April 14, 2021
Healthy Living: The Importance of Diet and Exercise
- Family Medicine
- Wellness Institute
April 1, 2016 • Family Medicine
Good nutrition is important for your entire family but each member of your family has specific nutritional needs. Tailoring meals to the needs of moms, dads, teens and toddlers can satisfy the nutritional needs of every member of your family at each stage of development.
Teenage boys are like locusts, capable of stripping entire pantries bare in a single sitting. Tame your hungry teen’s appetite with fiber, which provides a feeling of fullness and key nutrients.
Girls should eat no more than 120 to 160 “empty calories” per day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service website GirlsHealth.gov. Empty calories add to your weight but do not provide any nutrients your body can use to function or grow. Foods like sugary sodas, fruit drinks, cookies, ice cream and cake contain empty calories.
Kids should eat five fruits and vegetables each day, according to Let’s Move. Fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables all count.
Empty calories add to your weight but do not provide any nutrients your body can use to function or grow.
Dad – eat your vegetables. On average, men eat only 4.5 servings of fruits and vegetables instead of the recommended nine servings. Men also have high rates of diet-related diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Mom, you are at special risk for osteoporosis, a condition that makes your bones weak, brittle and more likely to break. Strengthen your bones with fat-free and low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese.
Children have smaller bodies than adults, naturally, so kids need to consume fewer calories to use as fuel. The best way to help children consume fewer calories is to reduce portion sizes but all the weighing and measuring of food is a real pain. One “handy” way to measure portion sizes is to use the hand as a guide to apportioning food, where a portion of fruits or vegetables is about the size of the consumer’s fist and a portion of meat is about the size of their palm. This quick tip helps to calibrate the portion size to the size of the consumer’s body quickly and without the inconvenience of measuring and weighing food.
Choose bowls and plates according to body size but always avoid the larger 14” buffet plates. Mom and dad can use lunch or dessert plates that measure about 9”, teenagers could downsize to 6-7” bread and butter plates, while little kids could eat from salad plates.
Eating too much of certain foods can have negative health consequences for the members of your family. Foods that contain solid fats can cause heart disease, for example, while food high in sodium can result in high blood pressure. Foods with added sugar, including sugar-sweetened drinks and sodas, provide extra calories without giving your family the nutrients they need.
High cholesterol foods, including ice cream, steak and animal products, can increase your family’s risk of heart disease. Avoid refined grains, as the refining process removes some of the nutritional value of whole grains.
Eating too much of certain foods can have negative health consequences for the members of your family.
Many prepared foods and meals sold at fast food restaurants are high in fat, sodium, added sugars and low in nutrition. Cooking with fresh, whole ingredients and eating at home can help you and every member of your family enjoy a healthier, more nutritious diet. Sharing meals and nutrition tips also brings your family together in new and healthy ways. For more information about nutrition for the whole family, contact Revere Health.
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.