Are you worried that your teen is not eating properly and may not be getting the required nutrition? Do you want to plan out a meal chart that your teen will find interesting enough to eat? Does your teen love eating junk food and you want to encourage the benefits of eating at home?
If you are facing any of these issues with your teen’s food habits, read on to more about the nutritional needs for teenagers and what you can do about it.
Good Nutrition For Teens:
Here is a look at the main nutrients your teen needs during these crucial years:
Protein is extremely important for your teen’s growth and development. It helps to build, repair and maintain the tissues in your teen’s body (1).
Some very good sources of protein for your teen are beans, legumes, soy, quinoa, meats, eggs, fish, wheat germ, cheese, and yogurt. Other foods that are rich in protein are peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, tofu, kidney beans, shellfish, pinto beans, etc.
[ Read: Protein Foods For Teenagers ]
Carbohydrates are a very important source of energy for your teen. Simple carbohydrates are the ones that are naturally available in fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products and are a good source of energy. Complex carbohydrates are also a good source of fiber and continuously provide energy. You should ensure your teen eats more of complex carbohydrates and less of simple carbohydrates (2).
Some good sources of carbohydrates are:
Simple carbohydrates – milk, milk products, fruits, vegetables.
Complex carbohydrates – whole grain food items, legumes, starchy vegetables, and cereals.
3. Vitamins And Minerals:
If your teen has a balanced diet, he will get his requisite dose of all the essential nutrients. Vitamins and minerals increase your teen’s immunity and protect him from various health conditions like anemia, night blindness, weakness and so on. Though your teen can get most of the required vitamin and mineral from foods, the doctor may sometimes also suggest some vital supplements for him (3).
Some very good sources of vitamins and minerals are milk, yogurt, cheese, liver, eggs, carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches, mangoes, papaya, and kiwi. Other good sources of vitamins and minerals include strawberries, guava, spinach, salmon, tuna, egg yolks, and orange. You can also add nuts, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, avocados, bananas, beans, and peas to your teen’s diet.
[ Read: Best Healthy Foods For Teens ]
Point To Ponder:
Watch Your Teen’s Calorie Consumption:
Your teen may suddenly seem hungry all the time! He may even resort to eating junk food to satiate his hunger pangs. The increase in appetite will continue to meet his body’s growth needs during the teenage years. The various foods and drinks that your teen will list the energy they provide as calories. The nutritional requirements for teenagers will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of exercise he does on a regular basis. It is important to regulate his calorie intake accordingly to prevent obesity and other health complications (4).
Tips To Develop Healthy Eating Habits In Your Teen:
You need to help your teen understand the importance of healthy eating. Here are a few tips that might help you get the message across to your teen:
- Whatever you want your teen to have, make sure you make it interesting. Your teen may want to reach out for junk food because it looks more appetizing than the healthy food option at home. As a parent, you will have to try and tantalize his taste buds in a healthy way.
- Try and involve your teen in the cooking or preparing process as much as possible. You can plan a weekend dinner with your teen. Ask your teen about various menu ideas and options. Let your teen come up with innovative culinary ideas. Once you both select the weekend menu, ask your teen to help you out with the shopping. To make it more interesting, you can also ask your teen to look up for new recipes or create some recipes on his own.
- Make eating together a fun time of the day. Inculcate the habit of eating together as a family, either at the start or end of the day. Once you make this a family routine, eating healthy will automatically become a normal routine instead of an imposed one. Ensure, everyone in the family, eats healthily, and it is not just your teen who is forced to eat the bland and nutritious food. Talk about each family member’s day and also try to highlight the food on the table. If your teen helped you in making a particular dish, make sure everyone in the family gives it a try.
- Limit eating out to a few days a month and reserve it for special occasions. Let your teen understand the perks of eating well and the demerits of eating nonhealthy food. As your teen understands the health implications, he will gradually reduce his intake of unhealthy food and start making healthier food choices. If you feel your teen is unsure of what he has to eat or avoid, be there to guide him.
[ Read: Sources Of Nutrition For Teenagers ]
As a parent of an intelligent teenager, you need to practice what you preach. You need to have a balanced diet if you want your teen to follow suit.
Hope you liked our post on how essential is nutrition for teens. How did you inculcate a healthy eating habit in your teen? Please share your tips and advice on teen nutrition with other moms here!
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