Eat This, Not That to Reduce Anxiety in Teens

January 14, 2017

Anxiety and stress often make teenage years harder. Real food can help alleviate anxiety.

The teen years are tough already but anxiety and stress often make them even harder. What if we told you that what your teens are eating is directly related to how they are feeling. Help set them up with better habits for a life of better health with proper nutrition. Our hosts play a “Eat This, Not That” to show many examples of where nutritious food can easily be swapped for the sugary, mood-altering meals of the past.

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JoANN: I'm JoAnn Ridout, registered and licensed dietitian and I work in the Wayzata and Maple Grove offices at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Dishing Up Nutrition is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness, a company providing life changing nutrition, education and counseling, and today we are going to talk about a very serious topic, teens and anxiety. This topic is very near and dear to my heart. I'm a mom and a grandmother with two adult children. I remember those teen years well. Also, as nutritionists, we know that food can help with anxiety and today we are going to discuss “Eat This, Not That to Reduce Anxiety in Teens.” Is this a new thought for you? How can those food choices help as a solution for anxiety? Let's try to play the “Eat This, Not That” game, and to start, try drinking eight glasses of water each day. Do you think you'll feel better?

KATE: So, I guess that's your “Eat This,” JoAnn. Exactly. Well, here's my “Don't Eat This:” Don't drink soda because soda creates anxiety. Often those sodas are caffeinated. That creates a lot of anxiety. And so can all that sugar. Sugar can deplete minerals that can be very calming.

JoAnn:  Absolutely. So, part of the eat this is to try eating a chicken leg for increased protein to help lower the anxiety.

KATE: Ah, so don't eat that fast food, chicken nuggets, right? Because of all those chemicals that can cause anxiety and get in the way of absorbing those calming nutrients.

JoANN: That's right, Kate. And so, before we get started, I would like to introduce my co-host, Kate Crosby, nutrition counselor who's joining me to discuss this topic. I'm happy to be on the show with you today, Kate.

KATE: It's great to be with you, JoAnn.

JoANN:  I know you have a wealth of information on this topic as a counselor, as a mom and a grandmother, too.

KATE: Well good morning. I do have a bunch of experience with teens both at home and in the office and I really look forward to diving into this topic today cause it's such an important one to provide some great food solutions to deal with anxiety. I really hate to see people suffer with anxiety when they could be eating something that could make a huge change in their life.

JOANN: And I've learned so much in working with young clients with anxiety. I always get so excited when I see their success.

KATE: I agree. It’s so rewarding.

JOANN: Right? And when you think about it as a whole, you think teens aren't going to want to make those choices, but when they do, they feel so good. So, I wish I had some of this knowledge years ago when my kids were younger. But, I would also like to introduce our other co-host, Jennifer's Schmid, one of the Nutritional Weight & Wellness health educators. It's good to see you this morning. And Jennifer also has a wealth of knowledge since she has healed both anxiety and an eating disorder with the power of food, so you're going to enjoy her stories this morning.

JENNIFER: Good morning. It's great to be here with both of you today. So some of the listeners have heard my story on previous radio shows or perhaps on the website. You've heard how I overcame my exercise addiction, how I healed my gut, and a big part of that struggle was anxiety and anxiety really started in my childhood. I can remember having a pretty anxious childhood. I struggled with severe insomnia. I can remember a doctor prescribing sleep exercises like head rolls and stretches before bedtime and that kept continuing until we finally got help with a nutritionist here at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. So, I remember when I eat things for breakfast when I was younger, when I was a child, and also as an adolescent I ate things like cereal, toaster strudels, pop tarts, bagels. I notice I became anxious, fearful, I had trouble studying, couldn't think, had kind of foggy brain, definitely had that test anxiety. And in my teen and adolescent years, I really notice that I was always concerned what people thought of me and I was always concerned of getting fat.

JOANN: And many, many teens share that. Let's ask the isn't listeners this morning to think for a moment. How would you feel if you left the house in the morning with no breakfast? If you are rushing into a morning meeting and then how do you feel a few hours later, maybe mid-morning, do you feel stressed, anxious, and irritable? Do you have brain fog? Maybe your head hurts and you walk around saying, “I don't know why I'm so nervous this morning.”

JENNIFER: So, logically you think, “Don't skip breakfast again.” Right?

KATE: Right. Yeah, but it may surprise you that your teenager probably feels the same way, maybe worse, when they skip. So, if you really want to help your teen, it might be important to establish the balanced breakfast habit. Now, often it helps to start this while they're in elementary school but starting at any age is going to create a calmer child.

