Healthy Eating Plans For Teenagers

Healthy Eating Plans For Teenagers

There are some ‘helpful’ medical web pages on healthy eating plans for teenagers that try and tailor their diet advice to their younger audience but end up being rather simplistic, offering advice that pretty much relates to anyone and that you will have heard hundreds of times before:

If so-called responsible adults find these standard pieces of advice difficult to stick to then there is little point in robotically relaying them to teens, especially when you have your own specific dietary issues to consider.

While it is true that there are many teenagers that are dangerously overweight and in need of guidance on nutrition and healthy eating, it can be just as dangerous to start endorsing specific diets. Dieting and any deliberate attempt to lose weight places a lot of stress on teenagers which is completely unnecessary, especially if you are already dealing with body confidence issues or peer pressure.

This is where eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia can rear their ugly heads. Dietary substitutions for better health, energy levels and general well-being are a much more beneficial approach.

anorexia or bulimia in teenagers

Here we will try and teach you about some of the more helpful healthy eating habits for teens, such as key vitamins and minerals that you may have deficiencies in and meal planning, to give you some more practical advice.

Potential deficiencies that could affect a teenage diet…

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D

Iron is a mineral that is especially important for teenage girls. Your teenage lethargy is not always a case of attitude, despite what some adults say, because many girls can feel run down due to a lack of iron. These levels can alter significantly during your menstrual cycle and this may be something that you are still getting used to.

Red meat is the traditional approach to increased iron levels but this isn’t always the ideal source if you are more drawn to processed meat and fast food than a prime cut of beef. There are breakfast cereals that are now forcibly fortified with iron, along with some other minerals and vitamins, but it might be worth simply supplementing a diet with iron tablets. As for that calcium for those growing bones, this is easily fixed with milk, yogurt and other dairy goods.

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Important Meal Planning For Teenagers


When you are a teenager you are at a tricky age; old enough to go out and buy all the unhealthy snacks and fast food you might want on a weekend or lunch break but young enough to still be at school and need some supervision with meals. If you have the focus and drive to enjoy the following healthy eating habits for teens, you can then enjoy a much healthier, more beneficial diet and hopefully see the rewards.

  • A strong, energy rich breakfast
  • A healthy lunch
  • A balanced dinner

Breakfast can be tricky because many teens, yourself probably included, feel the urge to rush out the door without sitting down with their siblings but if you can start the day with a good breakfast you could not only take in many of those key nutrients mentioned above but also stop yourself from feeling tired and uninspired in the classroom.

It is important to be able to focus in your morning lessons to pass those upcoming exams and a simple bowl of fortified cereal or some yogurt and berries can make a surprising difference. Lunchtime is when you really have to be committed to this new regime because the school cafeteria is not always a haven of healthy eating.

Breakfast

Where possible, take a packed lunch so you can be sure of healthier options in your sandwiches and maybe some fruit. Also, try and get involved in that aspect of the food shopping so your parents can understand which foods are best for you and which you would actually enjoy eating – the more enjoyable a healthy eating diet is the easier it is to stick to.

This approach also applies to dinner and if you can try new vegetables and recipes with non-processed meats you can have a meal that is delicious, unusual and beneficial for your health.

 


Does This Mean no Junk Food?


Junk food and fast food are bad for you but if your goal is simply to eat healthier and ensure that you have a more balanced diet, a little bit is OK as long as you balance it with the good stuff.

Some chocolate or crisps as a treat at the end of the school week is a nice little reward but on a daily basis they can mess up your energy levels and increase the chances of weight gain if you rely on them everyday.

Junk food and teenagers

Also, you don’t want to have to keep saying no if your friends all want to meet up and eat at a fast food joint. If they are keen to join you in your new healthy eating regime it could be fun to try out a different sandwich or salad bar but if they are set on the usual burgers and chips you could be slightly healthier by saying yes to the salad and gherkins, no to the cheese and swapping the sugary soda for juice or water.

A healthy teenage diet takes focus but it doesn’t have to be a punishment…

A successful healthy eating regime always comes down to discipline and a drive to see the benefits so it is best to focus on making changes where they are most practical, to try to make the new diet a bit more fun and not to be too hard on yourself.

If you work at this approach to energy-rich meal planning, get more involved in food choices and cooking and make small changes with the nutrients you take in and the fast food you eat, you should find that healthy eating plans for teenagers are both manageable and beneficial.

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36 thoughts on “Healthy Eating Plans For Teenagers

  1. This is a wonderful article and I hope it will reach my teenagers.

    It is true that good eating habits will begin when you are a teenager and they will often stick with you. And if a teenager has very unhealthy eating habits they are more prone to dealing with diabetes and obesity down the road. It also begins with their role models. If the parents are always overeating and gorging on junk food, the kids will learn bad habits from the parents. And you are right about the school lunches not being a haven for healthy food.

    Great article.

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Yes the parents have a BIG role to play in the foods teenagers choose to eat. I was lucky in that my parents were very strict with evening meals – we would all sit around the table as a family and nobody would leave until all the greens were cleared off their plate ( caused many an argument but I’m thankful now! ).

