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Healthy Choices for High School and Beyond


You have a lot going on right now with school, friends, family, maybe even sports or work. It’s easy to think you don’t have time or energy for healthy habits, but there’s a better way to see it.

  • Eating right fuels you to do all the things you want to do.
  • Exercising not only energizes you for the day but also helps you sleep at night.
  • Sleeping well helps your body recharge and your mind improve.

All of these things are good to do—and they feel good once you’ve done them—but don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to make lots of big changes all at once. Today, do one little thing to take care of yourself. Then do it again tomorrow.

Five Tips to Live By

  • Fresh is best: Fruits and vegetables have tons of nutrients (especially the colorful ones). Get plenty and get them fresh whenever possible.
  • Eat real food: If your packaged food has more than five ingredients, or you cannot pronounce them, it’s probably not a great choice.
  • Recognize your portion size: Start with a small load on your plate and wait a little before filling it again. It takes time for your stomach to tell your brain it’s full. “Small plate, lose weight.”
  • Eat when you’re hungry: Avoid mindless eating. If you must munch, pick fruits, vegetables or low-calorie snacks.
  • Pre-pack your snack: Be prepared for after school snacking or eating just before sports. Plan ahead and make ready-to-eat healthy snacks. It will help you avoid high calorie junk from vending machines and convenience stores.
  • Rethink your drink: Sweeteners of all kinds have negative effects on your health. Avoid sodas and artificial sweeteners by drinking water throughout the day.

Get Moving!

Physical activity is such an important part of healthy development and personal wellbeing. When you break a sweat doing anything like walking, jogging, biking, dancing, or playing your favorite sport, you’re elevating your heart rate. This keeps your body and mind sharp and it can help boost your mood, too. Even if you can’t get in the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise, just going for a brisk 10-minute walk around the block can make a huge difference.

Rest Up

It’s a temptation to stay up late, but missing out on sleep isn’t just a drag when you’ve got to wake up. You need at least eight or nine hours to give your body the rest it needs to serve you the rest of the day. If you aren’t getting enough, here are some tips.

  • Limit screen time before bed: The bright light from the screen messes with your brain’s ability to transition into sleep mode.
  • Exercise during the day: It’s official: regular exercise helps you sleep more soundly.
  • Have a routine: Doing the same things in the same order an hour or so before bed can help prepare your mind to drift off.
  • Create a sleep-friendly bedroom: Having a room that is dark, cool, quiet and comfortable makes a big difference in sleep quality.

Learn More

Remember: choosing health is something you can do every day. These healthy choices keep your body fueled and your mind strong. To learn more about our Choose Health program, speak to your Mercy Medical Group physician.