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Eating right

Three girls having lunch in a cafeteria.

Everyone should eat healthy foods to prevent health problems. But good nutrition is even more important for young people with health issues.

If you have to follow a special diet, you may feel annoyed or frustrated at times. That’s completely understandable. It can be hard to feel left out of the food fun. Don’t just give in or give up, though. To stay healthy, stick with the directions from your doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists. You’ll thank yourself later!

If you’re having trouble, ask your friends to help you stay strong. You also can work with your parents or guardians and health care team to create a flexible plan that allows you to treat yourself sometimes. And just talking about how you feel can help.

A healthy eating plan doesn’t mean you have to eat a lot of foods that you don’t like. Just make sure that your diet includes:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Whole grains (like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal)

It’s possible that your illness or disability may require you to avoid certain foods. For example, you may have an allergy to tree nuts or be unable to eat gluten (contained in wheat, rye, and barley). If this is the case, be sure to listen to your doctor’s advice and avoid foods that could harm you.

Read all about healthy foods here. And check out tips for leading a healthy lifestyle in "Take Charge of Your Health: A Guide for Teenagers."

 

Content last reviewed February 16, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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