Health Topics

Healthy Living

November 2011
Teen Diet Plan
Shwetha Mabel
Teenage years are a time of rapid growth, hormonal surge and ravenous appetite. However, the vast majority of teens eat nowhere near what they should for optimal health. Instead, their diet is characterized by junk food and untimely meals.

It typically lacks the ingredients of a nutritious diet – adequate fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats and fish – and makes for a diet very high in fat, saturated fat, trans fat and added sugar and too low in calcium, iron and other essential minerals. The result is an overweight teen with a poor body image or a teen with eating disorders.

One of the main blunders overweight teens commit when it comes to diet is to adopt unhealthy weight loss strategies. Weight loss in teens can be achieved by exercising enough and eating right instead of going on diet plans that promise fast-acting results at the cost of the teen’s long-term health.

Some diets focus on one nutrient more than another, such as, a protein-only diet, no-carb diet or a fat-free diet. A teen’s body needs carbs, protein and fat every day, in balanced proportions, to keep up with the growing demands of the body. Hence, such diets can prove to be harmful in the long run.

A French secret to staying thin

One diet that has taken France by storm is the Dukan Diet, a ‘low fat, protein only’ diet that is known to be the secret behind wasp-waisted French women. The plan is implemented in four phases:
  • The attack phase (five to ten days): One eats absolutely nothing but protein – just meat, fish, eggs and non-fat dairy products.
  • The cruise phase(till ideal weight is achieved): One alternates pure protein days with days when vegetables are allowed.
  • The consolidation phase (five days): One can also eat fruits, bread, cheese and starchy foods.
  • The maintenance phase (for life): One is free from all restrictions but should eat a protein-only diet on Thursdays.

Teen dietary blunders
  • Eating when bored or stressed
  • Choosing foods that are easily available rather than healthy
  • Too much restriction on food intake in order to stay slim
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Eating nutrient-poor snacks and desserts
  • Eating only white carbs like white bread, white rice, pasta, pizza, etc
Shwetha Mabel is Fitness and Nutrition enthusiast,Hyderabad