What's a Girl to Eat?

Letโ€™s face it, your body is changing. You are hungry and tired and sometimes moody (yeah, we wonโ€™t share that one ๐Ÿ˜œ.) I am not an expert on food and nutrition so I called in someone who is. I am so happy to introduce you to Heather Stefan! She is the most amazing nutritionist and expert because she is a woman, a nutritionist and the mom of three girls.

Heather is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist and has more than 18 years experience (Yes! that is more than most of you have been on this planet!). Heather has always had a great love for food. Her mom and grandma let her help in the kitchen as a young girl, giving her a foundation for cooking and trying new foods. As I mentioned, she has three daughters who range in age from 8-14 and she knows the challenges young girls and teens face, especially around body image. She is on a mission to promote body kindness, teaching teens that diets never work. She also educates families on how to fuel their young athletes, battle picky eaters or how to get a healthy meal on the dinner table. When she is not cooking or cleaning up spills in her own kitchen, you can find her binge watching Netflix with her husband or walking her puppy, Lola.  ๐Ÿถ

Schooled Nutrition

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by Heather Stefan

With school starting back up, you may have noticed that many of your friends now look more grown-up. Maybe youโ€™re the one who got taller or curvier over the summer. You may be the one who is still the shortest or smallest on the team. Itโ€™s hard not to play the comparison game between you and other girls. But, every body is different and grows at a different rate. Give yourself a little body kindness. One thing stays the same - all girls need good nutrition during this time of major growth.

The most important thing you can do is to eat three meals and two to three snacks each day. Food is like your gasoline. Your body needs it to go. Whether you love to read or play soccer, swim or paint pictures, you need to make sure that you are eating regular meals and snacks each day. If you skip meals, like breakfast, you may find the need to overeat later in the day to make up for all the calories you missed out on earlier. Include four out of the five food groups in every meal. These five foods includes: grains (cereal, pasta, whole wheat bread, rice), dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), fruit (apples, bananas, berries), vegetable (carrots, broccoli, salad), and protein (beef, chicken, fish, eggs, peanut butter). All foods can fit into a healthy diet--you want to pick more of the foods that are healthy and less of those that are super high in sugar, fat and salt.

Here are a few tips to help you fuel your growing body:

โ— Eat breakfast every day- Even if you donโ€™t feel like eating breakfast, try and eat and drink something. A smoothie made with yogurt and fruit is a fast way to get breakfast in.

โ— Balance your lunch with a variety of foods- Make sure your lunch includes a protein, fruit or vegetable, milk or yogurt and some whole grains. You need a lot of energy to get you through the rest of your school day and after school activities. Sandwiches with whole grain bread, a low-sugar yogurt and fruit is an easy lunch to pack.

โ— Drink plenty of water- Most kids go to after school activities mildly dehydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carry along a water bottle to school and take drinks in-between classes.

โ— Add powerhouse snacks after school or between meals or practices- Make sure to pack healthy and substantial snacks for all of your after school sports or activities. Trail mix with seeds, dried fruit, pretzels and whole grain cereal is a quick and filling snack that you donโ€™t have to worry about keeping cold. Throw in a low-fat chocolate milk ๐Ÿฅ›๐Ÿซ in a thermos with an ice pack and you will have enough energy to get you through until dinner.

โ— Try something new- Middle school and high school are great times to try new foods with your friends. Maybe you see your friends trying sushi ๐Ÿฑ or cuisine from a different country. As you get older, try experimenting with more unique flavors and spices. You may be surprised how things taste and you may actually like many different foods.

โ— Learn to be your own chef๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ- Cooking is a skill that many kids arenโ€™t being taught, but everyone needs to learn. Ask a grown-up to show you some basic cooking skills. Try out some family favorite recipes. If no one at home likes to cook, try taking an online cooking class. Always be mindful of the stove, oven and sharp tools like knives and ask your parents first before stepping foot into the kitchen.

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As you manage a new school year and activity schedule, remember that fueling your body is not only going to help you grow and develop properly, but it will also help you think clearer, work smarter and perform better. ๐Ÿ™Œโค๏ธ

Heather Stefan can be reached at www.heatherstefanrd.com

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