Does This Count as Dinner?
What to Cut Back On continued...
If you’re like most teens, you eat close to 34 teaspoons of added sugar each day. Try to limit sweets and processed foods (candy, soda, sugary cereal), which tend to sneak in sugar under different names like “corn syrup” or “fructose.”
Also, 90% of kids eat way too much salt, which stresses your heart. Steer clear of ready-to-eat foods (frozen burritos, pizza rolls, ramen noodles), which often have tons of it, as do bread and rolls, salty snacks, cold cuts, and pizza.
Healthy Meals to Make at Home
You’ll have more control over what you eat if you cook dinner at home. That doesn’t have to involve fancy ingredients or a lot of time. Here are some quick meals you can make yourself:
DIY Burrito: Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with canned black beans, fresh spinach, half an avocado, salsa, and grated cheese.
Egg Scramble: Scramble 2-3 eggs, then throw in diced veggies (peppers, tomatoes, spinach) and shredded cheddar.
Tuna Melt: Mix a tuna packet with low-fat mayo, then spoon it onto a toasted whole-wheat English muffin. Top with a slice of pepper jack or cheddar cheese.
Protein Smoothie: In a blender, mix 1-2 cups of frozen fruit with 6 ounces of Greek yogurt or milk, 1 tablespoon or a small packet of flaxseed, and 1 cup water.
Rice and Veggie Steamer: Use the microwave to heat up a single serving bag of frozen veggies and a package of brown or wild rice. Add protein like canned beans or grilled chicken strips, then flavor with low-sodium soy sauce, marinara, or jarred pesto.
Better Choices on the Go
If you usually grab dinner out, try these easy swaps for a healthier -- but still tasty -- meal.
Instead of a burger and fries: Order a turkey burger or grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad. You’ll get just as much protein, minus all the saturated fat. The salad has more fiber to fill you up -- and without the loads of salty, greasy fries.
When you order pizza: Ask for a thin crust with veggie toppings. “Thin crust has far fewer calories than thick crust or deep dish,” Armul says.