There is a famous adage that “Health is wealth”. And youth is a time when, habits are formed which remains with us for most of our life. These includes food habits which determines a youngster potential at large. A healthy diet should balance your nutrients, focussing on what a youngster eats, in what quantity, its quality, everything determines the overall output and health of a youngster. Parents should encourage teens to get more involved in their nutrition and health by providing them teen-oriented magazines or books with food articles and by encouraging their interest in health, cooking, or nutrition.
Here are some nutritional guidelines for youngsters of today
- Lay a healthy foundation: Youth is a time high on energy and life, you may not realise the ill-effects of unhealthy diet at this stage, but what you eat now will determine your health in the long run. So, develop healthy habits from a young age to make your present and future both a happy experience.
- Go for fruity delight: Try to include fruits as much in your diet as possible, have foods like salads in ample amounts, and include variety of fruits, as different fruits have a diverse nutrient to provide, which helps in overall health insurance. They keep you hydrated, aids in digestion, prevents from deficiency diseases, and provides you with inevitable vitamins and minerals.
- Veggies on the way: Include as much variety possible in having vegetables. Embrace all the colours in your vegetable list. Include dark green, red and orange veggies, legumes (peas and beans) and starchy vegetables. Parents should do grocery shopping along with their kids to make them aware of the variety available, along with urging them to eat balanced and healthy diet.
Try to include veggies in your diet by different and innovative means if you don’t like them simply with chapati inculcate those veggies by having vegetable cutlets, grilled veg sandwiches, wheat pasta with vegetables like broccoli, capsicum or any veggie of your choice.
- Look for healthy alternatives: Youngsters spend most of the time outside their home so its every important to keep a track on what they eat. Even if having food outside, look for healthier alternatives like focus more on whole grain-based food items like whole wheat pasta instead of white, brown rice in place of white rice. Include all grain products like wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, rather than refined or processed food items
Have a positive body image: Youngsters are very conscious of their looks and often to achieve that perfect figure they develop eating disorders, which can lead to fatal illnesses. Common eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and binge eating. Both males and females are affected by these disorders. Eating disorders commonly coexist with other conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and low self-esteem. In Anorexia Nervosa, people have obsessive fear of gaining weight, an unrealistic perception of body image. Here people may be actually underweight but they view themselves as overweight and thus they restrict their food consumption. This condition leads to damaging health effects, such as brain damage, multi-organ failure, bone loss, heart difficulties and infertility.
In Bulimia nervosa there is repeated binge eating followed by induced vomiting, excessive exercise, and use of laxatives or diuretics. This will lead to gastrointestinal problems, severe dehydration and heart diseases.
So, keeping in mind the prevalent ill-effects of eating disorders, youngsters should focus on their health more than anything. They can visit therapists or counsellors to boost their self-esteem and to get an optimistic outlook about oneself and their body.
One should understand that nothing can be more precious than one’s health, and one can achieve their pink of health just by minding what they eat, setting realistic health goals and aiming more on one’s health by prioritising one’s well-being over anything else.
- Avoid skipping meals: Food is the fuel on which our body runs. Youngsters often skip meals; this will not only deprive you of nutrition but also your body is deprived of glucose. Glucose is obtained on breaking down of food, this glucose is required by brain, as fuel, also muscles, thyroid, digestive tract and other organs use it too. Depriving yourself of food that is your fuel will leave you irritable, moody, and sluggish with low concentration and further it affects an individual’s digestion and metabolism.
- Give junks a break: Junks should be avoided to a great extent, even when indulging in junk food, it should be once in a while and a healthy diet should be incorporated to balance those cheat meals.
- Set aside cravings: Cravings can sometime lead you to worst of your health. All cravings are not meant to be a reality, know what is good and healthy for you and use a little brain over your heart to make an informed choice and lead a healthy life.
- Less use of gadgets, for more sleep: Youngsters spend most of the time being glued to their phone screen, even in late hours, which further affect their health and eyesight. So, spare more time for your health than on your gadgets.
- Substance abuse: Substance abuse is one hazard to youngster’s life. Never give to peer pressure and look at the ill effects of substance abuse on your life in totality.
Over to you
Youth is a time of soaring high on aspirations, identifying oneself with the society and setting career goals. It is a crucial phase where life decisions are made and youngsters can be the most productive age group, if they are taken proper care of. Targeting on their proper health and nutritional requirements can add to their overall potential. So, just by paying heed to simple tips youth of today can achieve the targeted health goals.