Did you know that teenagers are turning more obese than ever? Worldwide studies indicate a disturbing trend, with a growing number of children becoming overweight due to erratic lifestyles and poor eating habits. Don’t you think as a parent, you too have contributed to this phenomenon? Healthy foods for teens are not hard to find!
Don’t judge yourself too hard though. Let’s try to rectify the eating disorders of our teenagers. You can’t force them to eat any food, and they can turn rebellious at the slightest provocation. So, how do you ensure that they have a balanced and healthy diet? Well, by coming up with newer, more fun ways to provide them their daily nutrition. Healthy food for teens are mentioned in the list below.Read this post and find out about some healthy food ideas for teens.
Teenage Eating Habits:
Before you move into more detailed ideas for healthy foods for teenagers, here is a quick look at the nutritional chart for teenagers: (1)
|Micronutrient||Boys 9-13||Boys 14-18||Girls 9-13||Girls 14-18|
|Vitamin A||2000 IU||300 IU||200 IU||2333 IU|
|Vitamin D*||4000 IU||400 IU||400 IU||400 IU|
|Vitamin E||11 mg||15 mg||11 mg||15 mg|
|Vitamin K||60 mcg||75 mcg||60 mcg||75 mcg|
|Vitamin C||45 mg||75 mg||45 mg||65 mg|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.9 mg||1.2 mg||0.9 mg||1.0 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.9 mg||1.3 mg||0.9 mg||1.0 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||12 mg||16 mg||12 mg||14 mg|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||1.0 mg||1.3 mg||1.0 mg||1.2 mg|
|Folate||300 mcg||400 mcg||300 mcg||400 mcg**|
|Vitamin B12||1.8 mcg||2.4 mcg||1.8 mcg||2.4 mcg|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||4 mg||5 mg||4 mg||5 mg|
|Biotin||20 mcg||25 mcg||20 mcg||25 mcg|
|Choline||375 mg||550 mg||375 mg||400 mg|
|Calcium||1300 mg||1300 mg||1300 mg||1300 mg|
|Chromium||25 mcg||35 mcg||21 mcg||24 mcg|
|Copper||700 mcg||890 mcg||700 mcg||890 mcg|
|Fluoride||2 mg||3 mg||2 mg||3 mg|
|Iodine||120 mcg||150 mcg||120 cmg||150 cmg|
|Iron||8 mg||11 mg||8 mg||15 mg|
|Magnesium||240 mg||410 mg||240 mg||360 mg|
|Manganese||1.9 mg||2.2 mg||1.6 mg||1.6 mg|
|Molybdenum||34 mcg||43 mcg||34 mcg||43 mcg|
|Phosphorus||1250 mg||1250 mg||1250 mg||1250 mg|
|Selenium||40 mcg||55 mcg||40 mcg||55 mcg|
|Zinc||7.0 mg||8.5mg||7.0 mg||7.3 mg|
|Potassium||4500 mg||4700 mg||4500 mg||4700 mg|
|Sodium||1500 mg||1500 mg||1500 mg||1500 mg|
|Chloride||2300 mg||2300 mg||2300 mg||2300 mg|
[ Read: Teenage Fitness ]
10 Best Healthy Foods For Teens:
1. Five Portions Of Fruits And Vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables are quite essential to the diet and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are an essential part of the diet for any growing person and teens are no different. Five portions of 80 g of fruits and vegetables help you fulfill the 400 gm count prescribed by the World Health Organization for teens.(1)
2. Critical Calcium:
Teenagers need a high dose of calcium; around 1,300 mg every day. This requirement is why medical professionals insist that your child have milk twice in a day. Usually, manufacturers fortify milk with vitamin D and calcium; together they help develop strong bones. Consider including natural yogurt, hard cheese, cottage cheese or even calcium-enriched fruit juices in your teen’s diet. (2)
3. Iron Stores:
In the healthy food for teenagers list iron holds an important position.If your teen tends to get exhausted too soon, you might want to rethink his diet. Often, insufficient iron in the diet can lead to deficiencies that lead to health disorders later. Girls need more iron in their diet than boys, due to blood loss during menstruation.
Beef, poultry, oysters, green vegetables, nuts and beans are rich sources of iron. With an iron requirement of 15 mg per day for girls and 11 mg for boys, you can even consider giving your teen iron supplements, depending on the doctor’s advice.
