From Seed’s Nutritional Therapist and teen yoga teacher, Kristina Carman
I’m Kristina and I’m a nutritional therapist and yoga teacher for teens. Here are a few of my fave top tips to help guide our gorgeous teens through the ups and downs while supporting their bodies and wellbeing.
Teens don’t always have the easiest time taking care of themselves. So many pressures and challenges facing them means this is sometimes last on this list. But the most important thing they can do is adopt a few good habits to help keep them healthy and happy not just now but as they grow into adulthood.
Let’s start with what you eat. This is a big one and sometime tricky when the pizza in the school cafe is staring at you!!!! As a parent cooking for your teen or advising them when they cook for themselves, here my top tips as follows:
What to Eat!
Starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta are a good source of energy, fibre and B vitamins and should be used as the basis for meals. Choose higher-fibre, wholegrain varieties such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or by leaving the skin on potatoes.
Wholegrain food contains more fibre than white or refined starchy food, and often more of other nutrients. We also digest wholegrain food more slowly and can help us feel full for longer. They also help prevent constipation, protect against some cancers and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Starchy foods are also low in fat, though the butter or creamy sauces that are often added to them can have a higher fat content.
Eggs are a convenient alternative to meat and are extremely versatile. They can be scrambled, boiled, poached or made into an omelette.Young people are recommended to eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily.
Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and pilchards contain lots of omega 3 fatty acids and are good for heart health and brain function. Fresh, frozen and tinned fish are all good options to choose.
Meat is a good source of protein, vitamin B12 and iron. A diet rich in iron will help prevent iron deficiency anaemia which is a common condition in teenage girls. Processed meats and chicken products should be limited as they are high in fat and salt and lower in iron.
Beans, peas and lentils are good alternatives to meat because they’re naturally very low in fat, and they’re high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Eating meat/chicken/fish is completely okay just try to aim for good quality animal protein.
Some other vegetable-based sources of protein include:
(These are widely available in most major supermarkets).
My top nutritional tips for your teen:
From the age of 11, everyone should try to eat no more than 6g salt and 30g of sugar a day.
Friendship: Find a friend who you’re comfortable talking with about healthy habits. Social networks (the live and in-person ones!) are so important to helping you develop self-esteem and a value system. Find positive people around you who can support you and share some of your goals.
It’s never too late to start adopting good dietary habits! Even if you’ve spent your childhood on a diet of soda and chips, it’s not too late to make a change to get your body in a better place. It takes only two weeks to form a habit, so simple changes now will pay great dividends down the road. Start simple (try some raw veggies to get your crunch fix) and build up.
Realise that you control what goes into your body. It’s easy to blame others (hello, fast-food restaurants) for why we have an obesity problem. But the fact is that, even with lots of outside influences, you still have the choice about what you do or do not eat or drink. Always!
Yes, it’s been said before… but exercising regularly is really fundamental not only for the health of your body but also for your mind and that all-important serotonin (happy hormone) production.
You don’t have to do crazy. Take a walk – like 10,000 steps. They don’t have to be all at once (you probably already do a good chunk of it at school every day). Make it a point to be active and get your body moving.
Setting a tangible goal (like 10,000 steps a day) is a great way to start if you’re not already active. Then even if you only do 5000 or less, you know you are still actively moving and actively aware of carving out time and space for exercise.
If walking loads isn’t your thing then try to do some kind of exercise at least 5 times per week including some form of resistance exercise and cardiovascular exercise. Stay active, be active, sweat a little. Choose activities that you have fun with – keeping that activity fun is one of the best ways to maintain the activity. This is key.
With love and light and ENJOY your beautiful life.
Kristina Carman is a leading nutritional therapist and yoga teacher based in Marlow. For more information or to get in touch, please email: email@example.com or visit www.seedwellness.co.uk/kristinacarman