  2. This is a great website filled with excellent information. It is so important for people to begin to be more aware of what they are putting into their bodies. Not just when it comes to the appearance but as well as internally. I really enjoy how you include the change of our bodies, it plays such a large role in female adolescents and of course this has to happen during the most important stage of young lives. I plan to be a repeat visitor here, so keep the information coming!

    I also really like the fact that you include a list of examples for each appetite curbing group as many people don’t always know what falls under what category 🙂

  3. It’s so great that your healthy eating blog is targeting a very clear audience. I think teenagers in particular can get lost in the whirlpool of healthy lifestyle advice, but having a website such as yours, targeting their specific needs is highly needed. I really like your content layout and the way you’ve broken it up, particularly by anticipating a common question such as “does this mean no junk food?” Also the way you’ve bolded certain key elements of the post mean that as a reader, I can skim the post, and these will catch my attention and draw in a stronger level of engagement.

    Thanks for all those great tips. Keep writing!

  4. Hi Chris
    This is an excellent article! I’m impressed with the way you give teenagers the ‘benefit of the doubt’ and don’t talk down to them. Fact is, as you pointed out, we parents are so ‘totally over it’ and ‘off the planet’ (roll my eyes) that any website for teenagers needs to ‘speak their language’.
    Thankfully, most of my kids decided young enough that they wanted to be healthy and all of them eat pretty well. I wonder how many teenage eating disorders are actually a result of parents ‘trying too hard’ when they are little, to force them to eat. I know we made that mistake with our eldest – tried to be ‘good parents’ and make him eat. Being completely independent and determined, he fought back as only 2 year olds can! By the time we got to number 2, we’d given up and never forced her to eat anything. She ended up eating everything in sight – pickles, vegetables, curries – the more grown-up it was, the more she wanted to eat it! I’ve tried to advocate the same thing to my daughters now – don’t force them and they look after their own appetites (within reason – it’s no use offering junk food and expecting them to develop good eating habits!)
    Well done – valuable information, well-presented and interesting.
    Cheers
    Ellie from WA
    P.S. Got a bit carried away there – sorry!

    1. LOL that’s OK Ellie – great comments like this help the content we publish evolve and start up conversation 🙂
      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your opinion with us!

  5. Hello there! Thank you for this amazing post.
    As a teenager I had a pretty well balanced nutrition rich in vegetables and fruit. Unfortunately many young people today due to their hectic schedules don’t have time to eat properly and rather consume foods that are high in fat and sugar while this is the time when they need more nutrients than ever.
    This is a very informative post that would help a lot of people understand what their diet should be like.
    Thank you for taking the time to write this!

    1. Hi Katerina,
      Yeah I’m afraid the lifestyles and work commitments of most young people these days lead to bad eating habits – sad but true!

  6. What a brilliant post- it’s so nice to hear someone speaking in teenager language. You’re right, most teenagers don’t want to be told what to do and how to eat, so I think you’re wise in not trying to lecture them. I know that when I was that age I would have ignored anyone telling me what to eat!
    Thanks for the great read, it was really insightful and there are a lot of points that I’d like to implement, too.
    Chloe

    1. Yep! We’ve all been there haven’t we Chloe 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and giving our post the once over – look forward to seeing you here again soon!

  7. Healthy eating plans for teenagers, does that word exist.
    Thanks for a very informative article,especially for parents of teenagers.
    Most teens are obsessed with loosing weight no matter at what cost.
    You have laid out plans for breakfast lunch and dinner all healthy, but it`s a challenge to get teenagers to have any breakfast at all.
    You are right, teenager diet takes focus and should not be a punishment.
    Thanks wonderful post to parents of teenagers who face difficulty doing the right thing.

    1. Thanks Roamy,
      It definitely sounds like you are a parent of a teenager yourself! I’m afraid modern culture often dictates how youngsters should look and act – far too many of them are fasting without any real reason behind it ( peer pressure, celebrities etc. ). Thanks for stopping by and leaving your opinion on the subject.

  8. This article is awesome namely because healthy eating plans are for teenagers too. All too often we focus on healthy eating for adults. But you establish best practices as a teenager. And the best gift a parent or guardian can give a teen is teaching them how to make healthier choices. And it doesn’t mean they have to feel punished or deprived. There are so many choices that you outline here that are good and full of nutrition too.

    1. Hi there Tiffany!
      You’re right – getting nutrition in place as a teenager will only help you stay healthy as you get older. Glad you enjoyed reading the article 🙂

  9. Hi!
    Really nice post, my kids will become teenagers soon so it’s really nice ot see some info on how to balance the food our kids eat. We go to McDonalds once per year, otherwise we eat food from our garden and buy meat form local farmer that I know.
    How about the food with GMO? There’s a topic for you, I hate Monsanto with all my heart, I watched a documentary and I’m shocked!
    Please do some research about that, people need to know what to avoid, this causes tumors and cancer etc…
    And also the Nestle CEO, he said that WATER is a privilege not a human right…I hope he suffers form thirst in the desert and then I would ask him: “Is water a privilege or human right”….sorry not a topic here but still…cheers

  10. I thought this was a really interesting article. I have a 4 year old girl, so she is no where here yet, but even now she still eats very little. I see it coming, having been a teenage girl myself, and to instil good eating habits now is key. You have given me some good tips and I have shared your article on Google plus. Thanks!

