Victoria Jansen, MD, board-certified, pediatrics and internal medicine, Tesson Park Family Medicine, shows Andrea Buss how to use the USDA food pyramid to eat healthy.
Ask the Doc
How can I encourage my finicky teen to eat better?
Fox High School student Andrea Buss knows it’s challenging to eat healthy when teens are faced with hectic schedules and fast-food choices. Many don’t eat an adequate amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Parents should nurture healthy attitudes about nutrition and have healthy snacks on hand for quick eating. Offer fresh fruits rather than fruit juices to help teens get much-needed dietary fiber with a lower sugar intake. Limit the amount of soda and processed foods high in sugar to prevent obesity. Keep chilled water readily available.
For strong bones, teens are advised to consume at least three servings of low-fat dairy products daily to meet recommended calcium and vitamin D requirements. Pay close attention to teens who may have a negative body image or athletes who are expected to meet certain weight requirements for competitive sports. They are at risk for developing an eating disorder. Warning signs of an eating disorder that should trigger a visit to the doctor include skipping meals, rapid weight loss, an obsession with counting calories or excessive exercise.
I tell teens to take an active role in healthy meal planning and preparation. A great online resource is the USDA’s MyPyramid.gov, which offers guidance and interactive tools to help you and your children eat healthy.
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