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Guidelines for Healthy Food and Beverages for Adolescent Health Programs
Replace Sweetened Drinks with Water and Low Fat Milk
Why? Sweetened beverages like soda and juice drinks are high in calories but low in nutrients. As a result they can cause weight gain and tooth decay. The body does not recognize calories in liquids the same way it does in solid foods. Therefore, the more high-calorie sweetened drinks youth have in a day, the more likely it is they are taking in a higher number of total calories.
What to do? Instead of sweetened drinks, youth should be offered water or low fat milk. These drinks are more nutritious and will not increase daily caloric intake as much as sweetened drinks. It may also be a good idea to provide young people with 100% juice products as a healthy alternative, since it can contribute a whole serving of fruit. However, youth should be cautious with this, because it is easy to over-consume 100% fruit juices and they contain a higher amount of calories than water or low fat milk products.
Quick Recipe: Refreshing Pineapple Fizz
(Makes 4 Servings, 8oz each)
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
2 cups seltzer
4 lemon slices
In a bowl or pitcher, mix the juice and seltzer together. Add the lemon slices and chill in the refrigerator.
Did You Know??
Did you know that over half of the body is water?
Water is the main ingredient in blood which travels through your body carrying nutrients. When you’re hot, water helps keep the body cool.
Drink water even when not thirsty. It helps hydrate the body and boost energy.
Put a variety of fruits in a blender to create a heart healthy and delicious smoothie.
$ Money Saving Tips $
$ Encourage youth to drink tap water! It’s often fluoridated and many bottled waters are not. Fluoride protects teeth from tooth decay (cavities) and helps heal early decay.
$ Have youth use reusable bottles instead of plastic.
Serve More Fruits and Vegetables
Why? Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are necessary for healthy growth in youth. Fruits and vegetables are also low in calories. They are great because they can be cooked and prepared in a variety of ways. This can help make them more appealing to youth. Fruits are sweet and can often be substituted for a dessert, providing a healthy alternative while still satisfying a sweet tooth.
What to do? It is essential that youth eat vegetables and fruits each day. In order to adhere to this recommendation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has replaced the food pyramid with a more understandable “MyPlate”1 graphic (see below). They recommend that half of the plate be fruits and vegetables. Vegetables and fruits can be varied by eating a lot of dark green and orange vegetables as well as dry beans and peas. Also, buying fresh vegetables and fruits in season and stocking up on frozen vegetables and fruits that are easy to prepare and will not spoil makes accomplishing this goal easier.
1 USDA “MyPlate” illustrates the five food groups using a familiar mealtime visual, a place setting and replaces the food pyramid. For more information, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Quick Recipe: Fast Fruit Salad
(Yields about 8 servings)
1 small can of pineapple chunks in juice
Wash, core and chop apples. Peel and slice bananas and oranges. Mix all fruits in a large bowl and enjoy!
Try using different combinations of fresh or canned fruit or use ½ cup of frozen lemonade concentrate.
Vary Your Veggies!
Offer rich-colored rainbow of veggies… Flavor veggies with fresh herbs and lemon juice instead of butter…Cook veggies only until done, when they lose color, they lose vitamins and don’t taste as good.
Focus On Fruits!
Serve fresh or frozen fruits rather than those canned in syrup…. Eat whole fruits which provide nutrients and are high in fiber.
$ Money Saving Tips $
$ Provide fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season, such as collard greens, cherries, strawberries and peaches in July and tomatoes, kale, apples and watermelon in September.
$ Bring your students to a farmers’ market or a bodega to select their own snacks at a good price!
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