Healthy Diet for Teenagers
Teenage is when kids actually start growing, hence, it is especially important that they learn how to satisfy their body’s need for nutrition. maintaining a diverse and balanced diet, being aware of the foods being eaten, healthy growth and development of the body can be facilitated.
When kids enter their teenagers, they go through a lot of physical and emotional changes. Teenagers have to be guided well about a healthy diet, exercise, and rest because these habits will become a way of living later in their life. Following a balanced diet does not mean starving or cutting out foods that you like, it simply means eating the things that provide all the necessary nutrients. The nutritional needs of every kid are different. But here are some of the items that must necessarily be a part of every teenager’s diet:
- Fruits and Vegetables:
One-third of the food on a teenager’s plate must be fruits or vegetables. They are rich in fibres, antioxidants and vitamins (C, A). Fruits and vegetables also have good amounts of zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, folic acid. These are very useful in maintaining a healthy weight, lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Daily intake of fruits and vegetables is very crucial in reducing the risk of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer and hypertension. Make the plate colourful, include carrots, tomatoes, spinach, oranges, watermelons, berries, etc. Red foods are rich in lycopene which helps in preventing heart diseases. Green vegetables like spinach have lutein which fights eye diseases. White foods like cauliflower fight cancers with sulforaphane.
Calcium is one of the most important elements required by the body. It strengthens the teeth and bones. It also helps the body with maintain a normal heartbeat, muscle movement, hormonal action etc. Some sources of calcium are yogurt, tofu, milk and other dairy products, green vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, almonds, salmons, sardines. Although dietary supplements must be avoided as much as possible, sometimes the food eaten may not be sufficient to provide the body with essential calcium. In such times, calcium citrate and calcium carbonate that are available as supplements can be used.
There is a commendable physical growth in boys during teenage and girls start menstruating which leads to a lot of blood loss. Thus about 1300 mg of iron daily is very essential in teenage boys and girls. Iron is absolutely necessary for the transport of substances through the blood. An iron deficiency may lead to pale skin, fatigue, lack of energy, poor concentration etc. Iron rich foods are beans, lentils, whole grains, green leafy vegetables like spinach.
Protein is the most essential component of the diet. It is necessary for muscle building, production of enzymes, repairing tissues and is also responsible for the growth of hairs and nails. 2 servings of 6 ounces of protein must be included everyday. Fish, meat, poultry, beans, eggs, soya, nuts are some common sources of protein.
Fats help the body develop and provide nutrition to the skin. But they contain more calories than carbohydrates or proteins. Fat intake of teenagers must be limited. Unsaturated fats must be preferred over saturated fats. Butter, cheese, bread and other dairy products mostly contain saturated fats which are not very healthy. Unsaturated fats include nuts and seeds, cold water fish like salmon, sunflower and soybean oils.
- Whole – grains:
Whole grains are the most important source of energy. They are rich in fibre and make you feel full, helping you maintain a healthy weight. They help the body build immunity against heart diseases and cancer. Grains are the seeds of grass cultivated for food. Compared to other grains, these are more reliable sources of vitamin B, folate, iron. Half of the diet of teenagers must comprise of whole grains since they need a lot of energy throughout the day. Common sources are – brown rice, millet, oatmeal, pasta. They can be eaten as breakfast cereals, or made into bread, or added to soups.
Besides these, it’s good to make teenagers avoid sugar-containing snacks like biscuits, soda, and candy and consider healthy alternatives. Kids in their growing age must drink 7 – 8 glasses of water every day to meet their body’s needs. Healthy diet practices cultivated early in the teenage will become a lifestyle later. So, it is very important to educate teenage kids about their body’s needs and health and help them make better decisions.
It is always a big confusion for teenagers, which diet to choose to stay healthy and happy. The holistic living platforms have on-boarded experts, who are skilled enough to plan a healthy diet for everyone including children, teenagers, adults and elderly parents. Explore 1000’s of dietitians, nutritionists, and naturopaths on the platform https://www.theholisticliving.org.in/ and consult with the most suitable one for you.