects 32. HMSO, London.

* EEC Commission Directive on infant's formulae and follow-on formulae (1991). Official J. European Communities No. L175/35-/49.

* Freedman, D. S.; Dietz, W. H.; Srinivasan, S. R.; Berenson, G. S. (1999). The relation of overweight to cardiovascular risk factors among children and adolescents to cardiovascular risk factors among children and adolescents: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Pediatrics, 103:1175-1182.

* Gregory, J.; Lowe, S.; Bates, C. J., Prentice, A., Jackson, L.V., Smithers, G., Wenlock, R., Farron, M., (2000). National Diet and Nutrition Survey: young people aged 4-18 years, vol. 1. Report of the Diet and Nutrition Survey, TSO, London.

* International Life Sciences Institute (2000). Overweight and Obesity in European Children and Adolescents. Causes and consequences-prevention and treatment. pp. 1-22. ILSI Europe, Brussels, Belgium.

* James, J. (1991). Iron deficiency in toddlers. Maternal and Child Health, 16:309-315.

* Stordy, B. J.; Redfern, A. M.; Morgan, J. B. (1995). Healthy eating for infants-mothers' actions. Acta Paed, 84:733-741.

* Walter, T., Dallman, P.R., Pizarro, F., Velozo, L., Pena, G., Bartholmey, S.J., Hertrampf, E., Olivares, M., Letelier, A., Arredondo, M., (1993). Effectiveness of iron-fortified infant cereal in the prevention of iron deficiency anaemia. Pediatrics, 91(5):976-982.

* Wardley, B. L.; Puntis, J. W. L.; Taitz, L. S. (1997). Handbook of Child Nutrition. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

* Weaver, C. M. (2000). The growing years and prevention of osteoporosis in later life. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 59:303-306.

* World Health Organisation (1990). Prevention in childhood and youth of adult cardiovascular disease: time for action. WHO, Geneva.

References: European Food Information Council (EUFIC) Date last updated: 17 November 2006



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