I’m the first to admit that fast food can be delicious. An In-n-Out double-double with grilled onions? DELICIOUS. Unfortunately, I wish that 670 right next to it on the menu stood for taste points instead of what it actually does- calories.
Fast food, as tempting and savory as it may be, is one of the main reasons our generation is struggling with obesity and healthy living. In fact, the CDC states that individuals who eat fast food one or more times a week have an increased risk for obesity and certain cancers. There’s no denying that poor eating habits don’t make us feel as energized as when we’re eating healthy (Has anyone else seen those Pediasure commercials?!).
So what should we be eating? According to this guide for teenagers, teens should be eating:
- fruits and vegetables
- fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- whole grains
It’s hard to be proactive, however, and have a nutritious meal when our schools and communities seem to be handing us Big Macs on silver platters. WHY are schools still allowed to sell soda?! (CDC says “drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can result in weight gain, overweight, and obesity”).
Let’s also not be fooled by celebrities. Sure, Kim Kardashian may be eating a Carl’s Jr. burger in the commercial, but how much do you want to bet that she stays far from the fast food chain in real life?
Therefore, WE have to be the change in the community. However difficult it may be, teens need to realize that healthy eating helps reduce one’s risk for developing obesity, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, and cavities. Eating healthy meals is better for us in the short AND long run. If you look for an alternative place to eat, you will find that they do exist. Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Sprouts are all popping up all over the country, making it easier for teens to eat better.
Also, let your voice be heard. Talk to your school about providing nutritional meals. If you don’t know what they should be serving, check out these nutrition standards.
By HOSNA SAFI