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Fitness & Wellness

A Teenager’s Nutritional Needs

A teenager’s nutritional needs are different from their parents and even different from younger children in the family. I see so many teens in Louisville, KY that are consuming junk food for their primary meals and wonder whether they even know what constitutes a healthy meal. It wouldn’t be unusual to find they don’t, many adults don’t have that knowledge either. As a parent, you probably have very little control over what your child eats when he or she is away from home, but you can control what they eat at home.

Help your teen with an outline of a menu that will guide him or her.

Don’t over complicate things with a specific menu. Make it general. Teach your child about portion size and how much they need of each type of food. For teens, three meals a day and two snacks a day are important. It should contain two servings of fruit and three of vegetables with three and a half servings of dairy, which includes cheese and milk—throughout the day. The amount of protein necessary for teens is based on age, body weight and activity level. You can estimate it by multiplying the body weight by 0.43 to get the number of grams. A 100 pound boy would need about 43 grams a day. It should also contain whole grains and healthy fat. The more active the teen, the more protein is necessary.

Help the teen develop healthy habits when it comes to what they drink.

Too often soft drinks are a big part of a teens daily calorie intake. These are loaded with sugar and slightly acidic, so they cause damage to the teeth. Don’t have soft drinks available in the house. Instead, have bottled water. An active teen needs about 9 to 14 cups of water a day to help keep joints lubricated, keep a healthier complexion—pimple free—and regulate body temperatures. It’s a huge beauty aids for teenage girls and can help with weight loss, improve skin and hair.

Focus your encouragement on things that are important to the teen, rather than just good health.

There’s a lot to gain from eating healthy. The ability to think clearer and get better grades, a better complexion, improved athletic performance, weight loss and silky smooth hair. Find what’s important to your teen and identify healthy foods that will be beneficial to what they think is important. Staying healthy and living longer isn’t what most teens are concerned about, but a pimple free complexion is.

  • Keep fresh fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator, cut up and ready to eat. If it’s easy and right in front of them, most teens will opt for healthy food.
  • Keep junk food out of the house. There’s no reason you need potato chips and cookies in the house. Not only will your teen eat them, you will too.
  • Add family activities that get everyone moving if your teen is sedentary. Regular exercise is important for everyone. It builds confidence, improves coordination, endurance, strength and transforms a body.
  • When your teen starts eating healthier, you’ll not only notice a difference in how they look, you’ll notice a difference in their energy and mood.

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