Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice- so goes the adage. An excess of sugar and spice leads to health problems. In today’s world where girls compete with boys on each level, it pays to be diet and health-conscious. Weight plays a major role in every girl’s self-image and confidence level.
A growing girl needs healthy, nutritious food to meet her energy requirements as she copes with school, sports, part-time employment, outings with friends, and the physical demands of this stage in growth. Family support, health consciousness, and positive reinforcement on the part of peers and seniors play a major role in eating healthy.
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A teenage girl needs 1800-2100 calories on a daily basis. Thus, a healthy diet should meet these calorific requirements and provide the vitamins and proteins required to ensure growth. A teenage girl’s diet should include plenty of fruits, fresh vegetables, iron-rich foods, calcium-rich dairy products, whole-grain foods, and lean meat for proteins. To eat healthily, carbohydrate and fat-rich fast food should be made a rare indulgence. Carbonated sweet drinks add empty calories without providing nutrition and should be avoided too as they contain sweetening agents that can push up the body weight.
Dietary dos and don’ts for girls
- Never skip breakfast: Breakfast literally means breaking the fast. The body is bereft of food in the hours we slumber and hence energy levels are at their lowest levels in the morning. If we skip breakfast, not only are we depriving the body of a source of energy but also set the tone for a low energy level day.
- Eat small portions and chew food well before swallowing. This ensures less food consumption.
- Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day to get rid of toxins and wastes in the body.
- Drink fresh fruit juices and soups instead of carbonated drinks. Fruit juices help you lose weight and give you great skin and hair
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A Sample Diet for a girl
Breakfast for a growing girl should include 2-3 slices of whole wheat bread, a glass of orange juice, a bowl of cereal, or muesli with honey and milk. An egg can be consumed to meet protein requirements while vegetarians can eat a handful of sprouts.
- Mid-morning snack: A fruit, a handful of almonds, raisins, or pistachios, and a glass of milk or yogurt.
- Lunch: A portion of lean chicken or lean meat, 2 corn tortillas or 2-3 slices of whole-grain bread or Indian bread, a bowl of salads, a bowl of yogurt, a bowl of soup.
- Snack: A glass of milk or a fruit smoothie, a peanut butter sandwich, and a fruit.
- Dinner: A bowl of soup, pasta with vegetables, a bowl of salad, 1 helping of grilled or steamed fish.