JENNIFER: Young people, middle aged people, older people really all need to start the day with a balanced breakfast to control their moods all morning. I remember when I started eating more animal protein like eggs and bacon or grass-fed beef with my veggies and healthy fats for breakfast, I noticed my anxiety was so much better each day because I was finally making those feel-good brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.

KATE: I bet you weren't eating bagels and Jelly for breakfast.

JENNIFER: No, I wasn’t.

KATE: A bagel is just flour and sugar and there's no protein in that. And teens need protein for energy, but also to be calm.

JOANN: Yes, they do. And so back to our game, no bagels for breakfast, right? That sugar creates anxiety. So, what do you eat for breakfast now, Jennifer?

JENNIFER: Well, it's essential I have enough animal protein, at least four ounces with breakfast, so I need to eat things like eggs and bacon. For four ounces I would need four eggs. If I’m doing eggs and bacon I usually do about two or three eggs with two strips of bacon. And maybe I'll make some or some Turkey sausage from the Weight & Wellness Cookbook and grass fed beef with my veggies and fat and the protein keeps me much more calm. And don't you think most kids would be happy with bacon and eggs? I mean, who doesn't like bacon?

JOANN: Absolutely. Everybody loves bacon. That's one of the turnarounds for people when you talk to him about changing food. You can eat bacon now. So, did you see the article recently in Time Magazine? Significant numbers of teens are anxious and depressed and overwhelmed and experts are struggling with how to help them.

KATE: I saw that article, too, and it was quite a disturbing article. I mean, teens are overwhelmed with school. They're overwhelmed with social media, making choices about school, about their careers, college, whatever it is. Every interaction is now documented on social media. All of this hinders sleep as well. Without enough sleep, a teen is easily going to feel anxiety. Really anxious, nervous, tightened stomach.

So, today we're talking about anxiety and teens in the nutritional connections to anxiety. Dr. Daniel Amen is a clinical neuroscientist in psychiatrists. He's the head of the Amen clinics, but he's the author of many books, including Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. He recommends a few supplements for our brains to reduce that anxiety. One thing that he suggests is a good multivitamin containing b6 and b12. Now, JoAnn, you and I know that those are essential nutrients for making brain chemicals like Serotonin. That feel good, calming neurotransmitter. Or Gaba, which is sort of like our body's natural valium. So, you need the B6 and b12 and are Twice-A-Day multi-vitamin is a great source for all of those b vitamins.

JENNIFER:  Sure is. And Dr. Daniel Amen also recommends an Omega 3 fish oil, at least 3000 to 5,000 milligrams a day. Our brain is 60 percent fat, which is most similar to the Omega-3, DHA fats. He recommends also taking vitamin D3, at least 2,000 to 5,000 international units a day. It's important to have your vitamin D3 levels checked every year to see if you are low, especially in this part of the country where we don't see the sun much of the -year.

KATE: You need that sun to make vitamin D.

JENNIFER: And magnesium glycinate may be recommended for sleep or anxiety and you want to take at least 400 to 600 milligrams of magnesium glycinate. Of course, these are suggested supplements in addition to well-balanced foods. And if you're struggling with anxiety or have a teenager struggling with anxiety, I can't recommend enough meeting one on one with a nutritionist for a consultation. Let me tell you how meeting a nutritionist helped me. It first taught me how to eat real foods in balance to incorporate more of that animal protein throughout the day and I learned how to heal my gut. And the combination of those two really helped me make those feel-good brain chemicals, those neurotransmitters. And I also learned how to get better quality sleep because I learned I need at least eight hours of sleep at night to help lessen my anxiety. So, to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist or for more information, please give our office a call at 651-699-3438.

BREAK

JOANN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm here today with Kate Crosby and Jennifer Schmid. We're discussing the nutrition connection between anxiety and teens and we're discussing foods that can help you. And also, Jennifer was talking about her nutrition consultation earlier. So, if you would like help with an individualized nutrition plan, we recommend a nutrition consultation for you. It can be scary for a teen to come to a nutritionist, but we do try as hard as we can not to take foods away, but really discuss the foods that are really coming into and being the most detrimental. I worked with a teen recently. She had great success. Weight loss, decreased anxiety, her sleep improved, her sports improved in just a few months. It's really exciting to see those changes happen. She and her mom came. They both jumped on board. They put the whole family on the plan. That works out perfectly. Also, we've been seeing a lot of college students who are maybe struggling a bit. We have many great nutritionists who could meet with you in any of our offices or by phone or skype, so call 651-699-3438 for more information.

