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What happens if I eat junk food while I'm on a diet as a teen?

Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Consider not being on a diet, and allow yourself to indulge in some junk food occassionally. As a growing teen, you only have a few more years to eat the most nutrient dense foods that contain vitamin D and calcium for optimal bone development to last you the rest of your life. As in many life choices, it is also true with your health, that the choices you make now will impact the rest of your life. Choose whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, soy, healthy fats such as olive oil and avocados and less junk food with added sugar, salt and saturated fat. Keep active daily, breaking a sweat for a least 30 minutes on most days, physician permitting.

Sarah Krieger
Nutrition & Dietetics

As a registered "diet"itian, I can tell you that many people hate to diet and feel like they have to follow a specific meal plan to be successful with weight loss. It is healthier to make a few changes in your eating habits so you will stick with those changes!

Losing weight is a journey. Making healthy food choices as a teen is a great start to having a healthy adulthood! Everyone likes to eat their favorite foods and to give those up is usually very short term. So the best advice is this:

*Make a brief list of foods you think are "junk"-usually those with many calories, but very little nutrition-candy, fried chips, soda, super-sugary coffee drinks, etc.

*Decide which foods on your list are most important to you and decide how often to include them with meals or snacks. For example: a small 1-2 ounce bag of chips with a turkey, lettuce, tomato, whole wheat bread sandwich, apple and nonfat milk for a meal. See how you can include a favorite food while eating more nutritious foods at the same time? It doesn't have to be either healthy or junk!

*If you pretend that you can give up certain foods for a long time, which thought will usually backfire. Try eating smaller amounts with meals so you can enjoy all foods with reasonable portions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.