Nutrition 4 you

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 March, 2007, 12:00am

Name: Michelle Tsui

Age: 14

Breakfast: Rice, fried vegetables and meat

Snack: Fruit and bread

Lunch: Chicken, tuna fish or ham and cheese sandwich; water

Snack: Bread and biscuits

Dinner: Rice, fried vegetables, pork

Eating out: Pizza or pasta at Pizza Hut; or Chinese-style restaurants with family

Lifestyle: Jogging three or four times a week

Wynnie says: Finding time to eat healthy, balanced meals each day is important if we want to look and feel good.

But it isn't always easy to make healthy choices.

Michelle manages to eat at regular intervals, and makes sensible food choices look relatively easy.

Teenagers need higher doses than adults of certain vitamins and minerals in order to support bone growth, hormonal changes, brain, other organs and tissue development. Unlike Michelle, many teens don't eat a balanced diet, so they don't consume a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals.

One particular mineral that Michelle should concentrate on is calcium. Teens need to optimise their bone mass so that their skeleton is dense and strong enough to prevent fractures later on in life.

About 50 per cent of your bone mass is formed during adolescence. For Michelle, this means eating two to three more portions of calcium-rich foods everyday.

She likes cheese, and a 50g serving provides 355-460mg calcium, over a third of her daily requirement. Green leafy vegetables are also good sources of calcium, but provide fewer grams per serving than dairy products.

Snacking on a pot of reduced-fat yoghurt at break, and including either a glass of low-fat milk or calcium-fortified soy milk at breakfast would easily help Michelle meet her daily target.

To keep fit, Michelle manages to find time to exercise three or four times a week.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week, and preferably every day.

This can include brisk walking, playing tag, skipping, swimming, running, dancing, jogging, stair climbing, or playing team sports, as long as you do an hour a day.

Hiking or gentle walking with family and friends and doing household chores at the weekend are other activities that Michelle could take up in order to meet these physical activity recommendations.

Wynnie Chan is a British-trained nutritionist. If you've got a question for her or would like to be featured in this column, e-mail

Bone-building soy recipes

Tropical smoothie (serves 2):

Process 125g soft tofu, 125ml calcium fortified soy-milk, 50ml unsweetened orange juice, 1 small banana, 2 tsp lemon or lime juice in a blender. Pour into a jug and stir in two or three chopped slices of fresh pineapple. Chill or add ice cubes before serving.

Tofu and sesame dressing:

Process 350g soft tofu, 120g rice wine vinegar, 1 crushed clove garlic, 1 tbsp honey, 2 tsp sesame oil, ? tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, handful finely chopped spring onions, pinch chilli flakes (optional) in a blender. Serve as a dip for vegetables or as a salad dressing.