JENNIFER: So, before break, we were talking about that article in Time Magazine about teens and anxiety. And another report in 2015 from the Department of Health and Human Services reported that 3,000,000 teens are diagnosed with a depressive disorder and about 30 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This data was collected by the National Institute of Mental Health, and it's really disturbing.

JOANN: Those numbers are alarming, but I wonder if the beverages that teens are drinking or influencing some of those statistics. I mean you've heard of teens drinking mountain dew. We know a mountain dew can contain as much as 19 teaspoons of sugar.

KATE:  So, you drink that for breakfast. There’s a local treatment center that calls Mountain Dew the gateway drug for addiction. That's interesting, isn't it? Well, that much sugar, that 19 teaspoons of sugar as a setup for a blood sugar crash, which often is accompanied by anxiety. That blood sugar crash can sometimes feel like the shakes or maybe you experience a tight stomach or racing thoughts or feeling like you can't breathe.

JENNIFER:  I can relate to that.

JOANN: That's right. Yeah. We all can. And I'm sure that soda or a Granola bar was not mom's first choice for breakfast, but also many parents may still drink soda themselves. So, they may see it as a harmless sugar. Sometimes with a teen it feels like just one more battle and they might be expecting poor eating during those adolescent years.

KATE:  Yeah. And I would have to say really need to pick your battles with adolescents and teens but having nutritious food in the house could be just a backdrop to your routine. Dr. Marion Nestle is a researcher and author, author of Soda Politics. She makes a really important point. She writes about how soda companies are marketing to teens. She also reminds us that the amount of sugar in a 16-ounce bottle of soda, that's 15 teaspoons of sugar, is more than our daily sugar allowance according to the health experts. So, think about that. Just one soda. And that's one. I don’t think teens usually stop at one.

JENNIFER: Soda’s not a good idea, especially not on an empty stomach. It spikes that blood sugar very quickly. Sugar and brain fog definitely add to that anxiety.

JOANN: And we need to help our teens learn about the dangers of soda and energy drinks. So, have you ever heard of soda putting our bones at risk? That's another interesting thought. As little as one soda per week can start the process of weakening bones. It actually pulls the minerals. It pulls out calcium, pulls out magnesium, phosphorus. Pulls those minerals right out of our bones. And although most people drinking soda have at least one or more daily, soda can make us anxious. It makes us achy and unable to focus.

JENNIFER: Yeah, that sugar is definitely a bone robber, isn't it? We need to teach kids how to read those labels. We need to discuss that carbohydrate conversion to teaspoons of sugar. So, four grams of carbohydrates equals one teaspoons of sugar. For instance, 64 grams of carbohydrates will break down into 16 teaspoons of sugar and I think it's also a great way to keep those math skills sharp, don't you think?

JOANN:  It is to be able to do that calculation in the grocery store.

KATE: One of our nutritionists has talked about her anxiety and her broken bones during her teen years as a result of not eating enough protein and fat. She ate yogurt, for instance, for lunch, and vegetarian foods and cereal bars. And she had six broken bones in her teens.

JOANN:That's a lot. And she would have definitely benefited from a balanced nutrition plan as early as middle school or elementary school to help her be more successful during her teen years and her young adult years.

JENNIFER: So, you guys, what is driving this anxiety epidemic in risky behavior? I mean, the cost of key process foods takes its toll on our health and on our teens, so if we can't perform well with those cereal bars or granola bars, how can we expect teenagers to perform? The sugar in the soda, in processed foods, sweet tea, energy drinks, which are really prevalent, coffee and Latte drinks drives up that anxiety.

JOANN:  They really do. And so back to our game that we started earlier. No soda, no energy drinks, all that sugar brings blood sugars up high. Then they come crashing down. So, do you think that would make someone moody? After a high sugar beverage, the moods might look like anxiety or depression or even rage.

KATE: Definitely. That 20-ounce Mountain Dew has 19 teaspoons of sugar. I'm really harping on that today. Well, it's a pretty graphic picture. I remember recently I had to go get a throat culture and so I went to a minute clinic and I was waiting in line. There were tons of people there because whatever is going around is so prevalent. And there were a number of 20-year-olds in line, each one with their soda bottle. That's a ton of sugar, right? Little do they know that that sugar was depressing their immune system. But it's fairly typical that teens carry a beverage. The soda, the coffee, the energy drinks. So, you now know that Mountain Dew has 19 teaspoons, but you might not know that nine ounces, that's not very much. Nine ounces of Frappaccino as nine and a half teaspoons of sugar. And a large coffee drink contains 15 teaspoons of sugar. That's just getting out of the gates with one beverage.

