What's your favorite food? Is it pizza? Fruit? Sandwiches? The foods we choose to eat everyday play a big role in how healthy we are and in how much energy we have to do the things we love! In order to make your body do the things you want it to, you have to make sure you give it the right kinds of food.
- Snack on healthy foods. Instead of getting a candy bar or cookies every day after school, try something new like an apple dipped in peanut butter, baby carrots, or some frozen yogurt.
- Drink water or milk before you reach for another sugary drink. Water is great for your body and you need milk for strong bones. Soda has a lot of sugar in it, as do some juice drinks that are not 100 percent juice. Watch what you drink!
- Eat when you're hungry. You know when your stomach is ready for a meal and you know when your stomach is full. Paying attention to your body is important and can keep you from overeating.
- Eating right also means eating enough. Being healthy requires that your body gets enough calories to grow, so it's not a good idea to skip breakfast or any other meal.
- Eat a variety of foods. Your body needs different things to be healthy. Make sure you don't just snack on chips or crackers. Your body needs fruits and vegetables, dairy products like milk and yogurt, and high protein foods like lean meat and nuts.
- Take some time to learn the terminology. If you look at labels or watch TV, you hear words like low fat, no trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, etc. All these words are important, so take some time to ask your health teacher or study up on the Internet.
- Make smart choices. Being healthy doesn't mean you can't go out to eat with friends or your family. Just be smart. A lot of fast food restaurants now offer healthier options for their meals like apple dips instead of fries or fruit instead of chips. You can still eat the things you love. Eating well doesn't mean giving up treats completely. It just means being sure you eat them in moderation and that you eat healthy foods too.
- Make good choices at school too. You can bring your own lunch to school or make the right choices in the cafeteria line. Here are some ideas: try wheat bread instead of white bread, add tomato and lettuce to your sandwich for more vegetables, make sure you have some fruit with lunch, and try low-fat milk or chocolate milk instead of a soda or sugary drink.
Ask your parents and family members to join in. Ask to have things baked instead of fried and ask to go along for the shopping trip to pick out healthy snacks.
For more information and resources to help military youth and teens navigate everything from the unique challenges of a mobile military lifestyle to managing their social lives, saving money, and going green, visit Military Youth on the Move!