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Nutrition > Weight Loss Tips for Teens

Weight Loss Tips for Teens

Losing weight is difficult for people of any age. During adolescence, weight loss must be a balancing act between the nutritional needs of your growing body and maintaining a healthy weight. It is important you keep this in mind as you lose weight. The following tips will help you lose weight or grow into your current weight by maintaining your current weight and stay healthy.

Weight-loss tips

  1. Cut down on calories, especially added sugars
  2. Choose healthy foods instead of junk foods, increase vegetable intake
  3. Decrease the amount and portion size of food you eat
  4. Be more active

Limit sugary drinks

Limit drinks with sugar and calories, such as soda pop, Kool- Aid, Gatorade, Fruitopia, flavored waters, and other sweetened beverages. These drinks can add 500-1000 calories a day to your diet. Water is the best fluid to drink between meals. The following drinks do not contain calories or sugar and are also good choices if you are thirsty between meals: unsweetened tea (hot or cold); mineral water or club soda; sugar-free drinks (containing Nutrasweet / Equal / Splenda / Sucralose) like Crystal Light, diet soda pop or sugar-free Kool-Aid. (Note: There is emerging research that suggests that the sugar-free sweeteners contribute to weight gain by altering the gut bacteria, so these might not be the best recommendation either. Water's always a great drink!) 

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and rich in nutrients, and should be included in each meal. They will help you feel fuller and provide the nutrients your growing body needs. Try to include one fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack to get a total of at least 5 servings every day. Pick a wide variety of colors. 

Eat a variety of foods

Make sure you eat a wide variety of foods. You should include foods from each food group every day unless you have an allergy to that food. These groups include:
  1. Breads and whole grains.
  2. Fruits and vegetables.
  3. Milk and dairy products.
  4. Proteins (meats, peanut butter, nuts, eggs, beans).
  5. Limited amounts of fats and oils.

Limit high fat/high sugar foods

Decrease the amount of fat you eat by limiting fried foods, high fat luncheon meats, chips, pastries, and fast foods. Decrease the amount of butter, margarine, mayonnaise, and salad dressing you add to your food. Use herbs and spices to flavor your foods instead. Avoid foods with added sugars. The natural sugars found in foods are unavoidable, but we don't need to add sugar to foods and drinks. 

Try not to skip meals

When you skip a meal, you usually become hungrier at the next meal and over-eat the rest of the day. It also changes your metabolism, which makes it easier to gain weight by skipping meals. Skipping breakfast or lunch may also cause you to have difficulty paying attention in school. If your schedule is hectic, be sure to have healthy snacks available so you don’t skip a meal or overeat.

Avoid quick weight-loss diets

Many of these diets are low in nutrition that teens need to be healthy. Weight loss aids such as over-the-counter weight loss medication or herbal products are expensive and can be harmful to your health. They also make it harder to keep the weight off. Check with your doctor before trying any quick weight loss product or fad diet.

Eat healthy snacks

Choose low calorie, healthy foods for snacks — like fresh fruits and vegetables, non-sugar cereal, whole grains, whole grains crackers, popcorn, low-fat cheese, or baked chips. Be sure to watch your portion size.  Avoid grazing or snacking all day. Eating protein and fiber helps you feel full longer.

Increase your activity

Exercising 4 or 6 times a week for at least 30 minutes will make losing weight easier. Be as active as you can.  Examples of exercise include walking, cycling, roller blading, jogging, dancing, and swimming — anything that keeps you moving. Getting involved in a school or club sport can be a fun way to get exercise. Limit the amount of time you watch television and movies, and play computer and video games (no more than 2 hours a day total). The best exercise is one you like — be creative.

All of these suggestions can help you develop a healthy lifestyle. If you are having a weight problem now, chances are you will have problems with your weight again. Use these healthy tips to change your diet for life.

More Help

A free app and website, MyFitnessPal, can be very helpful keeping track of nutrients, calories, and exercise. You can manually enter foods and exercise or scan with a bar code scanner from your smartphone or tablet and it saves your previous choices, making it easy to keep track of foods eaten. Unfortunatly because children and teens are growing it cannot give accurate recommendations on numbers of each of these items. You can work with a nutritionist to determine your goals, then compare your daily and weekly logs to your goals.

General Healthy Eating Rules:


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