Saturday, 7 April 2012


Young people may have most of their nutrition needs met while they are in school, but with childhood obesity growing rampantly; it's time to take a look at what they eat when they're not in school. Youth programs have a unique opportunity to influence kids' eating habits. Children and teens lead quite busy and stressed lives with their school workload, after-school activities and family responsibilities. They consequently may skip breakfast, eat from vending machines and consume more fast food. By providing them with healthy eating behaviors, youth programs can help kids learn how to fuel their boding some cases, the daily intake recommendations for some nutrients are higher for teens than adults. Youth programs can take great strides toward meeting their needs by ensuring the food they serve is rich with these nutrients. You'll also help them develop an appreciation for properly fueling their bodies. For example, the Institute of Medicine says teen’s ages 14 to 18 need more calcium than adults, approximately 1,300 mg daily. They also need more phosphorus, iron and magnesium, and girls that age need a little extra fiber and essential fatty acids. Supply them with portable, low-cost food and drinks like low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified orange juice and cereals, almonds and cashews. Overweight youth are more likely to become overweight adults than their healthy-weight peers, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Therefore, they are more at risk of metabolic illnesses like insulin resistance and diabetes, along with heart disease, stroke and osteoarthritis. One of the most life-giving habits you can offer your young people as a program leader is an understanding of portion control. Make activities out of it by offering prizes to those who can correctly identify how much of a plate various nutrients, such as meat, carbohydrates and vegetables, should occupy. Also offer them skills, such as asserting when they've had enough to eat, avoiding mindless eating such as while watching TV or engaged in other activities, and eating slowly.

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