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Teen Nutrition

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Cause of Increased Soda Consumption

A major cause of increased soft drink consumption is the increasing size of soft drink containers. Twelve-ounce cans are being replaced with 20-ounce bottles. Small fast-food servings are now medium-size, and large servings have swelled to 32 ounces. Super-size servings can be even larger.

Many of these drinks contain caffeine -- another reason to be concerned about teens' high consumption of soft drinks. Colas, coffee-based drinks, some sodas and tea all contain significant amounts of caffeine. A teen consuming several of these drinks each day can experience stomach upsets and heart palpitations. Caffeine also can affect sleep patterns, especially if the teen is consuming these beverages late at night.

Teens who frequently complain of weekend headaches may actually be experiencing caffeine withdrawal headaches. Flavored teas mixed in equal portions with fruit juice make a healthier alternative.

Fluids are important -- we all need at least 64 ounces each day. Teen athletes require more, especially during practices and games. These fluids should be in the form of a variety of beverages, but milk, fruit juice and plain water must be a part of the everyday diet.

In order to meet the recommended daily intake for calcium, teens need to drink three to four eight-ounce glasses of milk daily. This goal can be accomplished by serving a glass of cold milk at all meals eaten at home and encouraging teens to drink milk with after-school and late-night study snacks. For teen girls concerned with fat content, skim milk offers all the calcium and other nutrients and zero grams of fat.

Fruit drinks and fruit punch do not have the same vitamin and mineral content of real fruit juice. Teens need to drink at least one serving of orange or grapefruit juice daily to meet the recommended intake for vitamin C.

What about sports drinks? Heavy advertising encourages teens to consume them as part of the daily workout schedule. Many of these drinks come packed in convenient sipper bottles to carry along to practice. Yet most trainers and coaches recommend water be consumed throughout any sporting event or practice. If sports drinks are made available, they should be diluted with equal portions of water. Sports drinks at full strength can be less than beneficial and can cause stomach upsets and nausea.

For the best hydration, teen athletes should be encouraged to drink 10 to 12 ounces of cool water or fruit juice mixed with water before the event.

For teens who have fallen out of the milk-drinking habit, a breakfast drink or after-school fruit smoothie might be tempting.

Chocolate milk has the same nutrient profile as unflavored milk and is also available in low-fat varieties. A half gallon in the home refrigerator makes an easy alternative choice. For teens on the go, milk is now available in many small size plastic resealable containers to be grabbed and gulped. Strawberry and chocolate flavors are available for the teen with the sweet tooth.

For the teenager who refuses to drink milk, cheese and yogurt are alternative sources of calcium.

Keeping alternatives to soft drinks on hand, and offering to make fruit smoothies and other nutritious blender drinks, may help in your quest.


Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 cup very cold milk
1/2 cup banana slices (about 1 small banana)
2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Makes one 8-ounce serving.

Per 1-cup serving (using 2% milk): 288 calories, 41g carbohydrates, 11g protein, 10g fat, 18mg cholesterol, 305mg calcium. Calories from fat: 31%.

Using skim milk: 261 calories, 7g fat, 24% calories from fat (other nutrients identical).

Source: Dairy Council of Wisconsin

Peach Froth

2 cups cold milk 1 cup peach yogurt
1 can (16 ounces) peaches with juice, chilled
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Dash of salt

Combine all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend until smooth and frothy. If desired, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Makes 5 cups.

Per 1-cup serving (using 2% milk): 155 calories, 28g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 3g fat, 11mg cholesterol, 183mg calcium. Calories from fat: 17%.

Using skim milk: 128 calories, no fat (other nutrients identical).

Source: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Fruit 'n' Nut Breakfast Shake

1/2 medium peeled banana, sliced
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup cold chocolate milk
2 tablespoons reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup vanilla, chocolate or strawberry frozen yogurt

Combine banana, strawberries and chocolate milk in blender. Process until smooth. Add peanut butter, honey and frozen yogurt. Process until smooth. Makes two 1-cup servings.

Per 1-cup serving (using 1% chocolate milk): 358 calories, 60g carbohydrates, 11g protein, 11g fat, 14mg cholesterol, 250mg calcium. Calories from fat: 28%.

Source: National Dairy Council

Granola Chocolate Breakfast Shake

1 cup cold chocolate milk
1 cup vanilla frozen yogurt
2/3 cup low-fat granola (divided)
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup miniature marshmallows

Combine chocolate milk, frozen yogurt and 1/3 cup granola in blender. Process until smooth. Stir in remaining granola, raisins and marshmallows.
Makes two 1-cup servings.

Per 1-cup serving (using 1% chocolate milk): 350 calories, 67g carbohydrates, 9g protein, 5.5g fat, 14mg cholesterol, 260mg calcium. Calories from fat: 14%.

Source: National Dairy Council

Registered dietitian Laura Wilford is vice president of nutrition marketing for the Dairy Council of Wisconsin in Brookfield.

The Milwaukee Dietetic Association provides this column to enhance the knowledge of food and nutrition issues affecting Wisconsinites at various stages in their lives.
For more information, call the National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics at (800) 366-1655 for referrals to a registered dietitian and recorded information. Or, consult the American Dietetic Association Web site at

I recommend Wonder Laboratories for the overall best quality and price when considering vitamins, herbs and supplements.

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