JENNIFER: It's sure is. A better choice would be sparkling water. Like La Croix, Ice Mountain has great flavors, or Perrier. Or maybe try some hot tea with full fat cream or coconut milk, which is one of my favorites. They're more satisfying and will keep you calm. And it looks like we're time for it's time for our second break.

Let me tell you how a consultation helped Sandy. She lost 30 pounds. Think of that. She lost 30 pounds while eating healthy fats like avocados, nuts, bacon, butter, and cream, but the best part was her doctor told her to stop three medications because her cholesterol and blood pressure normalized. She ate real food from her local grocery store. Of course, she was eating real food, not food passed through a window.

One of our clients who took the Weight & Wellness series four years ago went on to lose a hundred and five pounds by changing her food choices. Changes she learned while taking the Weight & Wellness series. She no longer is pre-diabetic and doesn't need to take any blood pressure medication and she now has the energy to play softball in a women's league. It's great. So please call our office at 651-699-3438 if you have questions or to sign up for a class.

BREAK

JOANN: So, before break we were talking about beverages and the alarming amount of sugar in them. So Kate, as you were going through the numbers earlier, it just dawned on me, it's just about if you look at any sugary beverages out there, it's about a teaspoon an ounce exactly for just about any sugary beverages that you're looking at. But what if your teen is drinking a Diet Soda? Maybe they're concerned about weight gain and they think that might be an answer. What about those diet energy drinks? They can be made with aspartame. Most of them are and sometimes people think they would feel better or not have the detrimental side effects, but that's absolutely not true. They're actually more detrimental. They're more dangerous to us. Those chemicals, the side effects of diet sweeteners include increased anxiety, increased depression, and also set us up for diabetes later in life and weight gain and so that’s not an answer.

JENNIFER: I really struggled to give up diet soda because it's so addicting. A great transition for me was I started drinking Zevia soda that’s sweetened with Stevia. Cassie, who's been on the show before, has mentioned that. So what would a better snack be then to grab a sugary beverage? How about a couple slices of Deli meat with some olives and an apple or perhaps an epic bar with some celery and almond butter? They're more filling, more calming, and they help to balance our blood sugar. And we can just drink water with those snacks. And what about another option? A plain yogurt or cottage cheese with berries and nuts. Also, both of those things are very, very calming.

JOANN: I remember when my daughter was in high school and she would talk about girls who didn't eat lunch or who just ate that granola bar for lunch. Both of those choices are just a great setup for low moods and anxiety just a few hours later. I remember when I was in high school, a lot of kids just ate French fries for lunch and that was it. And I remember I was one of those and then I would drink chocolate milk with that. But getting back to those fries, those fries turn into lots of sugar. It's one teaspoon of sugar for every two French fries. One teaspoon of sugar for every two fries. So, can you believe an order fries has about 20 teaspoons of sugar. An order fries turns into 20 teaspoons of sugar and that's assuming it's a 40-fry order, but who knows.

JENNIFER: Who knows how many anymore? Most people don't think of fries as a dessert. Lots of sugar, no protein and no healthy fat, which is definitely a recipe for bad anxiety. So, in addition to high sugar, the oils that they're fried in are processed and damaged, so those bad oils are also not good for the brain and they're really damaging to all of our cells.

JOANN: That's right. And my daughter also talked about girls bragging about how little they ate. Although last night when she was talking to me about this script, she admitted that there was a whole school year that she rarely ate lunch. I think it's very common. Their schedules are tight and they're just looking for a quick break. So, when people are afraid of fat, they're often not eating enough protein. The brain doesn't have enough protein to function. Then to function, those cereal bars or processed carbs that people grab quickly, often turn into sugar, and then your body creates more anxiety. So, some girls ate only low-fat yogurt for lunch, not enough protein, no fat, and way too many carbs.

KATE: So, I guess the question really becomes how do we help these teens become successful in making better choices? I've often found that teens that have the most success follow just a balanced eating plan like we recommend and often the whole family is on board as well.

JENNIFER: That's really the key is the whole family being onboard. It really helps. When the kids open the fridge, we want them to see healthy proteins like chicken or eggs or bratwurst. We want them to see vegetables like broccoli or sweet potatoes and healthy fats like butter and also having olive oil on hand because then they're not going to be tempted to eat those process foods if they’re not on hand.

