Healthy food is most important ingredient in the overall health of a teen. It not only affects the physical development of teens, but has tremendous impact on their mental health too. And any physical weakness in teens due to inadequate food habits affects them throughout rest of the life . Therefore it is very important to have healthy diet during teen years for full development of body and mind.
Teens always enjoy the junk food which they consider more tasty than healthy food. Therefore, the trick is to make healthy food tasty and presentable to teens. This is the only way to inculcate in them the healthy eating habits.
ADVERSE EFFECT OF JUNK FOOD OR UNHEALTHY FOODING HABITS IN TEENS:
2. lack of energy (it leads to lethargy which in turn causes obesity)
3. lack of strength
4. inadequate brain development
5. weak bones
HOW TO PROMOTE HEALTHY EATING HABITS AMONG TEENS:
1. Keep regular dinner and breakfast time – eating together and eating healthy food may get teens to eat healthy food at least once a day. This habit will last long and they will get used to it.
2. Always have home cooked food – home cooked food tends to be healthier than outside food. And make them enjoyable by having some new items like desserts which teens usually enjoys.
3. Take healthy food in front of teens – and this way they will get the habit of eating healthy food. Never eat any junk food at least in front of teens at home .
4. Teach them – teach them the benefits of various nutritional values in food and how it positively affects them. Inculcate in them habit of reading food labels to determine the nutrition value of any item they buy at stores.
5. Give them fruit salad instead of snacks – giving them fruit will diminish their tendency to go for junk snack items.
6. Limit use of sugar – sugar can come in frozen foods, soft drinks, soups, ketchups and candies. Do not force total ban on them just limit their use. Total ban wlll encourage over indulgence later.
HEALTHY FOOD FOR TEENS:
1. Vegetables and Fruits of all kinds – give them two serving at least per day. Give fruit at the time of snacks and add vegetables to soups if teens don’t eat them with dinner or lunch. Make salad of fruits and carrot etc.
2. Whole grains – give them cakes, biscuits or breads made with whole grains. Make tasty items with whole grain as main ingredient. At least 4 servings.
3. Milk and dairy products – cheese, milk and yoghurt are the best items here and by adding honey or chocolate you can make them tasty for teens. At least twice in morning and evening servings should be there .
4. Non vegetarian food – eggs, red meat or turkey or lamb are good food.
5. Pulses – all kind of pulses, tentiles and beans should be cooked in home in dinner at least if teens do not take them in lunch when they are at school.
6. Nuts – add almond, walnuts or other dry fruits in desserts prepared at home if teens do not eat them standalone. Also add seeds of various fruits like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseed .
7. Never use supplements – Never use vitamin or protein supplements unless strongly recommended by doctors. Instead give them various above mentioned items which are full of vitamins, protein and other essential nutritional values.
REQUIREMENT OF CALORIES PER DAY FOR TEENS:
Boys need 2500 – 2800 mg calories per day.
Girls need 2200 mg calories per day
1. proteins – 45 to 60 grams per day for both girls and boys and make sure that it is from vegetables and fruits or non vegetarian food.
2. Calcium – 1200 grams for both boys and girls. It need to come from dairy products, cereals and leafy vegetables.
3. Iron – boys need 12 grams and girls 15 grams because girls lose some to menstruation period. Take iron from non-veg, leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains.
The most important consideration for parents is that they themselves need to follow the healthy food habits only then they can inculcate healthy food habit in teens .