Snack Attack

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Alright… here we GO! Back to school; are you ready? I’m not! And, I’m quite sure I don’t even have to explain why. Saying goodbye to summer doesn’t just mean the end of swimming, vacations or just hanging with family and friends all day. But you’re saying goodbye to ice cold Slurpees, pigging out at back yard barbeques and my personal favorite Baskin Robbins World Class Chocolate Milk Shakes on a hot day. And let’s not even get started on the fact that we now must end the luxury of waking up late, for staying up late to do a new year of homework and getting up early to make it to school on time. Ugh! Why does summer have to go by so fast?

But when school starts, so does the sports, practices several times a week, a total 360 degree change in your diet, not to mention the struggle we have reacquainting our bodies to our rigorous schedules after three months of relaxation. All while somehow attempting to start substituting our junk food summer diet, for a healthier one in order to fuel our bodies with what we need to get us through the day and help us perform at our athletic and academic best, on the field, court, track, class room or where ever. But with schedules like ours, eating healthy may rarely occur. Let alone eating healthy snacks while bouncing from one place to another.


Research has proven teenagers tend to eat more, to supply our developing bodies, our high tech minds and overloaded late night schedules. The major problem is we are eating the wrong things. As teenagers who seem to be involved in a plethora of extra-curriculum activities with everything else sandwiched in between, it can become pretty challenging to eat healthy snacks on the go. But it has been recommended by sports nutritionist that active teens should eat 250- 300 calories before and after at least 90 minutes of exercising. Here are three of the seven essential nutrients that every teen should eat, especially the athletic ones.

1.) Carbs

About 50 – 55% of teen’s calories should come from carbs. Carbohydrates are the bodies’ main energy source and provide fuel for both the muscles and the brain. In fact a teen’s brain depends solely on carbohydrates for the energy to think, react, learn and process information. The best recommended carbohydrates are: fruits and vegetables

2.) Proteins

On average teenagers need about 15 – 20% of protein in their diet. Proteins are used to repair and maintain your skin, muscles, organs, blood and bones. Teens need for protein is high because we are still in the stage where our bodies are still growing and developing. Recommended snacks that are high in protein are: nuts, peanut butter, and cheddar cheese.





3.) Healthy Fats

Fats should only make up 30% of the calories you eat. Dietary fat is essential for growth and development. Try to limit your “unhealthy fats” like: chocolate candy, chips and ice cream to a few times a week…to many of these products will gives you a false sense of energy and guarantee unwanted weight gain.


If you are not an athletic teen you are not excluded; because eating healthier is beneficial to you too and doesn’t have to be challenging, unpleasant or a step towards depriving you of your favorite foods. If you cut 100 calories here and there, watch your portions, and pick healthy meals not “Happy Meals” you’ll see and feel the affects from your choice to change.


One simple and common change could be your consumption of soda. Did you know soda packs a lot of calories? My dad introduced me to Root Beer when I was four and I just love the stuff…yum! That’s my drink! But, Root Beer and other soft drinks can cause acne and is one of many major culprits of weight gain for most teens. I recently discovered that one 44oz cup of soda is loaded with a ½ of cup of sugar and way too much sodium (salt). The abundance of sodium only, in our soft drinks has its own issues that could lead to the onset of high blood pressure and early heart disease. When we indulge in these super size drinks; let’s say four times a day we are consuming 2 cups of pure sugar that offers no nutritional value and a salt lick as extra. Don’t even let diet sodas get you twisted; they are just as nutritionally dangerous. Although they boast 0 calories, a recent study showed that people who consumed diet soda had a higher risk of becoming obese.


So….Yeah! I hate to say it, but its time, to get your mind and your body in shape for a new school year. To get started and learn more about healthy choices, be sure to check out www.sparkpeople.com and www.igohugo.org , these websites offer everything from healthy snack recipes for the active teen, ideas on how to fight fat and cut back, to simple fun ways to exercise your mind and your body.


As always from one teen to another, remember it’s our goal to “Grow Up, Not Blow UP!”





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