The teenage years are a time of change, growth and development. It’s also the time when many teenagers can be more self-conscious about their appearance and therefore developing healthy habits during these critical years will help your teen grow into an adult with a solid relationship with food that they can carry throughout adulthood.
You may think this is too late to start teaching your teenager how to eat well, but it’s not: Eating right does take some work, no doubt - it doesn’t just happen overnight -but following these simple steps will make sure your teen has the best chance at achieving better health for life:
What is a balanced diet and why do we need it?
A balanced diet is one that contains all of the necessary nutrients for good health. These are proteins, carbohydrates, fats/oils and sugars. There are also some other nutritional elements called “minerals” (like calcium) and “vitamins” (like Vitamin C).
If your teen isn't eating foods from these different food groups on a regular basis, they can develop deficiencies in their diets which will alter normal body functions like growth and development or cause them to be more susceptible to illness.
Deficiencies can occur when there's not enough of something in the diet or certain things aren't included together such as fat with protein—or even healthy foods like fruits and vegetables because it doesn't include enough fat.
Why do teens need more calories than adults?
Different foods have different caloric values. A calorie is a unit of energy. All of our body functions need energy to work properly which comes from the food we eat and drink—everything from breathing, thinking or even growing hair!
The number of calories your teen needs depends on their age, weight and activity level but they will likely be burning more calories than adults because teenagers are still in the process of growing into an adult frame (that means developing muscles like biceps).
Growing bodies use up a lot more fuel than mature ones do which is why it's important that they're feeding them lots of healthy (and nutritious) foods!
The importance of breakfast
The importance of breakfast for teenagers cannot and should not be understated. Whilst it’s true that sleep and other factors can make eating first thing in the morning difficult, having a healthy meal at this time is important to keep up their energy levels throughout the day as well as help them focus on school work.
Teens need good nutrition just like everyone else – though they will try to tell you otherwise and may try to resist your efforts to feed them veggies or introduce whole grains into their diets, it is crucial that you persevere!
Try making smoothies with fresh fruits and vegetables; most times, they won't even realise what they are consuming! The fibre will also help fill them up until lunchtime without too many extra calories getting packed away along with those new muscles which will come in handy when they’re hanging out with their friends later...
Include five servings from the five major food groups each day: fruits, vegetables, grains (breads and cereals), protein foods such as meat, poultry fish or eggs and dairy products like milk to help them grow into strong adults!
What do teens need more of? Energy! That means calories, so make sure you're feeding your teen lots of healthy foods that will provide energy throughout the day without a lot of extra junk which can lead to weight gain—and other health issues too.
Types of fats and why they are important for a teenager:
A balanced diet includes healthy fats. There are some types of fat that are better for our bodies than others and it's important to know what they are so we can make good choices about the foods we eat (and provide an example to kids).
There are three kinds of “healthy” dietary fats: unsaturated, saturated and trans-fatty acids. Unsaturated is best because these help lower cholesterol levels in blood which will reduce a person's risk for heart disease and stroke down the line! Saturated fats should be eaten less often while trans fatty acids should be avoided at all costs—these increase bad LDL cholesterol in your teen’s body making it harder for them to stay slim too!
What do teens need more of? Fats! But not just any fats. Make sure your teen is getting the right types by including healthy oils like olive oil, canola oil or sunflower seed in their diets and avoid adding too much foods that are naturally high in saturated fat (like red meats) because they contribute to heart disease & stroke .
Other sources of healthy nutrition for teenagers are:
- Protein: An essential part of a teenager's diet and can come from both animal sources (such as meat) and plant sources.
- Iron: Important for healthy blood cells which help transport oxygen around the body so our organs can function properly which, in turn, keeps us alert, happy and feeling great! It is one of the nutrients that teens do need more than adults because they lose iron during menstruation when their bodies are working harder to produce estrogen.
- Calcium: We all know how integral calcium is for building strong bones but teenagers especially need this mineral to keep growing into their adult frame. That means protecting themselves against conditions like osteoporosis later on by eating plenty of dairy products or taking calcium supplements if needed
- Vitamins and minerals: These are needed to help keep their bodies work at its best. That means eating a lot of colorful fruits and veggies which are packed with great nutrients like vitamin C, iron and calcium as well as potassium for healthy muscles and good brain function! A teen’s body can use fat-soluble vitamins (such as D) more than adults so they should eat foods that contain those too... Just beware of the extra calories if you're trying to keep your kid slim. Examples of these include cheese, yogurt and/or even some supplements.
- Fibre: Fibre is important because it helps fill us up without adding lots of calories into our diets making them easier to follow while also digestion. Teens don't necessarily have to have a specific amount of fibre; they should just aim for eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains which are naturally high in the nutrient.
Foods that teens need more or less often :
Teens don’t need very many “extras”, however, let's be honest, you're going to treat them every now and then and the reality is, now is the time because their metabolism can handle it better than when they were younger.
However, this doesn't mean you should be going overboard either; the occasional treat is all right but make sure your teen isn't filling up with empty calories instead of healthier food options.
It's important to have a balanced diet, and teenagers need it more than adults do.
They’re growing fast, their bodies are changing rapidly, they're going through puberty--which makes them constantly hungry for food that satisfies their cravings instead of what is good for them-and they don't know how to make the right choices when eating out or at home.
In the end, a balanced diet is important for all stages of life. The teen years are just as important and will help set your child up for success in adulthood if they have a good foundation starting at an early age. With proper nutrition from a young age, you can prevent many health problems later on in life and isn't that what we all want?