Adolescence is a time of significant change. Therefore, it's essential to know the best nutritional advice for our teenagers to foster a healthy and balanced lifestyle that will endure over time. These tips will guide you and your child in making informed choices.
1. Adopt a Balanced Diet with Fresh Foods
A balanced diet includes a variety of foods from all food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breakfast cereals, lean proteins, dairy products, and healthy fats. Fresh and minimally processed foods provide a range of essential nutrients for growth and development.
2. Limit Ultra-Processed Foods and Junk Food
Foods high in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium, like ultra-processed foods, should be limited in your diet. This includes sugary drinks, fast foods, and packaged snacks.
3. Encourage a Balanced Diet with Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, including as many dark green and orange vegetables as possible, to achieve a balanced diet. If fresh fruits and vegetables are not available, you can always purchase frozen or canned ones and cook them. Their nutritional quality is valuable despite their processing.
4. Stay Well-Hydrated
Drink plenty of water and limit sugary drinks like sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juices. Note that energy drinks, coffee, and tea contain caffeine, which can disrupt sleep and energy levels in our teens. It's possible to flavor your water to help you drink more of it.
5. Don't Skip Meals
Have at least three meals a day, beginning with a nutritious breakfast. Skipping meals may lead to overeating later in the day or intense cravings, negatively impacting your energy level and concentration.
6. Consume Enough Protein
Proteins are vital for growth and tissue repair. Include protein sources such as lean meats, fish, poultry, legumes, tofu and its derivatives, nuts, and dairy products in your diet.
7. Choose Good Sources of Fat
Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats, found in processed products (bakery and pastry products, commercial fried foods made with vegetable fat, like fries and doughnuts) and animal sources. Opt for fats from foods like avocados, nuts, and vegetable oils instead.
8. Involve Your Teenager in Cooking
Ease the transition to independence by involving your child in meal planning and preparation. They will learn how to plan a menu, manage grocery shopping, choose fresh foods, and even cook recipes. This will help them understand the importance of healthy food processing and balanced eating.
9. Encourage Regular Physical Activity
In addition to a healthy and balanced diet, encourage your teenager to engage in regular physical activity. This will contribute to their overall well-being and help them maintain a healthy weight.
10. Consult a Nutritionist-Dietitian
Remember, it's important to consult a healthcare professional or a nutritionist-dietitian for personalized nutritional advice based on your needs and preferences.
By following these simple and tailored tips, you will help your teenager adopt a healthy and balanced lifestyle that will accompany them throughout their lives. The eating habits and lifestyle choices made during adolescence will have a significant impact on their long-term health and well-being.