4. The Protein Power:
Protein is one of the most necessary essential nutrients out there. You need protein to produce collagen, build body tissue, muscles, and organs. Protein is also quite essential for maintaining energy levels in your body. Teenagers need five and a half ounce of protein in their diet every day. Consider including protein-rich foods like tofu, lean meat, nut, seeds, beans, poultry, and fish in your teenager’s diet.The healthy food for teenager is tasty and full of nutrients.
[ Read: Food Guide Pyramid For Teens ]
5. Whole Grains:
The most filling option among the dietary components, whole grains contain many nutrients. Whole grains are rich in dietary fiber and provide energy to your body. Consider including whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal to make your diet healthier and more nutritious. Surprise your teens by trying delicious recipes with whole-grain pasta, cracked wheat and wholegrain breakfast cereals like raisin bran. (3)
6. Regulate Fats:
One of the biggest problems in the eating habits of teens is to restrict the amount of Trans fats and other MUFAs (Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acids) in the diet. You need to be extra careful so that your teen doesn’t develop an overdependence on junk food. You should consider whipping up some exciting recipes using flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cold water fish, etc. These foods are rich in PUFAs (Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids), which promote good health.
7. Smart Snacking:
Junk food has its share of problems. The best way to ensure that your teen remains healthy is by axing all that junk food from his diet. Teach them how to snack smart and avoid fatty or sugary foods, which can lead to many complications later. Consider fixing them one of the following snacks:
- Baked chips like potato or tortilla
- Cut fruits, fresh or dried
- String cheese or low fat cottage cheese
- Air fried popcorn
- Rice cakes or whole wheat crackers
- Veggies with low-fat dip (4)
[ Read: Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Teens ]
8. Granola Bar With Milk:
Don’t let your teen go off to school without having any breakfast. Surprise him with a tall refreshing glass of milk and a granola bar, a new style of breakfast on the go. The nuts, dried fruits, and seeds make granola a fiber-rich food while the omega fatty acids make it an effective energy booster. Remember no to consume granola bars that are high in saturated fat.
9. Peanut Butter:
It is an again an option in the list of healthy foods for teenagers.Peanut butter is quite popular among teens. One of the best after-school snacks you can make for your teen is a peanut butter sandwich. The delicious buttery taste ensures that you and your teen are both happy with his choice of evening snack. Peanuts are one of the best sources or iron, and peanut butter is a healthy choice to add more fats and calories to your diet. Fat and healthy probably sounds like a contradiction, but peanut butter contains a lot of unsaturated fats, which are healthy for you. Consider eating your peanut butter sandwich with a glass of milk and add some slices of apple.
10. Grilled Salmon Salad With Spinach:
Fish is a better source of many nutrients and is more nutritious than chicken for teens. With its anti-carcinogenic properties, fish is especially rich in omega-3 acids, which makes it a heart-healthy food. Omega-3 acids help reduce the risk of depression and arthritis. Salmon is one of the best fish to consume, and is rich in polyunsaturated fats. Add spinach to fish to double your nutritional intake as the more green vegetables you consume, the more you consume nutrients. You can also skip the coleslaw chicken salad and let your teen gorge on a large grilled portion of salmon along with spinach. Salmon and spinach isn’t just healthy, but incredibly tasty as well. These are extremely healthy foods for teenage girl.
Healthy Food Chart For Teens:
Make sure your teen begins his day with a healthy breakfast. According to the Nemours Foundation (1), kids who eat healthy foods in the morning tend to perform better at school. Teens need plenty of whole grains every day so offer a whole grain toast with peanut butter or jam. Mixing yogurt with granola bars is also a great breakfast option for kids. On weekends, you can give scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast and a glass of smoothie.
[ Read: Healthy Diet For Teenage Boys ]
Pack your child a homemade lunch so that he does not indulge in junk foods. Pack lean turkey, chicken or tuna sandwich in your teen’s tiffin. You can also make chicken salad with mandarin oranges or baked chicken during the weekend.
Snacking is a must for your teen as it satisfies his hunger and provides him adequate energy to perform his endless activities. Give your child a fresh fruit with whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese or yogurt with dried fruit or berries. You can also offer a salad with low-fat dressing or raw vegetables like carrot or celery with creamy dips. Kale chips are an excellent alternative to potato chips.
Fried rice with stir-fried vegetables, tacos with stuffed turkey or couscous are good choices for dinner. You can also serve baked salmon with boiled potatoes.
It’s now time for you to chip in and make some big changes in your teen’s diet. Tell us about any more healthy tips that help entice teens to healthy eating habits? Let’s pool our ideas here. Our fellow readers would love to hear from you.
- 4 Most Common Eating Disorders In Teenagers
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