The teenage years of one’s life are the most crucial as these years are the time of rapid growth and development. In order to achieve this perfect growth, a healthy, balanced diet is essential. Generally, young people have large appetites and it is necessary to have well-balanced meals. Consuming junk foods, which are unhealthy to the core, can plant the seeds of many long-term illnesses.
So, to ensure that your teenage child gets proper nutrition, we have come up with the best healthy foods for teens that will have you covered.
What are the healthy foods for teens?
Maintaining a balanced diet is necessary besides maintaining a healthy diet. Keep a check on how much they eat of whatever they are eating. A healthy balanced diet should consist of the following food items:
• Vegetables and fruits
• Dairy products
• Enough proteins like beans, pulses, eggs, fish, meat, etc.
• Starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, bread and pasta
• Beneficial oils and cheese spreads
Benefits of these healthy foods for teens:
• Fruits & Vegetables – Fruits and vegetables help prevent most diseases, especially heart diseases. These foods also keep away cancer. Doctors suggest eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetable each every day. Dried fruits or smoothies can also be given to the teens if they don’t like to eat fruits directly.
• Dairy Products – Milk, dairy foods and other such alternatives provide calcium, vitamins A, D, and B12, protein and even fat. All these elements are essential in building a healthy body, strengthening of bones and muscle functioning. Try to choose low fat milk or cheese to effectively get the healthy elements while cutting out on the unnecessary ones.
• Proteins – Proteins are the major building blocks of a body. Since the teenage years are the years of growth, giving enough proteins to a teenage body is essential. So, before choosing any healthy foods for teens do check if it is high on proteins or not.
• Carbohydrates – Foods full of starch like bread, rice and pasta are a good source of fibre, vitamin B and energy. It is advisable to choose wholegrain foods to give the essential nutrients to the body. Also, they help prevent constipation, reduce the risk of heart diseases and protect from carcinogens.
• Oils and spreads- You many tend to think that these are just the sources of fat, but it is important to note that even oils can be beneficial for the body. The best are unsaturated oils like sunflower and rapeseed oil.
What foods should a teenager avoid?
The teenage years being the growth years, shark and swordfish should be kept away. These fish contain high levels of mercury than other fish and children below the age of 16 years are advised not to consume them. The high levels of mercury can affect a person’s nervous system and damage them for life.
Foods containing saturated fat, salt or sugar or foods containing high level of fat should be consumed only in low amounts and on rare occasions.
Even vegetarian or vegan diets can turn out to be healthy foods for teens, given the fact that the diet contains enough amount of protein, vitamins, iron, calcium and other minerals that are necessary for a teen’s growth.
When a teenager or a person in general, avoids meat and animal protein, extra attention should be paid to make sure that the body gets what it needs in the right amounts.
Teenagers following a vegan diet should also pay extra attention to ensure the proper intake of vitamin B12 and riboflavin as these are generally found in animal sources. So, you can also consider taking supplements foe these, but make sure to visit a doctor before introducing a growing body to artificial sources of food.
To sum up…
It is important to have knowledge about healthy foods for teens, but at the same time, it is also important to keep in mind that a healthy body requires enough exercise. Maintaining a diet and supplying enough proteins and vitamins won’t do the trick. Keep your body fit and healthy by exercising for at least 30 minutes every day. This way, a fit and young teenager can grow up to be a perfectly healthy person.