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Practicing Healthy Habits For Teens

By Samantha Ann Hekeler

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             Many children and adolescents across the globe do not have healthy eating habits.  In America, where foods of all kinds are plentiful, the temptation to eat what is good and easy more often overcomes our inherent ability to make smart and informed choices.  Learning to make healthy choices at a young age is extremely important, and can be vital to your health and growth.  The decisions we make as children and teens not only impact how we feel and act, but how we develop and who we become.   We all know that eating healthy and making the right choices will help us grow and become stronger individuals, but we do not always put our knowledge to use to properly fuel our bodies.  Some excuse their poor eating habits by saying that healthy food does not taste good, organic is too expensive, or most often by choosing what is easily and readily accessible.  While dollar menus are appealing to our budgets, they are filled with fats, grease, and toxins.  Making smart and healthy choices can be easy if you become food wise.  There are so many different varieties of healthy foods that you will find tasty and affordable.

 

            There is a large assortment of foods from which to choose when fueling your body.  Yogurt, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are filled with calcium, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes to help keep your body running at its full potential.  Practicing healthy eating habits at a young age will help you carry those routines with you during adulthood.  Eating small meals and grazing on smart snacks throughout the day will increase your metabolism and reduce fat storage.  Practicing healthy eating habits can be difficult, especially when you are in an environment with people who do not share the same habits, but there are many ways to stay true to your lifestyle.  Be prepared by packing healthy snacks in your purse or backpack when you’re on the go.  When the time comes to eat, make healthy choices, have the salad or some vegetables, and when desert comes choose fruit.  Fruit not only satisfies a sweet tooth, but is filled with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber.   There is nothing wrong with having one small treat, as long as it is in moderation. 

 

            There are so many great and healthy recipes to try, and it is so much fun to be creative in the kitchen!  Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and many nutritionists believe it to be the most important meal of the day.  I love starting my day with fresh quinoa blueberry muffins (click here for recipe), or a yummy bowl of oatmeal topped with delicious fresh fruit.  Try combining fruits and spices like peach and blueberry, or agave and cinnamon with apple, pear, and bananas on your oatmeal.  Hungry for a little snack?  Try topping your favorite yogurt (mine is strawberry banana Chobani) with the Imus’ Ranch All Organic Granola (click here for recipe) not only does a make a tasty treat, but it will keep you full and focused until lunch time!  At lunch, try a delicious salad with fruit, nuts, and a tangy dressing and for dinner try a yummy pesto pasta, or pasta salad! 

 

            Staying active is as important is eating right.  Exercising has many wonderful health benefits and will also help boost your confidence.  Working out will not only help control weight, it also helps improve mood, prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, cholesterol, boost your energy, slow the aging process, maintain healthy bones and muscles, boosts the immune system, reduces stress, depression and  anxiety, improves mental sharpness and promotes sleep!  Plus there are so many ways to make exercising fun, such as working out with a friend, or trying something new like boxing, rock climbing, horseback riding, ice skating, or paint balling.  There’s not even a need for special equipment or lessons: just put on walking shoes and get outside.  To keep your body running well, stay active and eat healthy!

 

Samantha Ann is a high-school freshman. At a young age, Samantha developed a passion for cooking, and an interest in nutrition.  Samantha is a competitive athlete participating in figure skating, cross country  and  basketball.  She also loves the performing arts and to sing, and has held several leading roles.  Her passion in life is fueled by her desire to continue to travel the world, embrace the best that cultures have to offer, and become multilingual.  Samantha believes that eating healthy fuels not only her body and mind, but also her spirit and positive outlook on life.  A sample of Samantha’s healthy recipes can be found here.   

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