How to get our youth moving and eating healthy

It is one of the most debatable topics amongst all fitness enthusiasts and nutritionists worldwide as to whether drinking or eating protein is better. Photo: dmonkeybusinessimages / iStock

It is often stated that children of today pave the way for the future of tomorrow. A healthy society relies heavily on the well-being of its youth, encompassing both their mental fortitude and physical health. Recognizing the significant role of fitness and nutrition in shaping the lives of young adults' lives becomes paramount. 

Eating Mindfully

What are the key nutrients young people need to have every day?

Whole Grains for Energy: Whole grains like brown rice, Whole millet, whole wheat, quinoa, and oats are rich in complex carbohydrates.

Protein for Muscle and Organ Building: Sources of protein can include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas).

Iron-rich foods: Adolescents, especially girls, are prone to iron deficiency due to growth spurts and menstruation. Foods like lean red meat, poultry, beans, lentils, spinach, Drumstick leaves, Dates, Raisins, and fortified cereals can help maintain adequate iron levels.

Calcium (1300 mg daily):. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources but fortified plant-based milk alternatives and calcium-rich vegetables like methi leaves, drumstick leaves are also beneficial.

Fruits and Vegetables Every Day: Encouraging a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables in the diet ensures a wide range of nutrients.

Limiting Fat: Healthy fats are found in foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

Additionally, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is also essential for maintaining bodily functions and supporting overall health.

What are some tips for avoiding unhealthy foods?

» Drink water: Staying hydrated can help curb unnecessary cravings and reduce overeating.

» Eat more protein: Protein takes longer to digest, helping to control your appetite

» Distance yourself from the craving: When a craving strikes, try distracting yourself with an activity or going for a short walk.

» Keep your distance from the urge: When a craving hits, consider diverting your attention with an activity or taking a quick stroll. But try to avoid becoming very hungry because doing so can result in impulsive and poor meal decisions.

» Fight stress: Manage your stress because it might lead to emotional eating and cravings for comfort food.

What are some healthy snacks that young can eat?

Some tasty mid-morning and evening snacks include; Mixed Nuts, fruit smoothie, Eggs, Sweetened rice flakes, Boiled pulses, Banana oats muffins, Sprouted pulses with scrambled eggs, Millets pudding, Seasame balls, Chappathi with stuffed vegetables, Millets payasam, etc,

Is it okay to undergo diets like egg diet, Keto, or intermittent fasting good for the young?

It's not advised for the young. These 'diets' may provide short-term results, but they are difficult to sustain and, ultimately deprive the young of the essential nutrients that only balanced eating can offer. These diets can cause health problems as they often cut out key foods, and may cause dehydration, weakness and fatigue, nausea and headaches, and constipation.

What are some practical tips for incorporating nutritious foods into their daily routines?

A healthy diet consumed throughout the life course aids in preventing a number of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and illnesses, as well as malnutrition in all of its conditions. By educating children, adolescents, and adults about nutrition and healthy dietary practices; encouraging culinary skills, including in children through schools; we can promote healthy eating.

Get Fit Go!

How much physical activity do young people need every day?

Being physically active is one of the most important things that one can do each day to maintain and improve health. Doing any physical activity is better than doing nothing. Start with a small amount of exercise and build it up gradually to the recommended amount. Trying to do muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days each week is also advisable. Also walking for two minutes when you sit long periods of time.

How can young people stay motivated to be active?

Set a goal, and regular timetable and assure to follow the same. Burn calories by using a staircase, and walk while taking phone calls. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle in front of TV, computer, phone, etc. by engaging oneself in physical activities like swimming, cycling, jogging, etc. Take breaks at office work. Avoid continuing in the same postures. Eat healthy and choose a healthy lifestyle.

What are some important preventive health care screenings that young people should get?

Recommended screenings for adolescents include measuring height and weight, body mass index and obesity, blood pressure, vision and hearing, and screening for high cholesterol, anemia, tuberculosis, depression, drug and alcohol use, cervical abnormalities (for young women), Hepatitis B, HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.

What are some tips for managing stress and anxiety?

Follow these useful tips in your daily life.

    » Plan your day. Use a calendar or planning app to keep track of your daily schedule.

    » Eat healthy foods. Your diet has an impact on your energy, mood, and stress level.

    » Get adequate rest. You're more prone to experience stress if you don't get enough sleep.

    » Work out each day. More than just keeping you fit, exercise has other benefits. It helps you control your stress, anxiety, and sadness while boosting your mood.

    » Inhale deeply. Take a few calm, deep breaths from your belly if you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

    (Sherin Thomas is Senior Manager, Dept of Clinical Nutrition, Aster MIMS, Kozhikode)

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