Staying at a healthy
weight is good for
everyone. It is really
important if you have
diabetes. Set goals to reach and stay at a healthy weight.
Staying at a
when you are young
may help you control your weight for life!
Check out some great weight loss tips
Be slow and steady in your weight loss!
Why is it good to be at a healthy weight?
Staying at a healthy weight as a teen may help you control your weight for life. Being
at a healthy weight helps you feel fit, stay well, and feel good about the way you
look. It can also help prevent health problems like heart disease and high blood
pressure. If you have diabetes and are overweight, weight loss may improve your
blood glucose (GLOO-kos), also called blood sugar, and make your diabetes easier to manage.
How can I get to a healthy weight?
If your doctor says that you should not gain
more weight or that you should lose weight,
you need to get more physical activity every
day and eat fewer calories. Ask a dietitian
or diabetes educator to:
- help you decide what kinds of activities might fit into your busy life as a teen
- help you and your family create a well-balanced meal plan and make healthy food choices
Here are some things to try
1. Be active every day for at least 60 minutes.This will help you
burn up extra calories and get fit. Invite some friends over to dance to
your favorite music. Play a sport or go for a bike ride instead of playing
computer games or going to the movies. Ask a friend or family member
to join you on a walk instead of watching TV after school.
2. Cut some calories. The number of calories shows how much energy
a food supplies. Calories that are not used up are stored as body fat.
Calories are listed on food labels. Get in the habit of reading food labels.
If you cut 100 to 200 calories a day, it can make a big difference.
||You could cut about:
|Drink water instead of regular soda or a sweetened fruit drink
|Eat a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar or a bag of chips
|Eat a small serving of french fries or share a big one
|Eat one half cup of sugar-free, nonfat pudding instead of
regular ice cream
3. Eat smaller amounts of food for meals and snacks.Try raw vegetables or fruit for a snack. To avoid “grazing,” measure
out your snacks for the day into baggies that are easy to carry.
If you eat less and are more physically active, you should lose about
one or two pounds a month—and feel great. It is best to lose
weight a little at a time because you are still growing. If you
lose weight slowly, you are more likely to keep it off.
What are some healthy eating tips I can try?
- Take your time when you eat.
It takes about 15 minutes for
your stomach to tell your brain
that you are full. So… wait 15
minutes before eating second
- Ask if you can help plan,
make, or shop for the
family meals sometimes.
- Drink a glass of
- Fill up half of
with salad or
vegetables. Use small amounts
of low-fat salad dressing,
mayonnaise, or margarine.
- If you like to eat sugary foods,
sweets, desserts, or candy, eat
only a small serving at the end
of a meal and not every day…
then take an extra walk. The
less you eat them, the less you
may crave them!
Very low-calorie diets are
not healthy for teens.
If you do not eat enough of the right kinds
of food, you may not grow or develop
properly. Never make a drastic change in
what you eat without talking with your
dietitian or doctor. They can help you determine the right amounts of food to keep you healthy and happy.
What about breakfast?
- Breakfast is a great way to
start your day. It will help
you focus and pay attention in
school throughout the day.
- Have one bowl of whole grain
cereal with nonfat or low-fat
milk or yogurt and a piece of
- When you do not have much
time, try a couple of whole
grain crackers or slices of bread
with a tablespoon of natural
peanut butter, a hard-boiled
egg, or a piece of low-fat
cheese, along with a glass of
nonfat or low-fat milk.
What about school lunches?
If you buy your lunch at school, try to steer clear
of fried foods. Choose:
- small deli sandwiches or subs made with lean turkey, chicken without the skin, or beef with mustard or a little low-fat mayonnaise
- nonfat or low-fat milk instead of chocolate milk
- a piece of fresh fruit instead of cookies or cake
If there is a salad bar, choose a variety of fresh
vegetables and fruits. Use a small amount of
Pack lunch at home the night before to save time.
- Use leftovers from dinner.
- Make a tuna sandwich.
- Add raw carrots and a piece of fruit.
Can I still have a snack?
Most teens need a snack after school. The trick is not
eating too much. Use a small plate or bowl for your
snack to help you control the portion size. It is best not
to snack while watching TV or at the computer—it is
easy to lose track and eat too much.
Here are some healthy snack ideas:
- A piece of fresh fruit.
- A cup of veggies served with some salsa or a little
low-fat salad dressing.
- A small bowl of whole grain cereal with nonfat or
- A small bowl of vegetable soup and a few
- One small tortilla with one or two slices of
low-fat cheese or turkey.
- Three cups of low-fat
microwave popcorn or a single
- One handful of pretzels or
- Drink a couple of glasses of water with your snack.
Can I eat at fast-food restaurants?
Sure, but not every day.
When you do, try these ideas:
- Don’t “super-size” it! Order smaller, kid-sized
meals and drink water or nonfat or low-fat milk.
Share a larger meal with a friend.
- Choose a grilled chicken sandwich or a simple
hamburger rather than a burger covered with
sauce, cheese, and bacon. Add a small baked
potato with a little butter or sour cream or a
small serving of fries.
- If you are eating pizza, order thin or medium
crust instead of deep dish or stuffed crust.
Eat only one or two slices of plain cheese or vegetable pizza. Add a salad with a little low-fat dressing.
- Try a small bag or a handful of baked chips or pretzels instead of regular chips.
Reaching and staying at a healthy weight
while you are a teen helps you stay fit as
you get older. Encourage family members and
friends to get fit too by making healthy food
choices and joining you in physical activity.
Learn more! Check out…
National Diabetes Education Program
to get free copies of other tip sheets for teens
- What is Diabetes?
- Be Active
- Make Healthy Food Choices
- Dealing With the Ups and Downs of Diabetes
- Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
www.YourDiabetesInfo.org • 1-888-693-NDEP
American Association of Diabetes Educators
to find a diabetes educator near you
American Diabetes Association for help to manage
American Dietetic Association to find a dietitian
www.eatright.org • 1-800-366-1655
Bam! Body and Mind website for help to stay healthy
Children With Diabetes website for more about kids
and families with diabetes
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
International for help to manage diabetes
www.jdrf.org • 1-800-223-1138
National Association for Health and Fitness
that promotes physical activity
www.physicalfitness.org • 1-716-583-0521
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
for more about diabetes
www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov • 1-800-860-8747
Nutrition and Physical Activity website for healthy
eating tips and the Kids Walk to School Program
WIN – Weight-control Information Network for weight control help:
- Take Charge of Your Health! A Teenager’s Guide to Better Health
Special thanks to the teens who helped create this tip sheet
Francine Kaufman, M.D., Head, Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and Janet Silverstein, M.D., Professor and Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL reviewed this material for technical accuracy.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the support of more than 200 partner organizations. www.YourDiabetesInfo.org or 1-888-693-NDEP
Revised November 2007 NIH Publication No. 08-5295 NDEP-65
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