Due to a high rate fo growth and development that takes place during teenage years, nutrition is so important. Healthy eating and physical activity for teenages are the foundation for life long health and well-being.
Here are 10 Top Tips for Teenagers when it comes to making food choices:
1. Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. Make sure to start the day with cereal, eggs, toast or a smoothie to help maximise energy levels. This Poached Egg with Bacon and Avocado on toast is the perfect option. In a hurry? Why not make a make ahead breakfast bowl?
2. Smart Snacking. Snacking is important to get teenagers through their busy day. Choose healthy snacks such as fresh or dried fruit, popcorn, yoghurt or nutes. Why not give these Strawberry and Oat Cereal bars a try?
3. Importance of Iron. Many Irish teenagers, especially girls, don't get enough iron. This can lead to a sluggish feeling, effecting the ability to concentrate and perform at maximum capacity. Lean red meat should be included in the diet 3-4 times a week to retain adequate iron levels. Why not try these delicious Burgers with Melted Cheese and Tomato Salsa that the whole family will love.
4. Protein Packed. Protein is essential for muscle growth and bone development. This is why protein should be included in each meal by choosing lean meat, fish, eggs, beans, milk, yoghurt or cheese.
5. 5-7 Servings of Fruit and Veg. More fruit and veg can be included in the diet by adding vegetables to stir-fries and curries and by choosing fruit as a daily snack. Smoothies are also a great way to get your fruit and veg.
6. Delicious Dairy. Teenagers should aim to consume 5 servings of dairy each day by including things such as milk, yoghurt and cheese into their diet. This Strawberry Smoothie is a perfect way to increase dairy to your diet.
7. Hydration is Key. Water is so important for teenagers in order to avoid dehydration. Lack of water can affect concentration levels, making it extremely difficult to study. Buying a good reusable water bottle is the best way to track water intake and ensures teenagers are getting the levels of water needed.
8. Ace your Exams. Healthy meals and snacks are key for providing brain power for exams. This along with adequate hydration, regular exercise and a good night's sleep will ensure you pass with flying colours.
9. Plenty of Variety. Variety is key to healthy eating. Experiment and try new foods to add some excitement to your diet.
10. Ditch the Fad Diets. Don't take diet advice from people who are not qualified to give it! Use the healthy eating pyramid below to guide you. The Food Pyramid is an excellent guide for teenagers to ensure they are eating a well and balanced diet.
The Food Pyramid
Healthy eating is essential for good health and is achieved by eating a balanced diet. To ensure your body gets all the nutrients it requires you should combine a variety of foods from each of the main food groups.
The following foods should make up the majority of a balanced diet:
- Fruit & Veg. Make sure to include lots of colour on the plate by choosing bright coloured fruit and vegetables. Not only are these filling and low in calories, but they also provide many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which have a huge range of health benefits.
- Wholegrain Foods. The best carbohydrates are the ones higher in Fibre. Choose high fibre and low sugar breakfast cereals, wholemeal and wholegrain bread, rolls and wraps, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and potatoes with their skins.
- Dairy. If you are watching your weight choose low-fat dairy produce as they contain the same calcium content as higher fat versions.
- Protein Foods. Choose lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, eggs, peas and beans for at least 2 of your daily meals
Delicious served with some extra salad and potato wedges.
Packed full of flavour.
Super quick and tasty and perfect as part of any meal or even as a healthy snack.
Quick, tasty and something different.
A favourite for all the family.
The content in this section is taken and/or adapted from accredited and reputable sources for nutritional and health information such as the HSE, INDI, SafeFood and FSAI
For support groups for teens who might have an eating disorder.
For factsheets on all areas of diet and contact details for qualified dietitians.
For detailed information of the Food Pyramid.
For tips on increasing your activity.
For food safety advice and guidance, including advice on nutritional aspects of various foods i.e. lunchbox guide, portion size guide and 101 square meals recipe book.
For fact sheets on sports performance and diet.