Teen Nutrition

—Christian Slater, Staff Writer—

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Common preconceptions about adolescent diets have negatively affected the nutrition of this generation. Habits have developed from growing up in situations with choices that lead to malnutrition. The idea that kids can eat anything and everything and continue to prosper may appear to be true, but long term effects appear going into adulthood. Eating habits develop and nutritionally uneducated members of society create unhealthy environments for themselves and those around them. Personally speaking, my community doesn’t prepare its youth well enough on the importance of health, when their diet is majorly affected while making decisions on their own and in the real world. Although it’s easy to say that kids have little to no say in what their family eats or their eligibility to have home cooked meals on a daily basis, initiative can be taken to keep a well rounded nutrition that would prevent acknowledging the freshman fifteen in college.

Controversy over the comparisons of healthy to unhealthy food prices have been around

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for years, leaving some families to resort to the unhealthy alternative. Generally, healthy foods and home cooked meals are way more expensive than say a convenient family meal from a fast food chain. If trends continue, uneducated Americans will be living the stereotype of overweight people seemingly oppressed by cheap unhealthy foods. The average American needs to be conscious of addictive artery clogging foods and the knowledge of the benefits of taking care of their body when they’re living on their own. Families can break the diet epidemic by taking actions in referencing a balanced meal plan as well as a set schedule for meals one week at a time.

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Since kindergarten, student’s have been taught about the ‘balanced plate’ and the ‘food pyramid,’ but what good does this information do towards the minds of kids who can’t remember what they had for breakfast? This information is entirely too valuable to not remember; the balanced diet reflects essential food groups and the limited categories necessary for meals such as breakfast,lunch, and dinner.

At most 12% of all high school students across the US skip breakfast entirely due to

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inconvenience and the thought that it is negatively associated with gaining weight. This preconception is false. Breakfast is essentially the most important meal of the day in that it is the initial energy entering your body; also giving yourself a confidence boost that sets the tone of your day. After sleeping and many hours of fasting, the body needs energy through the consumption of food to perform at it’s best.  There are specific foods needed for the body to be at its prime. For instance, dark chocolate substances can keep you focused due to natural stimulants also seen in bananas that benefit your vision due to the fiber implemented. Why would one want to sabotage their own day by skipping needed energy?

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How can diet determine success? The potential of a person’s ability can be reached only when the body can function under optimal conditions. The benefits of a healthy diet allow the brain and body to perform at their best. An unhealthy diet can often cause sluggish tendencies and result in un-maximized results.  As we grow older, a person’s nutrition becomes more fragile as metabolism and basic functions begin to slow. Long term, unhealthy nutrition can limit the ability to complete certain tasks and even shorten a person’s life span. Learning to take care of your body is essential in setting yourself up for success and making the most out of the day. What you eat determines your energy source for the day and can make or break the outcome.