| By Irina Belfer-Lehat
Photo credit: Ales Utovko



High school and college students are forced to become more and more in control of their health and wellness decisions. The behaviors they learn throughout childhood and young adulthood can strongly impact their adult lives. Teens who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight and obese as adults, putting them at risk for chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

Here are five tips to make a healthy lifestyle change to prevent unnecessary weight gain in high school and college.

1. Plan ahead
Plan your meal the night before and put it in writing. Knowing what your day might look like and planning your meals accordingly will minimize emotional eating.

2. Make a shopping list
Get your shopping done on Sunday and pre-package lunches and snacks ahead of time.

3. Plan out wise snack choices
Make a list of snacks that are under 200 calories, have no added sugar, have no saturated fat, and have less than 200 milligrams of sodium, and try to stick to those snacks during the week.

4. Be mindful of what you are eating
Try to plan to eat lunch or dinner with a health conscious friend a few times per week. Agree ahead of time to skip dessert and encourage each other to try new healthy foods.

5. Consume those calories early in the day
Try to eat most of your daily calories before 3:00 p.m. For example, 1,500 calories per day with 300 calories for breakfast, 150 calories for a mid-morning snack, 400 calories for lunch, 200 calories form a midday snack, and 450 calories for dinner. Try this method instead of barely eating during the day, and then inhaling thousands of calories all at once in the evening.

Irina Belfer-Lehat

Irina Belfer-Lehat of Nutrition Solutions Co. is a New York State-licensed dietitian and certified dietitian-nutritionist. Irina Lehat RD Nutrition Solutions offers group classes starting in September, for kids in kindergarten through high school. Small groups, affordable prices! Mention this article and receive 20 percent off any services. For more information, call (917) 769-8031, e-mail irinalehat@gmail.com or visit www.irinalehat.com.