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Eating and drinking for young people

youth eating and drinking for young people

Both young people and adults need to be active and eat healthily to live well. Just like adults, young people can sometimes be fussy about new flavours and textures, and at times may eat too much of the wrong kinds of food.

Healthy eating is all about balance – eating the right amount to match how active you are, and enjoying a variety of foods, so you get all the nutrients you need.

To function properly, the human body requires over 50 nutrients. No one single food or drink can provide us with all these nutrients at once, which is why eating a variety of foods in the right amounts each day is important to good health.

Tips for developing healthy habits to last a lifetime.

Eat breakfast

Eating breakfast, even if it’s just a banana and a glass of milk, kick-starts the body and makes it easier to maintain lasting energy throughout the day.

If you can establish the habit of eating a good breakfast at a young age, it should stay with you as you get older.

Choose healthier snacks

It’s easy to reach for chips or biscuits when you feel like nibbling on something, but these snacks tend to be low in nutrients and high in calories.

Instead, try to keep to healthier snacks such as fruit, air-popped popcorn, unsalted nuts and unsweetened yoghurt.

Drink water

Make water the drink of choice at meal times, and keep juice and sweet drinks as occasional treats.

While juice has valuable nutrients and gives a concentrated energy boost for active, growing bodies, you should go for water first when you're thirsty, not sugar-sweetened drinks.

Grow your own

Growing vegetables and herbs at home can be a fun way to learn where food comes from and to inspire you to eat a more varied diet.

Slow it down

Eating slowly is great for weight control at any age. It takes about 20 minutes for the message that you're full to get from your stomachs to your brain.

Be creative

All the vibrant colours in fruit and vegetables come from natural plant chemicals that have healthy effects on our bodies. Different colours have different effects, so it’s good to eat a variety of different colours each day.

Try to avoid:

  • having takeaways – preferably not more than once a week
  • having too many treats or rewards
  • constant eating – try to develop a routine and keep to specific meal and snack times.

Limiting foods high in sugar, fat or salt

It’s OK to have foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt every so often (not more than once per week), but never every day. Eating a lot of these foods can lead to health issues like obesity (becoming overweight), high blood pressure, heart disease and/or diabetes.

A few examples of foods high in salt, fat, or sugar are sweets/lollies, meat pies, muesli bars, potato chips, chocolate, cookies or sweet biscuits, takeaways and fizzy drinks.