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Nourishing Your Teens

Are you worried that your teenager isn't eating as well as you'd like? Are you wondering what and how much your teen should be consuming each day?

Did you know that with all the growth and maturation changes going on in an teenager’s body as they pass through puberty there are additional #energy and nutritional requirements? These, however, are not the same for your #teen as they are for their best friend or the person they sit next to in English each day. For example, a very active boy of 15 may need 14,000 kilojoules per day (kJ/d) just to maintain weight whilst a sedentary girl of 15, whose growth is at a standstill may need less than 8200 kJ/d to avoid gaining weight.

Many adolescents are often low in their consumption of several macro and micro nutrients. These are the components that are crucial in helping their body to be energised, strong, emotionally balanced and healthy both now and in the future. 27% of girls (in UK) aged 11-18 years are deficient in iron and 85% girls aged 12-16 years are low in #calcium. This could affect their ability to do well in their studies, their ability to be successful in sport and even maintain energy levels to enjoy their social events. Furthermore, problems of obesity, eating disorders, binge drinking and less physical activity also affect the nutritional health of many adolescents.

Ideally, your teen should be encouraged to eat

  • a wholefood, balanced diet with regular meals and healthy snacks in a positive, family-orientated setting.

  • plenty of fruit and vegetables every day. (7-8 serves)

  • carbohydrates which are the major source of energy in the body, aiming for approximately 55% of total energy intake (6-7 serves)

  • #fat which is important for tissue, membrane and hormone synthesis (up to 35% of total energy intake) - choose healthy fats like olive oil, fish, avocado, nuts and seeds