Teen Nutrition

Teen Nutrition Needs

A best part of the teenage years is growing autonomy and most importantly independence from family and parents, and teens are tends to eating outside the home than ever before. But at the same time teens have especially important nutritional requirements.

The Facts:
  1. Increasing Independence

Teens often eat outside home with friends rather than family. They have increasing control over food selection, often experimenting with new trends or various types and taste of foods.

  1. What Teenagers Care About

The major concern of most of the teenagers is with athletic prowess and body layout than they are with long-term health. They are more likely to take limited calories and fat to lose weight than to keep their cardiovascular system in check. Teen athletes are also inclined to using ergogenic supplements that are often not accepted and may have serious side effects.

  1. Nutritional Needs For Teens

Nutrients of primary focus during teen years are calcium, iron, and total calorie intake. Teen food intake studies show their diets are often lacking in sufficient quantity of iron and calcium to support growth and health. If teens avoid calories to control body weight, growth may actually be adversely affected.

A Parent's Role

Most of the base work for your teen's diet has been laid in the food and snacks you provided earlier in their life. However, there are some steps you can take to continue to influence your teen's diet and avoid teenage nutrition problems:

  • Provide consolidated meals, and inspire your teen to eat with the family at least once every day. This will provide you with the opportunity to add healthy foods in your teen's diet and to interact about her day schedule and other experiences.
  • Ensure that your house is replete with healthy snacks. Keep fruit, bagels, breads, juices, string cheese and yogurt handy and easily available.
  • Talk to your teens regarding their choices of meals. Inspire them to opt for milk instead of soda, and to incorporate fruit or vegetables to their lunch. Search out what food items are available for meals and snacks at your teen's school.
  • Avoid criticizing your teen's food selections. It has been studied that when food becomes a topic for discussion, teens skip more meals and opt for worse food choices. Unless you notice that your teen is losing more weight, or appears to be opting for supplements instead of whole foods, keep a watch and let them experiment.

The Basic Healthy Teenage Nutrition

Your child's nutrition is prominent to his/her overall health. Proper nutrition can also prevent many medical problems e.g. becoming overweight, developing weak bones, and developing diabetes etc.
The best nutrition advice to keep your teen healthy is to encourage them to:

  • Eat different varieties of foods
  • Incorporating physical activity also to balance the food
  • Plan a diet replete of grain products, vegetables and fruits
  • Plan a diet flow low in cholesterol and saturated fat
  • Choose a diet with a balance intake of sugars and salt
  • Choose a diet that offers sufficient calcium and iron to meet their growing body's needs.

You can also enable promote good nutrition by setting a good example. Healthy eating habits and daily exercise should be part and parcel of your family's life. Make it a rule in the house to follows these guidelines. You should also buy low-calorie and low fat foods, snacks and desserts, skim milk and diet drinks. Avoid buying high calorie snacks or desserts.

Oils, Fats, and Sweets

Thirty percent of your diet should be made of fats. For a 2200 calorie diet it should contain 73g of fat every day and for a diet with 2800 calorie, 93g of fat intake is necessary each day. The selection of fat that you eat also plays an important role. Saturated fats in foods in meats, palm and palm kernal oil, coconut, raise more cholesterol than unsaturated fats like canola oils, olive, and peanut or polyunsaturated fats in cottonseed oils, sunflower, safflower, and soybean. The intake of saturated fats must not be more than 10% of daily calories.

Sugars provide a huge amount of calories, with very little nutritional value. They include brown sugar, white sugar, corn syrup, honey and foods like soft drinks, jams, and jellies and candy.

Selection tips:
  • use low fat dairy products
  • Glance through the nutrition label on foods to check for the quantity and kind of fat it includes
  • Intake margarines or unsaturated vegetable oils
  • restrict foods that supply a large amount of saturated fats
  • limit sugary products and avoid adding extra sugar to your meal

Yogurt, Milk and Cheese

Dairy products are rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins and are a great source of calcium. Your adolescent must take 2 to 3 servings of yogurt, milk and cheese each day.

Selection tips:

  • Choose and fatless yogurt and skim milk
  • Avoid ice cream and high fat cheese

Poultry, Meat, Fish, Eggs, Dry Beans, and Nuts

Foods in this category supply protein, minerals and vitamins including B vitamins, zinc and iron. Your teen should have 2 to 3 servings of food from this group every day, incorporating the equivalent of 5 to 7 ounces of lean meat.

Selection tips:
  • A serving from this food group should be comprised of lean poultry, meat or fish (2-3 ounces).
  • Season meats in low fat methods, by trimming away fat, and roasting, or boiling rather than frying or deep frying.
  • Options with the least fat consist of lean meat, poultry without skin, dry beans/peas and fish.
  • Remember nuts and seed are rich in fat, and egg yolks are high in cholesterol, so give your teen in moderation.

Vegetables are replete with vitamin A and C, and folate, minerals, e.g. iron and magnesium, and fiber also. Plus they are also low in fat. Your teen should have 2 to 4 servings of vegetables every day.

Selection tips:
  • Your teen nutrition food should comprised of  different vegetables to get all of the varied nutrients that they are rich in, including dark  yellow vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, starchy vegetables e.g corn, peas, potatoes; and other vegetables e.g. tomatoes, onions, green beans.
  • Do not include a lot of fat to the vegetables you eat, by leaving added toppings, such as mayonnaise, butter, and salad dressing


Fruits and 100% fruit juices are replete of potassium, Vitamin A and C. They are also low in sodium and fat.

Selection tips:
  • Eat fresh fruits and take 100 % fruit juices and cut down canned fruit in heavy syrups and artificially sweetened fruit juices.
  • Eat raw fruits.
  • Eat melons, and berries and citrus fruits which are rich source of Vitamin C.

Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta

Foods of this group are great supply of carbohydrates and vitamins, fiber and minerals. Your teen should include 6 to 11 servings of foods from this food group everyday.

Selection tips:
  • Opt for whole grain breads and cereals.
  • Choose foods with low sugars and fat.
  • Stop adding fat and calories to foods in this group by avoiding spreads or toppings which are high in fat.
Calcium Requirements

Calcium is a mineral that is very important for your child’s bones. Having a diet with foods high in calcium to meet daily needs is imperative for the development of strong bones.

Teens require about 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium regularly

You must check the nutrition label to choose foods high in calcium when you make your families diet. Also choose foods that are rich in calcium.

Iron Requirements

Iron is another mineral that is very vital for your child's growth. Having a diet with foods that are rich in iron to meet daily supplement is important for the development of strong muscles and blood.

Teens need about 12 (males) to 15 (females) mg of iron regularly

Check the nutrition label to select foods rich in iron when you prepare your families diet. Also choose foods that are replete of iron (bread, rice and pasta).

By applied these small tips you can add lot of flavor and multiple nutrients to your teen’s health and healthy teenage nutrition will keep them fit and fine for the rest of their life.