If you are a teenager or parent of a teenager, then without a doubt, diet woes are a big part of your life. Teenage hormone rage, onset of puberty and mood swings make things even worse for them in their diet plan. Then there is the peer pressure to look thin and combined with all the anxiety of school work and the teen life, this can manifest into poor eating habits, eating disorders and other health problems. Here are a few tips for a healthy teen diet.
Know your Calorie Needs
Every body type is different and therefore food requirement for each individual is different as well. The daily calorie intake differs due to factors such as metabolic rate of the body, level of activities, age, physical health, emotional health etc. Teen diet plans must be made by taking into consideration each individual’s unique needs.
Due to puberty, some girls can have unexpected weight gain. This doesn’t mean that they need to go on extreme dieting plan. In fact, this is the time when a teen body needs healthy meals to aid in the growth. Teenage boys have different energy needs than teen girls. Those who play sports might need more calories. Teen girls also have to eat foods rich in iron to compensate for the blood loss during their menstrual period. Eat well and healthy for a teenage diet that will help you lose weight if you need to and maintain your weight if that is your plan.
Eat your Breakfast
Missing out on fueling the body with healthy foods is not doing teens any favors in the diet department. A healthy diet for a teenager must include balanced meals during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Teens might be under the impression that skipping meals especially breakfast might lead to some weight loss. But doing so will only make you crave foods rich in fats and carbohydrates later in the day, and you might actually end up eating more than you might have if you had eaten a healthy breakfast. Good diets for teens mean a balance of nutrient-rich foods in every meal.
- Opt for homemade breakfast such as omelet with vegetables or porridge with nuts and fruits.
- If packaged cereal is your choice, then fortify them further with fruits and dried fruits and eat them with low-fat milk. Eat breakfast even if sugar-rich cereal is your choice.
- Wholegrain sandwiches with cheese and vegetables are good options for breakfast as well as for evening snacks. Also try whole-wheat buns and breads with different low-sugar jams and peanut or almond butter.
Gorge on Fruits and Vegetables
Teenagers might gawk at the word ‘gorge’ used for vegetables but yes, this is possible with some creative tweaks even if you don’t like your veggies raw. But more importantly, if you are sincere about losing that extra weight or even maintaining your svelte figure then fruits and vegetables should be a part of your healthy eating plan. This can be best diet for teens – way better than skipping meals.
- Teens or their parents can make healthy salads to eat with every meal. Sweet fruit salad or spicy pepper salad or even a green salad with cucumber, cherry tomatoes and lettuce leaves can be made tasty using herbs, spices and dressings made with vinegar and lemon juice.
- Manage your cravings. One of the best teenage dieting tips is to prepare and stock healthy food in advance. Low-fat dressing for sandwiches and salads stored in the refrigerator is a good idea for teens of working parents who make their own after-school or pre-diner snacks. Teenagers are likely to eat healthy foods if easily available and something they can eat without much fuss like cooking time or cutting vegetables.
- Need a snack for your televisions time? Then eat some roasted or raw carrots or any vegetable of your liking with low fat yogurt dip made with herbs and spices.
Go Easy on Refined Foods
Part of losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight for life is to eat everything in moderation. This helps in eliminating any cravings that might derail your healthy eating habits. Portion control is something that can help teens to eat healthy later in their life as well. Sugary sodas and refined flour treats such as cookies, burgers, pizza and buns sure feel good but they pack in empty calories and the refined sugar not only converts to fats but also harms the teeth.
- If you crave sweet drinks then fruit juices are better options than sodas. But try eating juicy fruits instead, chances are your craving for sugary drinks will also satiate. Chill the fruits before eating if you like your liquids really cool. The idea is to make the fruit or even fruit juice satisfy the need for soda and in time completely eliminate it.
- Learn to read labels to avoid consuming excess sugar and salt disguised as fancy scientific names. If you are so concerned about your healthy teen diet that you are willing to skip meals, then instead go online and learn what the ingredients in your favorite supermarket foods mean and then make wise food choices. Low-fat diets are almost always extremely high in their sodium content, which is not good for health.
A good idea to spend some quality family time is, go on parents-kids grocery shopping trips once in a while. Teens can check the labels on the food items; make their own food selection and learn to stock healthy foods. For those parents who are looking for easy diets for teens this can be an ideal time to learn about your teenagers’ food likes and dislikes and educate them and yourself about healthy food choices and gradually bring about a lifestyle shift.
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