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Food on the Go and Controlling Bloatedness

My daughter often has to grab food on the go, and is at dancing for hours on end at the weekends. What should she eat while she is at ballet that will not make her feel bloated?

Beginning healthy diet habits does begin at home, yet when it comes to the teenage years it is often hard for parents to govern what their children are eating. Pre-teens and teenagers often begin to have more meals out of the house, either with friends, or on the run. Knowing how different foods affect them, and knowing how to make healthy choices can reduce the chances of her deciding to skip meals, or putting on too much weight from eating “fast foods”. Depending on the age of the child, discussing food choices, and how they will affect their dancing and performances may help it become less about you telling them what they can eat, and more about them making healthy lifestyle choices for themselves.

The biggest downfall of most active pre-teens and teenagers is the need to grab food on the go. Cheap and fast food tends to lack the nutrition that these active bodies need, so knowing which things are healthier choices, and ensuring that meals at home are especially nutritious is important. Being a little prepared can go a long way towards the health of your child’s diet, and may save you financially as well. Get your child involved in planning snacks for each day, and encourage them to carry bottled water at all times.

• Try adding a bag of carrot sticks and a dip such as homous to a lunch box instead of potato crisps or packaged snacks.
• Invest in good quality fruit; apples with crunch and easy to eat things such as mandarins and bananas, instead of baked sweets.
• Switch to multigrain breads or rolls. Keep the fillings separate in transit if kids complain of soggy sandwiches!
• Use thin wraps or Lebanese style bread rather than thick cut bread and rolls.
• A small handful of mixed nuts (not peanuts) are a great snack in between dance classes, as they provide energy without bloating.
• Avoid processed foods wherever possible. It is much better to consume foods in their natural state, as whenever a process is applied, nutrients are lost and fillers may be added.
• Slow release carbohydrates are an important fuel during long rehearsals. While a high protein, low carbohydrate diet may work well for some adults to maintain their weight, growing bodies do need a balanced diet.
• Some foods have surprisingly high sugar contents. Check out the GI (Glycemic Index) and GL (Glycemic Load) values of common foods you and your children consume at http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.html
• If she is buying a snack from a machine, advise her to look for nuts, cereal bars or fruit to avoid too many unwanted nasty additives!

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