JOANN: Right. And even if they're precooked, you talked earlier about cooking on the weekend ahead for the week and I do the same thing. So, if those foods you just mentioned were leftovers, really helpful, they can grab them quickly. So, how else can the family support the teen? How about making sure the balanced breakfast is ready in the morning? Really important.

JENNIFER: It really is. Let's talk about some good breakfast options for kids who leave early for school, which is pretty common for sports practices.

JOANN:  It is. And my favorite make ahead breakfast is egg bake. We can make that ahead. Warm them up before leaving the house. Or a similar option is following a recipe for the crustless quiche that's on our website and there's eggs and spinach, cream and cheese in there. It’s delicious.

KATE: Another option would be a protein shake. A favorite of many of my adolescent clients. You can make it the night before so it's ready to go in the morning. You could use whey protein powder or egg white protein powder, or even our paleo protein powder. Add some fruit, some full fat coconut milk. It's going to be delicious.

JENNIFER: It is. It's a common shake I have. So, the key components of meals and snacks are protein such as eggs, sausage or whey protein, vegetable or fruit carbohydrates, and those healthy fats such as butter, cream, or full fat coconut milk. And that's that full fat coconut milk from the can.

KATE: We are going to take a call or when we come back from break, but I think we should go to break now.

BREAK

JOANN:  Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. JoAnn Ridout, registered Dietitian and I'm here today with Kate Crosby, nutritionist and Jennifer Schmid, nutrition educator. We're discussing the topic of teens and anxiety. Those teen years are so complex and overwhelming. Today we are sharing some nutrition solutions. And we have a caller.

KATE: We do. Judy, you are a teacher and you've got a question for us?

CALLER:  I am so frustrated because I see the kids coming into school in the morning and a lot of them have been diagnosed with anxiety and they come in and they have not eaten breakfast, have a giant coffee with whip cream. And we have a cafeteria that serves healthy food. We’re a private school, but they have wonderful choices and the kids will cover up their trays when I come around because I tell them that they don't have any protein on there. They'll have French fries and two chocolate chip cookies. The parents can even monitor what their kids eat online. It goes into a computer base so they can tell what their kids eat. But, how can you delicately talk to parents about better nutrition because the parents don't have good nutrition?

KATE:Attend some of our classes. We certainly educate about how to eat in balance with enough protein and veggies and fat. But yeah, I think by and large it's a dicey little subject and what a lot of parents don't realize is that protein is so essential not only for energy and metabolism, but it breaks down into amino acids that then become the building blocks for these neurotransmitters like serotonin that make us feel less anxious.

CALLER:  I teach psychology, so I teach nutrition for the brain. The kids at seventh hour are having their French fry crash. And we do what we can, but it's very difficult. I have a particular student in mind who has terrible, terrible anxiety and he comes in and you have to basically peel him off the ceiling. I would love to call his parents or email his mom and say, “Have you ever thought about nutrition?” But I don't want to offend.

KATE:  I think sometimes another approach with teens can be the idea of doing an experiment. How about doing an experiment for a week and set up a diet plan for them with enough protein and veggies and fat as a way for them to experience something different. And it's just an experiment to see how they feel. That's what I would suggest. But I know your concerns are great and maybe you need to ask one of us to come in and speak to your class.

CALLER: I'm going to suggest it to our counselor to have a parent night for nutrition.

JOANN:  That's an excellent idea. Thank you so much for your call.

JENNIFER: So, we were talking before break about the key components of meals and snacks being protein like eggs or sausage, vegetable or fruit carbs, and healthy fats such as butter, cream, or full fat coconut milk. Or guacamole. That's a really good one, especially for a snack. So, some easy lunch options that are easy to pack are actually like egg salad or chicken salad along with some carrots, celery, pea pods, or cucumbers. We have a great Chicken Sonoma Salad along with many other great recipes on our website.

KATE: Forget about the low-fat yogurt lunch. We understand that many teens are afraid that they may get fat, so often they think that low fat is the way to help them lose weight. It's erroneous. It's not. Another option for lunch would be something like our wild rice meatballs with some carrots and celery and salsa and Guacamole, maybe a little clementine.

JENNIFER:  Those are great. All delicious and all balanced. Or in the winter when it's chilly weather, you may want a thermos of hot, delicious Chili and some with some black olives and sour cream to go with it. That sounds delicious. A really great option.

