Best Diets For Teenagers

Teens need regular nutrient-rich meals to keep their bodies fueled throughout the day. During adolescence, the human body undergoes rapid growth and development. This calls for optimal consumption of food for teenagers with both macro and micronutrients. A proper diet with apt nutrition is the key to excelling in academics and athletics is the best diets for teenagers.

A perfectly balanced diet might sound like a trivia to uncover for parents. However, keeping control of the types, quantities, and timing of food can get your teen closer to an ideal diet. It also boils down to estimating how many calories a teenager needs. Replacing the food with high sugar content, exercising regularly, controlling the intake of cholesterol, and consuming healthy fats are things to consider. You can start the course by setting a list of good vegetables and fruits to consume.

Fruits and vegetables

best diets for teenagers

Eating at least half a plate each of fruits and vegetables is very important for a teen. Go for dark green, red and orange colors when choosing vegetables. These have high levels of nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium, fiber, carbohydrates, etc. When nothing comes to mind, a teenager can snack on some spinach and tomatoes. After a few days, substitute these with other greens available in the fridge. Parents need to ensure that the teen is not just eating the veggies and fruits but also enjoying them. 

Some good recipes for increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables and devise the best diets for teenagers are:

  • Beetroot and cheese salad
  • Mixed salad
  • Leafy green salads- including additions such as spinach, lettuce, etc.
  • Roasted chickpea salad
  • Vegetable pasta
  • Banana oatmeal
  • Fruit juices and shakes
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Green herbs-infused waters

Grains

best diets for teenagers

Being rich in proteins, grains are one of the most important meals for teenagers. Whole grains are better as they contain fewer fats and more proteins. Teens can look up options such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, or whole wheat bread. Avoid unhealthy grains such as white bread, refined-grain cereals, and wheat rice. These often lead to high cholesterol levels and cause fat accumulation in the body.

A major advantage of adding grains is the introduction of good taste in the meal. Once a teen develops a liking, they will snack on grains regularly. Furthermore, whole grains are filling and one can have them as a whole for lunch or breakfast. Grains also act as natural base ingredients for salads, soups, and other healthy dishes.

Some of the healthier grain recipes with food and nutrition for class 4 students and teenagers include:

  • Whole grain salads with marinated mushrooms
  • Farro salad with roasted vegetables, beans, and lentils
  • Stir-fried Farro with kale, and egg
  • Broccoli, feta, and tomatoes Skillet Barley
  • Tomato, herbs, and Cucumber Quinoa Salad
  • Vegan Quinoa with broccoli, and kale curry
  • Celery salad with carrot, celery, and almonds
  • Whole grain salad with fennel, onion, and Arugula
  • Pancetta pasta with kale and tomato
  • Sesame noodles

Grains also help create an effective diet plan for students to lose weight fast.

Proteins and iron

food for teenagers

Proteins are essential for brain and cell development during adolescence. The most important diet options to consider include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, legumes, and nuts. If a teenager follows a vegan routine, they can vouch for pulses, baked beans, lentils, and seeds.

Proteins help regain stamina and build muscle. They are important for teenagers as they need to be physically fit and gather energy regularly. Snacks rich in proteins can help teenagers stay full for a longer time. Research shows that protein needs in teens are 20 to 60 % more than in adults. This is due to the higher demand for protein in adolescents’ bodies.

Iron is an essential micronutrient that helps form red blood cells in a teenager’s body. These cells carry oxygen and help our body in fighting against diseases. During their teenage years, girls experience the onset of menses which causes blood loss. Iron fulfills that gap and empowers the body to keep on producing more blood to compensate for the blood loss. Even in boys, lack of iron can lead to an anemic condition, a malnutrition disease characterized by breath shortness and tiredness.

Proteins help in muscle growth and new cell formation. When teenagers don’t consume enough proteins daily they can experience a halt in weight and height parameters. A study found out that teenagers need more protein to help their bodies show optimum growth during puberty. Teenage boys need 52 grams of proteins each day and the teenage body requires 46 grams daily. Taking balanced protein is also an important part of a diet plan for a teenager to lose weight. 