  11. So many teens do not eat properly. They don’t eat for nourishment and energy. Most kids are drinking soda and eating fast food. The Standard American Diet is awful. I was an overweight teen who struggled to get weight off. I did the opposite of eating the wrong foods. I went the starvation route. Most of my life since then i have struggled with eating right. Now as a woman in her 40’s, shhh! Don’t tell!, I am finally making better choices. Undoing 40 years of bad habits is hard. Now I eat at least three meals a day, I have since stopped eating sugar. You would not believe how much sugar is in our foods. The weight is falling off. 40 lbs gone so far. And the best way to lose weight is eat food. But I mean real food, not scrap these kids eat.

    1. HI there Kristie,

      Congratulations on your weight loss success – it’s great to hear that you’ve changed your lifestyle around and are aiming at healthier options now! 40lbs is an awesome start – don’t give up 🙂

  12. The teenage years are a tricky time for many things in life, and diet is one that is becoming more obvious these days. There is a lot of temptation everywhere for young people to eat the wrong foods and parents are not always aware of some of the foods their teenage kids are consuming.

    Parents do play a big part in eating habits over the years leading up to the teen years, and does have an influence good or bad.

    This is good information and that is what is needed for young people to understand that a diet does not have to be strict, but just have a good balance. Of course exercise plays a big part too, thanks

    Rob

  13. Great article and I’ll be sure to share this with my son, he’s been trying to lean out for track season and is in need of a little nutritional guidance. With football season over for him, he no longer needs the excess calories to get him through the day, but getting him to break this habit will be a challenge! Thank you for sharing.

  14. Hello,

    Many of us a few decades removed from out teenage years remember our super metabolisms we had when we were teenagers. It seemed many of us could eat pretty much what we wanted and not gain weight. However, in many respects the world has changed since then and I think it is more challenging for teenagers today, especially in regard to diet and weight gain.

    Fast food is a much larger part of the average teenagers diet today for one thing. Not that fast food wasn’t available but most people ate meals at home the majority of the time. Plus, nobody I knew started drinking 32 ounce sodas at 6:00 am with a refill at lunch and another in the afternoon. Is it because we had better willpower? No, we benefited because there were fewer unhealthy choices available to many teens at that time.

    I wish you had talked more about how several 32 ounce sodas daily could destroy their chances to avoid weight gain.

    Sincerely,

    Xin

    1. Well there was only so much we could fit into the article mate! Besides, if you don’t know that sodas that size are not good for your health….

  15. It is good that your healthy eating blog is targeting a very clear audience ie teenagers. These days teenagers in particular easily get lost in the obyse of healthy lifestyle advice available online but having a website such as yours, targeting this specific need is highly needed and appreciated. I like your presentation and the way you’ve broken it up by anticipating what teenagers are going to ask ie does this mean no junk food?. Also the way you’ve bolded certain key elements of the post which stand out to making the entire article easy to understand even if you skim through it. These will catch my attention and draw in a stronger level of engagement.

  16. Great article. Is there a way for a reader to send the article to a friend? Like a “share this” button? I’d like my granddaughter to read this article. Good, common sense, and honest that it isn’t a stroll in the park. Cute logo and site name. I like the photo used in this article, too. The links to product/diet/purchasable items gave me pause for thought. Makes sense to monetize your site, but got me wondering how well researched are the products?

    1. Yes there is a social sharing button to the left side of the screen? It’s rather large too ( covers 7 social networks! ) 🙂

  17. It is great that you focus on teenagers with this post. I think a lot of health advice is just geared towards a general audience and so it is nice to see something for a particular age group. This is especially important since different ages have different mindsets about what is healthy and what is not. They also think differently about the process of being healthy. Thanks for this post.

    1. No problem Philip, great to hear that you enjoyed the content on offer! Look forward to hearing from you again at some point! 🙂

  18. Interesting article about how to help teens with weight and energy issues. I guess one of the keys to any success is parental example. If parents aren’t committed to caring for their own health, i.e. they still smoke, drink too much and don’t view exercise as a priority, then it is difficult for the teenagers in that house to develop the self-motivation needed to maintain good health.

    Question: Will you be reviewing the internationally successful Live Right 4 Your Type lifestyle regime? It is an amazing way of eating and is very much scientifically based. I would be interested to read your well-researched review on it.

    Duncan

    1. Hi Duncan,

      I have heard of the Live Right 4 Your Type regime but I haven’t had the chance to review or use it yet! We need to trial each diet program before we can give an honest opinion. It’s definitely one for the future though! 🙂

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