As parents, dont we all want our adolescents to be healthy? We are well aware that appropriate food intake is critical to the growth and development of out teenaged kids.
Research has reiterated that nourishing food is not only necessary for good health, but it also improves academic performance and emotional stability. But do our teens think so? Its so easy for them to succumb when tempting Junk Food beckons
What does "Junk FoodŁ mean?
- It is food that tastes great, but is low on nutrition and high on calories
- Junk Food is an accepted slang term ( and often a derogatory term) used to describe any food of poor nutritional value
- It is the opposite of "balanced dietŁ
- Generally, junk foods offer little in terms of vitamins, protein, vitamins or minerals and are loaded with calories from sugar or fat. These are termed "empty calories"
What is considered Junk Food?
- A broad spectrum of Junk Food includes foods high in salt, fat, sugar, and / or calories and low nutrient content.
- Read the food labels: if the salt, sugar or fat content are one of the first three ingredients, you can invariably assume the food content is of low nutritional value.
- Salted snack foods
- Candy, chewing gum & most sweet desserts
- Fried fast food ( especially French fries)
- Carbonated beverages or soft drinks
- Most fast food restaurants serve food that has fat as the main calorie source ( including those sinful milkshakes)
If not Junk Food, then what?
- The secret mantra is "balanceŁ: you may not always be able to avoid junk food, but you can balance it. If you are tucking into a burger, avoid the fries. Ask for a fresh salad in stead.
- Fast food restaurants arent always a nutritional nightmare! You can eat sensibly by choosing lean meat cuts, skinless chicken, or grilled or broiled versions of all that they serve.
- Fresh fruits & vegetable salads are a great bet
- A crunchy salad drenched in fatty dressing isnt a healthy choice! Choose a light dressing ( vinaigrette)
- More fibre: chappatis, oatmeal, porridge are good sources of fibre. Include them in your diet.
- Cut down on saturated fat: choose grilled, baked, barbecue or tandoori food in stead
- Avoid a diet of "heat & eatŁ or pre-cooked varieties of food which are full of preservatives. It is important to check out the information on the packaging label. Occasional indulgence wont harm you, but dont succumb to these on a daily basis.
The writing is on the wall: Junk the Junk Food! It is important for parents to be clever about inculcating healthy eating habits into family menus, and be firm about saying no to junk food.