JOANN: And what about the afternoon snacks? If I don't eat every three hours, I start to get hungry. A granola bar is not enough for an afternoon snack for those teens who are staying after school for sports practice or other activities. So, we have to be aware of some of the protein bars. It can be very high in sugar. I look at the carbs sometimes on those protein bars and they could be up to like 38 and 40 grams of carbs. That’s 10 teaspoons of sugar. We recommend eating every three hours to keep that blood sugar and the mood balanced.

KATE: Yeah, absolutely. Another option would be a protein shake that's made ahead and frozen. It would be perfectly thawed out in time for your afternoon snack.

JOANN: That's right. And some people might prefer nitrate-free beef jerky or maybe a few pieces of sausage along with a small piece of fruit like the cutie you talked about, or an apple or an orange. Also nuts for the fat source. Those are easy things to carry along with you.

KATE: I notice when working with both teens and adults that often protein is misunderstood. They think that nuts are the protein. But nuts are the fat, as you just said, JoAnn. And I often remind clients that the nuts are the fat, they're not the protein. And I encourage parents and teens to pack lunches and snacks together the night before whenever possible, and they often don't have time to stand in line for lunch. So, this way it's done and they get some more time to eat.

JENNIFER: When meals are rushed, the nutrients are not absorbed as well. We really need to slow down our chewing in order to get those digestive enzymes in our saliva to work for us. And another way to help the absorption of nutrients is to take a good probiotic such as bifidobacteria before meals. This helps the intestinal health so it can make those calming brain chemicals.

JOANN: Yes, it is so important to remember we need to continually try to heal. Our guts have been put to the test with the chemicals, pesticides, and RoundUp that's been added to our food supply, as well as the antibiotics for ear infections, strep throat, or acne.

KATE: JoAnn, I'm going to take one caller before we arrived up here. Carol, you've got a question about replacing Gatorade.

CALLER: Yes, I have a question. I have a grandson that plays basketball and he sweats a lot and I notice at games he has a great big bottle of Gatorade or some of the kids have Mountain Dew because they’re sweating and they need to get their energy, but is there any other thing they could take besides the Gatorade while they're playing?

KATE:  Just plain old water. That’s really what they're after is the water.

JOANN: And maybe some fruit to go with that for a little more energy?

CALLER: What kind of fruit with that?

KATE: Something juicy like those clementines or a banana.

CALLER: OK. Because I see a big bottle of Gatorade and he's sweating and he has a little bit of the anxiety and he takes pills for that. But I see that Gatorade and boy, he drinks a lot of it. And I know he sweats more than the other kids. So, it's like what can he take?

KATE: Water, water, water.

JOANN: But also, maybe a snack to go with it. Just depending on that beverage, but they do need a snack.

CALLER: Not a sports bar, nothing like that.

JOANN:  Probably not.

KATE: Just a snack. Some deli meat, a little apple and a handful of nuts.

CALLER: OK, that'll do it.

JENNIFER:Great. Thanks for the call.

So, as we're talking today, the teen years are so complex and overwhelming. We understand that food makes a difference and parents also understand food makes a difference. Sometimes it takes a different person. So, maybe a nutritionist can help you and also help the teen make some choices and make some changes in what they are eating. Often, when they understand why or maybe run an experiment, they can lose their fear of fat and make some of those changes. We have great nutritionists at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Call and talk to our staff so they can find the correct nutritionist for your son or daughter.

JOANN: Also, have a great meal option ready for your teen. So, we talk about the power of three: three meals, three snacks, every three hours with a protein balanced with a carbohydrate and a healthy fat. That will help to keep teens happy and calm. And let them help you cook. Let them help you select those recipes when you're looking through recipes on the website. All the recipes on our website tell you how to balance the meal.

KATE: Also, be aware of the beverages that your kids are drinking. Sugary drinks, soda, energy, drinks, coffee drinks, sweet teas, all are going to rob their energy and create more anxiety.

JENNIFER: And healthy snacks like egg salad and an apple in place of those processed carbohydrates, cereal bars, and French fries, will really keep brains and moods in a much happier place.

JOANN: That's right, and when the whole family's on board with the plan, you will all be happier and healthier. So, earlier we talked about making sure your refrigerator is stocked with healthy, balanced foods. Those healthy proteins, healthy vegetable carbs, and healthy fats. Also, make sure you have breakfast ready for your child in the morning. They may not do it themselves. Or even maybe having a protein shake ready for them first thing in the morning before they go out the door. So, have a great weekend everyone and thanks for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition.

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