Parents can easily indulge their children in home-made protein-rich diets such as:

  • Peanut butter with a jelly sandwich
  • Veg burger
  • Meatballs in soup with pasta
  • Fruits with yogurt – parfrait
  • Chicken or mutton pasta
  • Grilled fish sandwich
  • Beans stew or soup
  • Lentils pasta with a green salad
  • Peanut butter with apple slices

Dairy products

best diets for teenagers

Dairy products are a resourceful food for teenagers to get calcium, iron, and other vitamins required by a teenager’s body. When you consume milk and its related substitutes, you build strong bones. Do make sure that teenagers develop a habit of taking only low-fat and fat or cholesterol-free dairy products. For teenagers who cannot digest lactose, the sugar content of the milk can lead to pain in the abdomen or gastric issues. Hence, for such teenagers, it’s best to have lactose-free milk. These are easily available in the market. One can also go for soya milk which has added calcium content. Having fat-free milk products or low-fat yogurt is also a good source of calcium and vitamins.

Unlike other meals, one can consume dairy food as a side snack with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One can have a glass of milk, an egg, or a simple cheese snack with the main meal. Including dairy makes for the the best diets for teenagers.

Some of the interesting dairy side-snack include:

  • Cheese and fruits salads
  • Milkshakes
  • Cheese and corn salad
  • Cheese sandwich
  • Milk and fruit smoothies
  • Protein and milkshakes
  • Fresh yogurt
  • Mozzarella cheese sandwich

Fats

Fats are important for teens as they need them to develop mass and regain their lost lean muscle strength. They are known to keep the skin of teenagers healthy and glowing. Fats also play an essential role in keeping our hair healthy. However, most diet routines do not mention fats as the main ingredients. This is because they contain more calories in each gram than carbs or proteins. Some fats are not at all healthy.

But this doesn’t mean that teenagers should cut on fats entirely. Having good fat in a limited amount is the key to good health and constitutes the the best diets for teenagers.

Generally, fats that turn into liquid at room temperature are good for our bodies. One can use these plant oil-based fats in various cooking recipes. Some of the foods that contain a whole amount of good fats include olives, nuts, lean meat seeds, salmon or tuna fish, and avocados. One should avoid fats like fried junk food, breaded fish, chicken nuggets, pastries, cakes, muffins, pizzas, chips, popcorn, etc.

It is interesting to note that some solid-state fats become liquid at room temperature. These include stick margarine, lard, butter, etc. These items are full of trans and saturated fats that are unhealthy for everyone. Some other foods in this category include fatty meats, whole milk dairy products, cheese, chicken, and fries.

Here are a few good fat diet options for teenagers:

  • Gluten-free home-made cakes or pastries
  • Strawberry parfait
  • Unsaturated butter sandwich
  • Peanut butter banana smoothie
  • Red meats
  • Sweet potatoes oats
  • Nut and seeds salads
  • Sprouts salad
  • Salmon and oily fish
  • Avocado sandwiches
  • Avocado pickles
  • Mac and cheeseburger

Important tips for healthy eating

Teenagers love to munch different foods the entire day. By following some easy lifestyle habits, parents can ensure that they are eating right and it does not slow down their growth. Here are some tips to follow the best diets for teenagers.

  • For mid meals, go for fruits or salads instead of chips or burgers. Try having a banana, pear, or apple. One can also have any other fruit or vegetable that appeals to the taste buds.
  • Food for teenagers should not have inclusions such as candies, frozen desserts, frits, or cookies. These contain an ample amount of artificial sugar with salt and unhealthy fat.
  • Avoid adding sugar to drinks, milk, or other juices. Avoid pre-made sugary drinks such as soda or soft drinks.
  • Stay hydrated all time. Increase the amount of water intake.
  • Always go for milk that is low in fat.
  • Don’t skip meals for too long. Eat 3 meals a day with healthy snacking in between
  • Try to increase your fiber diet. This can be done by consuming more fruits, salts, and cereals
  • Eat balanced meals that are neither too high nor too low in any particular content. If you consume an extra amount of nutrients, balance it by cutting it off in the next meal.
  • Avoid intermediate fasting or strict dieting routines as this will make the adolescent body lack essential nutrients.
  • Cut down on consuming high cholesterol food such as heavy gravies or deep fried eatables.
  • Go for lean cuts when eating chicken or fish. Avoid having red meat whenever possible.

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