High school is busy. We run from class to after-school activities and then home to do our homework. We know eating nutritious food is important, but who has time to sift through hard-to-find nutritional information?
The truth is, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Or time-consuming. Or boring. Healthy eating can be fun and easy. Below, we asked high school students what they usually eat. Then our nutrition experts weighed in on how to make those meals more nutritious, without sacrificing taste—whether eating at school, a café, a fast-food restaurant, or just grabbing a snack.
“General tips to keep in mind when navigating school cafeterias are to choose grilled over fried and chicken and turkey over beef, and to go light on the dressing, condiments, and cheese.”
—Dr. Karen Moses, registered dietitian and director of health promotion at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Grabbing a snack between classes can help you stay energized and sharp throughout the day. Healthy snacking can also prevent you from overeating at your next meal, which means you can focus on your history lesson and not your growling stomach.
Most of us know that fast food isn’t the best choice for our health, but if you can’t live without it, there are healthier options at most fast-food restaurants. “I usually get fast and easy food, like a spicy chicken sandwich,” says Leslie, a student in Pixley, California.
When it comes to eating out, the options are endless. “Choose the smallest meal, drink, and dessert that will fill you up (even a kid’s meal will do).”
—Dr. Karen Moses
6 key tips for making your meals optimally nutritious
- Choose grilled instead of fried.
- Eat chicken, turkey, fish, and/or soy more often than beef and pork.
- Go for fruit and veggies on the side instead of fries or chips.
- Choose unsweetened tea, flavored or plain water, and milk instead of sugary drinks.
- Ask for salad dressings, sauces, mayo, dips, and creamy toppings on the side.
- Use cheese sparingly.
Karen Moses, EDD, RD, CHES, director of health promotion, Arizona State University, Arizona.
Gary D. Miller, PhD, associate professor, Wake Forest University, North Carolina.
Jenna Volpe, RD, registered dietitian specializing in weight management and eating disorders, Massachusetts.
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