Healthy Eating - Portion Control
How to Have a Healthy Lifestyle in High School
Creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important, and sometimes being in high school can jeopardize it. Developing healthy habits while you're young will make it easier to continue when you're older. Those habits extend to every aspect of your life, and can influence your future choices in meaningful ways. A healthy lifestyle can also help keep you safe and happy during your trying teen years while building the foundations for a meaningful adulthood.
Staying Healthy and Safe
Live a sober, healthy lifestyle.Many teens are tempted by friends or peers to start using drugs or alcohol at some point. While those who drink or do drugs may act like it makes you popular or tell you that everyone does it, this is simply not true. Not everyone drinks or does drugs, and you shouldn't feel pressured to just because some of your peers choose to experiment with intoxicants. In fact, living a sober, healthy lifestyle can actually help you form bonds and develop supportive friendships with likeminded individuals.
- Resist peer pressure and say you're not interested. If that doesn't work, tell your peers that your parents would kill you if you ever drank alcohol or tried drugs.
- Tobacco use is also very dangerous and highly addictive. This expensive habit can ruin your health and make you very unpleasant to be around for nonsmokers.
- Try to enjoy your life. If you find things to be happy and positive about, you'll be less likely to seek out escapes like intoxication.
- Remember that no matter who you are, someone looks up to you as a role model. Drinking, smoking, or doing drugs sets a bad example for others.
- Talk to a trustworthy adult, like a relative or a respected teacher, if you're worried you'll have trouble saying no to alcohol or drugs. There may be some underlying issues with self-esteem or your home life that can be addressed.
Drive safely and responsibly.Distracted driving and unsafe driving are two of the biggest dangers to teens on the road today. Many adolescents don't think twice about texting while driving, talking on the phone, or engaging in other dangerous distractions; however, distracted driving can (and often is) fatal, and it can only take a split second of moving your eyes away from the road for an accident to occur.
- Never talk on the phone or text while driving. Pull over if you need to eat, drink, play with the stereo, or program a GPS, as all of these can be equally dangerous and distracting while driving.
- Try to drive alone, at least until you're an experienced and defensive driver. Having even one other teen passenger in your car while you drive can double the risk of having an accident.
- Take driver safety courses. If your school offers drivers education, you should take the class and pay close attention.
- Always obey the speed limit. Remember that you may have to drive slower than the posted speed limit in poor visibility or bad weather.
- Always wear your seatbelt when in a car, as a driver or passenger.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you're at a party and you or your designated driver have been drinking, call a taxi, a sober friend, or a parent to come pick you up.
Be responsible if you choose to have a sexual relationship.Not all teens and adolescents choose to have sex. In fact, many choose to remain abstinent. Abstinence is the only way to guarantee that you don't get pregnant or acquire a sexually transmitted infection/disease (STI/STD). There are many ways of exploring non-sexual emotional expressions with someone you care about, and having sex doesn't have to be the only way. Having sex can impact your romantic and social relationships in ways that aren't always healthy, including elevated stress levels and social isolation. If you do choose to have a sexual relationship, though, it's important that you do so carefully and responsibly.
- Talk to your parents, a trusted friend or relative, or your doctor if you are having sex or thinking of having sex. They can help you decide on the best ways to be safe, and help you get the supplies you need. If you don't have someone you trust, check with a local Planned Parenthood or other local teen or health clinic.
- Having multiple partners can greatly increase your risk of acquiring or spreading an STI. If you choose to have sex, you can help lower the risk of you or your partner acquiring an STI by remaining in a mutually-monogamous relationship.
- Condoms should be worn consistently and correctly from start to finish any time you have sex. Even if you use a secondary form of birth control, condoms should always be worn to prevent STIs.
- Prescription birth control comes in many forms. It can help prevent pregnancy, but it will not protect against STIs, and therefore should still be used with a condom.
- Emergency contraception, such as the "morning after" pill, is available if a condom breaks or if you forget to take your prescription birth control; however, these emergency contraceptives will not prevent STIs and should only be used in case of emergency (not as a primary method of birth control).
Develop a healthy body image.Your teenage years can be incredibly difficult at times, due in part to the physical and chemical changes your body is going through. Some people may gain or lose a lot of weight during their teen years. Others may grow very tall while their friends remain shorter. Your body shape, size, or build should never be a source of embarrassment. Never feel bad about the way you look, and ignore anyone who tries to make you feel ashamed.
