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junk food

Expert diet tips for teenage boys and girls

Teenage is the age of change, growth, and transformation. It is the period when what you eat (or not eat) is vital and it sets the foundation of your physical and mental well-being for the rest of your life. A few diet guidelines for you to follow in your teenage years-

1. Count Nutrients, Not Calories-

For life to sustain, food needs to be nourishing, and for food that nourishes, it has to be high in nutrients. In an effort to lose weight, we are constantly avoiding calories and in the process, we lose out on nutrient-dense foods as well. Counting the number of calories that you are eating is really irrelevant, what matters is the nutrient to calorie ratio of your food- nutrients for each calorie consumed.

To Do – Cut down your consumption of “empty” calories from packaged/ processed food like biscuits, cereals, cupcakes, wafers etc. Instead, eat more of real foods like nuts, cheese, curd, peanuts, whole fruits etc.

2. Avoid Meal Gaps-

If all that you want to do is lose weight, then you really cannot afford to starve yourself. Eating frequently and avoiding meal gaps of more than 2-3 hours is crucial to fat burning. Ensure that you make time for breakfast and avoid skipping it. Similarly, if you do not want to be caught up in food crisis/ accidents (like gorging on a doughnut at 6pm when you had just decided to eat healthier in the morning), you need to plan ahead for your 4-6pm snack.

To do- Few breakfast and evening meal options are cheese sandwich/
roti- ghee-jaggery/ poha/ idli chutney/ upma etc. Carry your lunch from home and eat an early dinner at least 2 hours before you hit the bed.

sugarcane juice helps in getting flawless well hydrated skin

3. Stay Hydrated-

one of the most important things to do if you are looking out to have a glowing, flawless skin is to stay well hydrated. Sitting all day long at cafes and sipping on colas (even if it’s the diet version), coffee and other sugar loaded beverages, not only adds to empty calories but is also dehydrating and will hence, make you feel bloated and heavy all the time.

To do- Make sure you are carrying a bottle of water (no plastic bottles please) when you step out and sip on it throughout the day. Choose to have local & seasonal sherbets like aam panha/ bel sherbet/ nimbu sherbet/ kokum sherbet/ sugarcane juice that will not only hydrate you but will also promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and make your belly look thinner.

NOTE: This article was written by me for The Health Site.Com & was published on 12th September 2017.

Image credit: The Health Site.Com/ Google Images

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This picture is not from any shopping mall. This is from a renowned, multi-speciality hospital in Mumbai. Yes, hospitals in big cities, trying to be in sync with the global culture of coffee houses and its chains, have become a replica of food courts in malls housing big, domestic and international, fast food chains serving packaged, processed food.

The pre- packed food (puffs/ pastries) and fast food culture of pizzas and burgers, by the way, is one of the major reasons why someone would even need a doctor and therefore, land in a hospital!

I happened to be at this hospital last week. One could locate a franchise café at each floor whereas there is this SINGLE canteen in the entire multi-storied building serving healthier meals like poha, idli etc. To reach to this SINGLE canteen, one would have to spend half an hour minimum, through the elevator traffic (the staircase was kept locked, conveniently) and time constraints do not make this an affordable option at all times. Hence, they are either forced to eat this pathetically low quality, insanely priced food made easily available at each floor or simply starve – both being equally dangerous and unhealthy for the patients and visitors alike. Modern day hospitals, unlike earlier, do not allow outside food (homemade or otherwise) and it further adds to the agony.

On one hand, we as a nation, are talking about climate change issues and on the other hand, important institutions like hospitals are simply contributing to landfills & plastic pollution with these cafes serving bottled mineral water/ juices/ aerated drinks and fast food wrapped in plastic films, on plastic plates.

What institutions like hospitals with added health and social responsibilities should do –

1. Promote local food (healthier and more nutritious) and support local economy

2. Have minimum one canteen or its delivery counter (serving healthier meals) at each level/floor so as to make it more accessible and available

3. Get rid of all the plastic used in food/ beverages, both from the ecological and health point of view. Its well proved that plastic going into food is detrimental to our health

What we as patients and visitors should do –

1. Avoid taking food from these conveniently located cafes serving convenience food

2. Ask/demand the hospitals to ban these cafes, promote healthier food and reduce their plastic footprints

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