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Teens and Sugar Addiction

"My 15 year old daughter seems addicted to sugar. Her terrible diet is affecting her in a very bad way...mood swings, very poor concentration, etc."

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Ideas to stop sugar cravings—

Here are some tips for your daughter that will help curb her appetite for sugary foods:
  • Always eat a good, hearty breakfast! Do not think that skipping breakfast will make you lose weight! In fact, eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism which leads to more weight loss. Breakfast will also help you to concentrate and eat less throughout the day.
  • Check food labels. Eat foods that are low in calories (anything below 200 is good) and carbohydrates. Although carbohydrates can help you think better - and they fuel the nervous system and power fat metabolism. Avoid saturated and trans fat (which leads to weight gain). Eat foods that have vitamins and minerals in them. Protein, fiber, and iron are all good for you. If you can't read an ingredient or if you've never heard of it, most likely it is not good for you.
  • Do not eat when you are not hungry! Boredom and depression can lead a person to eating things that will lead to weight gain. If you are bored, try reading a book, playing a sport, or talking to friends. Try to avoid your kitchen if you are home all day. Make sure there is no food in sight or you will get cravings. Study, if possible.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. It curbs hunger, makes you feel better and makes your skin glow!
  • Eat only until you are satisfied. Do not over stuff yourself. If you are given a ton of food on your plate, don't feel obligated to eat it all.
  • Eat your dinner earlier (in between 4:30 and 7:00) so that you can burn off some of the calories you consumed.
  • Every time you go to put something in your body, ask yourself: "Is this going to improve my health, or harm it?" If the answer is the second one, you know what to do.
  • Fill up half your plate with veggies.
  • If you get the need to crunch or chew food when you are not hungry, eat something low in calories such as fruit or gum. Ask someone like a parent to stop you from over-eating.
  • If you have a very sugary diet, you may get a Sugar Withdrawal Headache. These are tough to deal with and hurt a lot, so if you can't just ignore it, keep a single Hershey bar (or other candy bar) in your locker a week. Eat a single square when you get a headache and it'll help. Make sure it doesn't melt, or you'll end up tricking yourself into eating more than one "square" (melted lump). Remember to change it out about once a week or it'll get moldy and make you sick. Even if there's some left.
  • Know how to respond to binges. If you have a pig-out and want to burn off the calories you just consumed, go for a brisk walk or any other physical activity. Also, eat a nutritious meal after a pig-out. Alternatively, if you are tempted to binge, try eating something nutritious beforehand. By the time you finish this initial food, you may change your mind.
  • Try to avoid stress or learn to deal with it. Stress will cause pig-outs.
  • Try to eat salads and ask your parents to make them. Or, make them yourself by whipping together some ingredients. Salads are healthy and with the proper dressings and toppings of your choice, taste great. Toppings should be low-fat and examples are grated cheese, bacon, and diced eggs.
  • Try to replace things you usually eat with something healthier. If you're reaching for a handful of chips, force yourself to stop, and go grab an apple instead. (Note: this can be easier said than done.)
  • You should also ask yourself WHY you are eating something before you eat it. If the answer isn't "It's time for lunch/dinner/breakfast and I'm hungry," PUT IT BACK.

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