March break might be the first thing that comes to mind this month, but we shouldn’t forget it’s also Nutrition Month. Now is the perfect time to talk to your daughter about the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle – not just for the month of March, but all year round. A healthy lifestyle won’t happen overnight, but there are easy ways she can get started, like starting her days with a good breakfast or eating meals more slowly. Make sure she has the best resources and your support by sharing these great tips with her: http://www.beinggirl.com/article/healthy-eating-tips/
1. Eat a Good Breakfast
Have you heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” It’s true. Breakfast is important. It can boost your metabolism, and it can help with weight control, mood and school performance. Your blood sugar usually drops overnight, leaving your brain to run on empty until you eat in the morning. It needs to be re-fueled with food. Two-thirds of teenage girls do not eat breakfast on a regular basis. And girls who skip breakfast find that they tend to eat more calories and make poor food choices during the day than people who don’t skip breakfast. Good choices are filling yet nutritious options like oatmeal and fruit. If you change just one thing about your diet, make it eating a healthy breakfast each morning.
2. Eat at Home with Your Family
Eating your meals at home with your family has two key benefits: 1. meals prepared at home are usually more nutritious and healthy and 2. you’re able to control your portions. It’s also a great time to connect with your family and unwind. Although it can be hard to join your entire family for a nutritious meal, eating with your family is a great way to unwind. Put your phone in the other room, enjoy a home-cooked meal and talk about your day. It can be a unifying experience for all.
3. Have a Well-Balanced Diet
It’s important to get the right types and amounts of foods and drinks to supply nutrition and energy for your body growth and development. While the recommended serving sizes have changed over the years, the concept has stayed the same. The idea is that you shouldn’t take in more calories than your body will burn in a day. If you do, your body will store the extra as fat. Depending on how active you are, you should stick to an intake of about 2,000 calories. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, here is a suggested list of food types and portions you should try for:
- Up to 6 oz. of grains daily, and try to find whole grains
- At least 2.5 cups of different types of veggies
- About 2 cups of fruit
- About 3 cups of dairy (milk-type)
- Around 5.5 oz of lean (skinless, low-fat) protein/meat
Of course, there are fats, too, but you should try to avoid them when possible. We’re not saying you should be measuring or weighing your foods – it’s all about portions and eating enough of healthy grains, fruits and veggies for a well-balanced diet.
4. Slow Down for Meals
Relax and enjoy your food. Be sure to slow down when you are eating and really enjoy your foods. Mealtime is the perfect time to S-L-O-W down the pace of the day, plus you can focus on mindfully eating. Eating too quickly interferes with healthy digestion and encourages overeating. A recent study found that women who ate a meal in 30 minutes ate 10 percent fewer calories compared to those who wolfed one down in 10 minutes!
5. Eat Healthy Foods 7 Days a Week
Make healthy eating a routine and try and stick to it seven days a week. You may not have a set time you eat breakfast, lunch or dinner on the weekend, but it’s important to integrate healthy foods into your diet, no matter where your weekend takes you.