High School Living: Bad Food Habits and How to Change Them

About this article
Most people genuinely want to be healthier. Problem is, they don't know how. This article identifies bad habits you may have acquired over the years and, more importantly, how to stop them.
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Let's face it, you probably don't eat the way you should. The stresses of high school, the lack of time, the vending machines-everything, it seems, are against you. The following four questions, adapted from about.com, will help you identify unhealthy habits and help you overcome them.

- Do you skip breakfast?

- Do you eat the 'other' food groups?

- Do you eat out of your home a lot?

- Do you drink lots of soda?

Skipping breakfast is really bad for you; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even though most people already know this, many still skip breakfast. According to the ADA (American Dietetic Association), www.eatright.org, more than half of male teens and over two-thirds of female teenagers regularly skip breakfast. Don't let this be you because, according to about.com, eating breakfast can jumpstart your teen's metabolism, which will help with weight control, mood, and school performance. If you are always hurrying in the morning, be sure you get plenty of healthy 'grab and go' breakfast products.

Do you know what the 'other' food groups are? These are foods that are high in sugars, fats, calories, etc. Basically, these are the unhealthy food groups located in the smallest section of the food guide pyramid. You remember the food guide pyramid don't you? That's the diagram provided by the United States Department of Agriculture that tells you how to eat properly. Familiarize yourself with the information provided in the pyramid by going to www.mypyramid.gov. Learn to make healthier choices - instead of reaching for a bag of chips, grab an orange or an apple. Make sure your family stocks plenty of these healthy choices in the house.

Do you eat out a lot because of time constraints or just because it is easy. This is a bad habit that will undoubtedly carry over into your adult life. If you have to, make lunch or dinner earlier in the day (or the night before.) This way, all you have to do is heat up the meal, eat it, and go.

Do you drink sodas like they are going out of style? There are a number of healthier drinks you can substitute for soft drinks: fruit juice (100%), flavored carbonated water, and even good old fashioned water. By drinking these healthier beverages, you will actually feel less thirsty in the long run. Consider the following: a study looking at American youths aged 6-17 found an increase in soft drink consumption from 37% in 1978 to 56% in 1998. Do you want to be a statistic both for this study and for unhealthy high school students? A more important question is: how much is your health worth to you?

With time you will find that these four recommendations will be easier to accommodate. A word of advice though-don't do all of them at once. Try one for a few weeks, then add another, then another. Your success rate increases this way. Good luck!

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