A healthy balanced diet is important for everybody, but particularly for teenagers. As a teen your body and brain are going through changes and getting the right nutrition allows you to grow and develop properly. As the blog explained yesterday, getting enough sleep is also important for teens, but a healthy diet, including things such as iron, vitamin D, and calcium will also help you if you are watching your weight. As a teen it is all-too-easy to just grab a snack while you are out, or head to a burger bar, chip shop or other fast food place while you are with your friends. This is fine in moderation, and a healthy diet doesn’t mean that you have to completely cut out food and drink that is high in sugar or fat, but rather that you need to keep these things in moderation. Crisps, fizzy drinks and chocolate are among the things that you should eat less often and in smaller amounts, but to keep things clear, here are some healthy eating tips for teens:
- Don’t Skip Out On Breakfast
Skipping your breakfast won’t help you to lose weight (if that is your goal), and is not good for you either. Starting the day with the right nutrients fuels you up for the day ahead and will make you less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack to boost your energy before lunch.
A lot has been made of making sure you eat 5 portions of fruit or veg a day – and for good reason. These types of food include the sorts of vitamins and minerals you need (not just as a teen, either!). These healthy and nutritious foods should be part of your everyday eating.
- Snack Healthily
Snacks can be a real problem – with plenty of money being spent on advertising and promoting sweets, chocolate bars, crisps, cakes, and other quick and easy options. These foods can be high in sugar and fats so need to be eaten with caution. Packed with calories, they can provide a quick energy boost, but it is better to opt for a healthier option, such as nuts or fruit. You might want to try having a few healthier snacks in your bag, to stop you being tempted to reach for a chocolate bar when you feel a bit peckish? You may even start a trend that will catch on with your friends in a positive way!
- Watch Your Calcium
Calcium is used to strengthen your teeth and bones, and is an important part of your diet – especially while you are growing. Milk and other dairy products will give you calcium, as will leafy green vegetables. Getting enough calcium now could help prevent problems later in life, such as osteoporosis (brittle bones).
- Get Some Iron
A lack of iron in your diet can leave you feeling tired and low on energy. This is a particular problem for teenage girls who will lose iron during their periods. You can get iron from quite a few different types of food, including red meat, breakfast cereal, bread, and green veg like spinach. Having enough energy is important for working at a high level and will make you more efficient, even as you use other techniques to keep you studying productively.
- Drink Some Water
You should be drinking six to eight glasses of water a day (or more depending on the weather), yet few of us actually do this. It is important to keep up your fluid levels to keep your body working properly while dehydration can leave you feeling tired or unwell. Other drinks like smoothies or fruit juice will contain lots of sugars so try not to drink more than one or two of these per day. Ultimately, water is hard to beat for keeping you hydrated.
- Avoid ‘Diets’
There are lots of diets out there that promise to help you lose weight or ‘get in shape for summer’ etc. These tend to involve cutting things out from your diet (which can mean a loss of important nutrients), and tend to focus on short-term results. It is much better to maintain a healthy diet all the time and get some exercise!
- Eating Disorders
Finally, we must mention eating disorders. They are a serious issue and so if you feel that eating is making you feel anxious, guilty, or upset you need to speak with someone and get some help. An eating disorder is not something you should try to deal with alone, so speak with a parent, your friends, a teacher, or your doctor to try and get some help.