- Remember that everyone's body is different. There is no standard or "normal" range of height, weight, or body shape, just as there is no "normal" hair or eye color.
- Don't let others make you feel bad about your appearance, and make sure you never make someone else feel bad about his or her appearance.
- If you want to eat healthier or increase your daily exercise levels, there are many ways to do so safely. Talk to your doctor about ways to stay fit and healthy without putting yourself at risk.
Get enough sleep each night.Sleep is an important part of every adolescent's life. Getting proper sleep helps you grow strong, stay healthy, and feel your best. When you don't get enough sleep or when you get poor-quality sleep, other aspects of your life can suffer.
- Most teenagers need eight to 10 hours of sleep each night; however, some teens may need even more sleep, depending on their lifestyle and body chemistry.
- Not getting enough sleep can affect your performance at school and your ability to drive a vehicle. It can also have ramifications on your physical health.
- Set yourself up for a good night's sleep by maintaining a sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time every day can help program your body for better sleep.
- Keep your room slightly cool — but not uncomfortably cold — to ensure a better night's sleep. (60 – 65°F or 15.5 – 18.3°C is considered ideal.)
- Try to make your room darker by closing the curtains or blinds. You should also discontinue all electronics use at least 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime to avoid upsetting your melatonin levels.
Following a Healthy Diet
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.Fruit and vegetables are an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.Teens need fruit and vegetables to grow strong and stay healthy. They should be a part of any balanced diet.
- Generally speaking, adolescents need 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit every day.
- Adolescents should also be eating 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables each day.
- Fresh fruit and veggies are a healthy snack and a superior choice over junk food.
Choose water instead of soda.Water quenches your thirst more effectively than sweetened beverages. Because there's no sugar in water, it's also a calorie-free beverage. It's important to drink enough water everyday to ensure that you stay hydrated and healthy.
- Regularly drinking soda has been linked to weight problems and obesity;however, other drinks include high levels of sugar as well, including juice, sports drinks, and many coffee drinks.
- If tap water is too plain for your tastes, try an unsweetened sparkling water. Sugar-free flavored seltzer can be a refreshing and tasty alternative to soda.
- Most adults need between two and three liters of water everyday to maintain normal, healthy bodily functions and stay hydrated.
- Carry water with you when you're on the go. You'll need to drink more water than usual if you're engaging in physical activity, live in a hot climate, or are otherwise prone to sweating.
Avoid fast foods and other highly processed foods.Foods which have been highly processed usually contain added salt, sugar, and fat.Cookies, chips, candy, cake, pastries, and microwave meals all fall into this category. Eliminate these foods from your diet if you can, eating as much fresh food as possible.
- Limit deli meats. Try to eat no more than 70g of red and processed meat per day, or about two to three slices of lamb, beef, or pork.
- Be conscious of your sugar intake. Sugar is added to more products than you probably realize — including crackers, cereals, and jarred pasta sauce. Many low-fat products are actually packed with sugar. There is mounting evidence that sugar plays a large part in many serious health problems, from obesity to metabolic syndrome.
- Trans fat, found in fried foods and many processed baked goods, should be avoided. Instead, look for healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in foods like avocados, nuts, fish, olives, and seeds.
Opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products.Dairy is an important part of your diet. It helps you get calcium, vitamin D, and other vitamins and nutrients; however, drinking whole milk and eating whole-fat dairy products can be very fattening, and that may outweigh the health benefits you'd otherwise get from dairy products.
- Instead of drinking whole milk, gradually switch to fat-free (skim) milk.
- Lower yourself over several weeks down to 2%, 1%, and eventually skim milk so you don't upset your stomach by switching suddenly.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free cheese, yogurt, and pudding instead of the whole-fat alternatives.
- You can also try non-dairy milk and milk products, including soy milk and almond milk. These beverages and the food products made from them tend to be healthier and lower in fat.
Limit yourself to healthy portion sizes.Even if the label on a food package suggests that the food is low in fat, sugar, or cholesterol, it may be a bit deceiving. Those labels are based on the recommended serving size, which may be significantly smaller than the actual serving size you're used to. Always check the recommended portion sizes on your favorite foods and beverages, and try to eat smaller, healthier portion sizes whenever you eat out.
