Information for Preteens: Why Eat Healthy?

Since you are growing, you may find that you are more hungry, or are hungry more often. This is perfectly normal, as long as you need the extra calories to grow.

Overeating and not exercising can lead to unhealthy weight and body conditions. Obesity is defined as having 20% more than the “ideal” body weight for someone your age and height. If you think that you may be overweight or obese, talk to your parents or doctor about ways to become healthier.

If you want to eat healthy, it is important to make healthy choices in what you eat all the time – meaning: meals andsnacks.

For example: foods with refined grains, such as white flour or refined wheat, have high amounts of starch that the body just stores away and doesn’t use. Try to eat more whole grains such as whole wheat (bread, etc.), brown rice, and oats – which provide energy over a longer period of time after you eat them.

3 Main Reasons to Eat Healthy

Here are three main reasons that will help remind you that eating healthy is the best choice to make for your diet:

  1. To provide the necessary nutrients that your body needs to create new cells, clean toxins, and to just function every day!
  2. Eating healthy now can help prevent future diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
  3. You will have more energy and be more alert.

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Basic Food Groups

The USDA’s outlines the basic areas of foods:

  • Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta (remember: whole grains are healthier!)
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Fats, oils, and sweets

Remember to eat a balanced, varied diet and eat sweets and foods that are high in fat or calories only in moderation.Following a healthy diet is something you must do for your entire life.

You don’t have to give up cake, ice cream, or pizza – just remember not to eat these often and to eat lower-fat or lower-sugar versions. Have milk or juice instead of soda, or have diet soda. Instead of cookies after school, have fruit; veggies; popcorn (low fat – don’t use too much butter); or pretzels.

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Healthy Snacks

  • Fruits
  • Veggies
  • Popcorn
  • Rice cakes
  • Whole wheat bread or crackers
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, etc.)
  • Fat-free or low-fat cheese or yogurt
  • Pretzels
  • Cottage cheese

Remember, eating habits don’t have to change all at once. You can gradually get rid of unhealthy foods and start eating them less.



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