A Teenager's Nutritional Needs
The teenage years are one of the most important years in a human’s life. It is one of the first phases where the human body goes through physical changes while developing into an adult. And, it's not just physical but it's also mental. Teenagers who are growing and also have puberty around the corner don't really understand how their bodies are changing so fast. They feel ashamed, they go into a shell, sometimes they don't like themselves and it has a domino effect with their emotions being encouragement of it.
Now, for a body to develop into a healthy, grown version of itself- the intake of nutrition at this age is key. If you want the body to develop correctly, it is extremely essential that you feed the body with all its requirements. We know that teenagers at this phase are moody, they think they know what they want and they think they know themselves the best. But, like how Mother Gothel from Tangled said “Mother knows best”. So, if your teenage kid is growing at the speed of light, these are the nutritional needs they MUST comply with.
- Calorie Intake- Even before children reach the teenage- pre-puberty phase, their appetite is equivalent to that of king kong. They have a surge of hunger- The average child around the age of 10-12 (10 for girls & 12 for boys) needs around 2200 - 2800 calories per day.
- Eat your greens! Not just greens but also oranges and reds because these vegetables are high in nutritional value giving you fibre, calcium, and vitamin C! If your child is not a fan of vegetables, a smoothie is the best way to feed them these nutrients. If they can't see the vegetable in its natural form, it is easier to trick them into consuming it!
- Wholegrain- Yes oatmeal, brown rice & whole wheat bread are also a good addition to your child’s diet. Teens need 170 grams of whole grain every day. Now, oats may not appeal to the fussy and moody child so, what you could try is Oatmeal -Italiano which is an Italian-styled pasta but made from oats! Or, you can give them Dark Chocolate Oatmeal for breakfast which seems more up their alley!
- Fat Intake should be limited. Switch to unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats. Saturated fats are those found in items like ghee and butter. Unsaturated fats are those that come from plants that improve blood cholesterol levels. Now, unsaturated fats that are healthy are corn, sunflower, olives & in terms of meat- salmon. Even nuts and seeds are very good unsaturated fats. 7-in-1 Superseeds mix is also one way to get high protein and high fiber in a snap of a finger
- Avoid added sugars- No matter how long your child gives you the puppy eyes, don't give in. Avoid buying them sugary drinks like cola, desserts, ice creams, or anything else that is not naturally sweet but is processed to be. Sugar will give them added calories, but it doesn't have any good nutrients or fiber. Give them something rather more natural like yogurt that will help build their bones. Give them an orange to eat since it does contain vitamin D and keeps the bone healthy. Give them a banana to manage blood pressure. Peanut butter and eggs to give them protein and make sure they are fit as a fiddle. Peas, beans, spinach for iron if you rely on plant-based meal
Now, apart from just food consumption, there are other important factors that one needs to keep in mind for healthier and better growth of your teen. Do make them consume milk, although they might revolt saying they are not a baby anymore. Keep them moving- encourage sports and general activities that can help their muscles function well- swimming, running, cycling, football, let them go out in the sun ( To get some natural vitamin D) and play than stay home on some video game. Because moving around and releasing the happy hormone reduces the risk your teenagers could have to chronic diseases related to the heart or even type 2 diabetes.
Your child’s health is in your hands. For your child to grow up and be naturally more healthy without any relying on supplements will only happen if the body has received all the nutrients it needed while growing and if the routine is up to date. Health is always a priority and an uncompromisable one at that. Therefore, ensure you give your child what they need so that they can become strong healthy individuals that lead the future of our country. It's only if they learn to value the need of healthy, natural and unprocessed food that the following generation will be able to make better choices while having a sea full of processed foods at their disposal.
The choices you make today are the decisions your child makes tomorrow!
Stay Healthy, Stay Mindful and Stay True To Your Families!
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