- Serving foods and drinks in smaller plates and glasses can make you feel fuller because it will look like there's more food in front of you.
- Try serving food in the kitchen and eating at the table so that you can't just reach across the table for seconds or thirds.
- When you eat out, try sharing the meal with a friend or relative. You can also set aside half of your meal as soon as it arrives and ask for a to-go box so that you won't be tempted to eat the whole thing in one sitting.
- Resist the urge to add combo meals or "supersize" your meal at fast food restaurants. These offers usually include extra-large portions of french fries and soda, both of which are very unhealthy.
Living an Active Lifestyle
Engage in aerobic activity.Physical activity is important for growing bodies. You need to get exercise every day in order to maintain a healthy weight and build strong muscles and bones. Getting into the habit of exercising while you're in high school will also help set you up for a healthy, fitness-oriented lifestyle as an adult.
- Current guidelines for adolescents recommend at least 60 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity activity each day, with at least three days a week devoted to high-intensity physical activity.
- Some good aerobic activities include running, bicycling, and dancing. You can use aerobic exercise to relieve stress at the end of the day, or to help you wake up when you start your morning.
- Even going for long walks counts towards aerobic activity. Make walking a consistent part of your day, and try to walk or ride your bike instead of getting a ride for local errands (if at all possible).
Work on strengthening your muscles.Building muscles is also an important part of living a healthy, active lifestyle. Lifting weights is a good way to build muscle mass, but you can also build strong muscles (especially in your legs) by engaging in aerobic exercise on a regular basis.
Spend less time watching television or on your computer.Time spent in front of a screen generally reduces the time you might otherwise be spending on physical activity. Watching television for more than two hours a day increases the risk of an unhealthy diet, an inactive lifestyle, and weight problems or obesity. Spending too much time on the computer carries the same risks.
- It's okay to use the computer or watch TV in moderation, but you should spend the majority of your free time reading, doing homework, visiting with family or friends, or playing outdoors.
- You can reduce your TV/computer usage by setting a timer whenever you use either.
- You should also keep the television and computer in a common room in your home so that you don't have constant access to them in your bedroom.
Developing Healthy Friendships and Relationships
Develop good, healthy friendships.Friendship is an important part of your adolescent years. Oftentimes the friends you make in high school end up being lifelong friends. It's very important that you choose your friends carefully and spend your time with people who care about you and have your best interests in mind.
Recognize and avoid destructive, unhealthy friendships and relationships.Just as important as making good friends is recognizing unhealthy or abusive friendships and partnerships. These types of relationships can be very damaging to you mentally, emotionally, and physically. Learning how to recognize a bad friendship or relationship is only the first step, though. After that you'll need to reduce how much time you spend with that individual or cut him/her out of your life altogether.
- If someone manipulates you or lies to you, that person is not being a good friend or romantic partner.
- Jealousy, blame, and a generally negative attitude are all signs of a destructive relationship.
- If anyone threatens you with violence, inflicts violence on you or others, or forces you to do things that you don't want to do (including sexual activities), that person is abusive and dangerous.
- Talk to a parent or counselor about the friendship or relationship and sever all ties with that person immediately. If you ever feel like your safety is threatened, do not hesitate to call the police.
Find a healthy, positive role model.Having a good role model is important during your teen years. You may not realize it, but you're at an impressionable age. While your friends and peers are important, they're still figuring things out as well. This is where having a mature, responsible role model can be of great importance.
- A role model should act as a mentor. He or she should listen to the teen, care about his or her wellbeing, offer guidance, and live a positive, healthy lifestyle.
- Role models should exhibit healthy, model communication skills, manners, cooperation/teamwork abilities, trustworthiness, honesty, and sincerity. They should treat others well and be generally respectable and upstanding.
- Not all role models are celebrities. In fact, many celebrities would make very bad role models.
- Parents can be great role models, as well as teachers, aunts and uncles, counselors, older siblings, and even neighbors. Anyone who is responsible, trustworthy, and caring can be a good role model.
QuestionIs it normal to have sexual urges at a young age?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere is no single age at which adolescents begin to have sexual urges. These urges happen at different times for different people, and there's nothing wrong or abnormal about them. If you're concerned or confused, talk to an older sibling (if you have one), a parent, or your nurse or doctor.Thanks!
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