Teen Tip Sheet
The below Teen Tip Sheet is also available in .pdf format.
Reading Food Labels
The key to smart eating is understanding the information on Nutrition Facts labels:
Serving Size and Servings Per Container. These numbers tell you what size serving (e.g. 1 cup) was used to measure all the other facts on the label, and how many of those servings are in this package.
Remember: If there are 2 servings in the package, and you eat the whole package, you’re getting twice the amount of all the listed nutrients.
Calories. Add up these numbers on the foods you eat to determine how many calories you get during a day. If you are trying to lose weight, your minimum calorie intake should be equal to ten times your weight in pounds. For example: 150 lbs = 1500 calories per day. If you are moderately active the number may need to be higher, like 2000 calories. Per serving of food: 40 calories is low, 100 calories is moderate, and 400 calories is high. Look for foods that get a small percentage of their calories from fat.
% Daily Values. These numbers tell you, based on an average 2000 calorie diet, how much of the various nutrients a serving of this food delivers. Look for low percentages of: Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium. Most American diets contain too much of these nutrients. Choose foods that offer 5% or less of these per serving, and avoid those that offer 20% or more. Look for high percentages of: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. Most Americans diets could use more of these nutrients. Try to choose foods with 20% or more.
Ingredients Lists. Ingredients are listed from highest to lowest, so avoid foods with fats, oils, sugars, and sodium near the top of the ingredient list. Remember to look for sugar under all of its names. It may be listed as fructose, sucrose, dextrose, lactose and maltose - all rhyme with “gross.” Honey, molasses, and corn sweetener are also sugars.
Smart and Easy Food Substitutions
- Instead of Fruit Juice try A piece of fresh fruit
- Instead of Mayo try Mustard or low-fat mayo
- Instead of Whole or 2% mils try 1%, fat free, or skim milk
- Instead of High-fat or processed cheese try Low-fat cheese
- Instead of Soda try Water or low-fat milk
- Instead of Fried foods try Baked, steamed, boiled, and broiled foods
- Instead of Whole eggs try Egg whites
- Instead of Sour cream try Low-fat yogurts, sour cream, or cottage cheese
- Instead of Sauces, butter, and salt try Herbs and spices
- Instead of White breads, cereal, and rice try Whole wheat bread and cereal, and brown rice
- Instead of Fried chips and potato chips try Baked snack chips
- Instead of Creamy or salty soups try Low-salt soups with plenty of veggies
Healthy Snack Swaps:
Instead of A bowl of potato chips try A bowl of microwave popcorn (without butter)
Instead of Ice cream or a milkshake try A low-fat yogurt smoothie with frozen fruit
Instead of Sugared cereal with whole milk try Low sugar cereal with low-fat milk
Instead of A donut or cupcake try A banana, orange, or apple
Instead of Fried tortilla chips with cheese try Baked tortilla chips with salsa
Instead of A chocolate bar or cookie try Low fat string cheese
Instead of A handful of chocolate buttons try A handful of nuts or raisins
Fast Food Restaurants: Smart Choices:
- Instead of Large servings try Smaller servings
- Instead of Cheese or mayo try Hold the cheese, hold the mayo
- Instead of Hamburger try Broiled chicken sandwich, Chicken Fajita
Sandwich, or Salad w/ low-fat, low-calorie dressing
- Instead of Fries try Baked potato, salad, or fruit bowl
- Instead of Soda try Diet soda, water, or low-fat milk
- Instead of Ice cream or milkshake try Low-fat frozen yogurt
- Instead of Pizza with meat toppings try Pizza with veggie toppings
Also, skip foods described with these words:
- Au gratin
- Au fromage
- In a cream or cheese sauce
- Hollandaise or Béarnaise
- Pot pie
- Pastry crust
More Good Food Tips:
- “Eat the rainbow” of colorful foods. Choose deep orange and bright yellow fruits and vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables. Choose brown wheat breads and brown rice over the white varieties.
- Choose breads and other foods that contain whole grains like barley, oatmeal and whole oats, popcorn, whole rye, whole or cracked wheat, brown rice and wild rice.
Be active at least one hour a day, five days a week:
- Try breaking your exercise up into ten or 15-minute blocks throughout the day.
- Jump rope during the commercials of a one-hour TV show: you can burn 100 calories.
- Remember to drink water before, during and after exercise.
- Always stretch before and after you work out
If you can’t get to the gym, try these mini-workouts and alternative exercises:
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator
- Walk or ride your bike instead of taking a car
- Find your own dumbbells: try full water bottles or heavy stones
- Try good old fashioned calisthenics, like push-ups and sit-ups
- Dance or do aerobics to your favorite songs
- Don’t just splash in the pool -- do some laps
- Take your dog -- or a friend’s dog for a walk
- Buy a pedometer and walk 10,000 steps a day