It’s important to help your teen realize that truly, “you are what you eat” – we discussed how whole foods and nutrients are the most essential aspect of test preparation! What would happen if you put a low grade level of gas into a car that requires a high grade level? Eventually, the car’s engine will be degraded. That’s what happens when you feed the human body years of poor fuel – food that lacks nutrients. |
The number one food that teenagers gravitate to that needs to be minimized or best avoided are soft drinks and fruit drinks. Why? They are loaded with sugar. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine! It’s toxic to the mind and body. One regular soda has more sugar than should be consumed in an entire day. You pay the price for that sugar rush: The inevitable crash that follows it, prevents the brain from storing glucose – which makes it difficult to think.
High fructose corn syrup is even more toxic than sugar. It’s placed into foods to make them more palatable, even addictive – and to increase shelf life. It’s in almost every processed food, so check all labels carefully.
Energy drinks that cause a quick energy spike tend to dehydrate the body. Foods with any type of artificial additives and preservatives should also be avoided as they can affect focus and concentration.
So what is recommended:
• Lots of water or Honest Green Tea (I mix the sweetened with the unsweetened)
• Whole grain carbohydrates
• 85% organic chocolate: Theobromine in chocolate helps improve blood flow to the brain.
• Unlimited vegetables and semi-limited fruits – organic apples, berries and peaches, cantaloupe watermelon, bananas, pineapple, plums •
As mentioned before organic or grass-fed meats and chicken, sustainable fish and shrimp
• Nuts and seeds – mini-packs are available at Trader Joe’s
• Organic and or cage free eggs are an excellent source of healthy fat B vitamins and choline – important for strong brain function.
NOTE: The egg is almost the perfect food as it has almost every mineral and vitamin needed by the body. (All the nutrients are in the yolk; the white is only protein.)
Be careful not to nag or become the ‘food cop’ to your child. Changing your teens (and perhaps your) eating habits may need to be a gradual process. However, since natural, whole foods are more nutrient dense and better absorbed by the body, your teen may actually start feeling better feeling rather quickly – even if he only reduced his soda and/or fruit juice consumption from 7 a week to 3.
One of the most important aspects of eating in order to best absorb the nutrients is to make sure you enjoy what you are eating and the company you are eating with. It has been proven that meals shared with people we love and care about are received more readily into the body. That said, family meals are a must. It’s a win-win for everybody!