Nutrition For Teens PDF Print Write e-mail
Teenagers often have haphazard dietary patterns, characterized by skipping meals, consuming more meals outside of the home, especially fast foods.alt

Fiber is a Must!
 
The teen years are a great time to prepare the body for a healthy future! Fiber has a handful of short term and long term benefits including:
 
  1. Increases satiety (and thus may prevent weight gain and obesity)
  2. Lowers cholesterol
  3. Reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease
  4. Assists with regular bowel movements
  5. Focus on Calcium and Vitamin D
 
Adolescence is a critical time for bone development and calcium is needed for bones to become strong. Vitamin D is also important because calcium cannot be absorbed without it.
 
Building strong bones during this time period will reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Therefore, teens should incorporate calcium and vitamin D into their daily diets.
 
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that teenagers consume four servings of dairy foods, which are high in calcium and vitamin D, each day.
 
Other good sources of calcium include:
  • Salmon
  • Tofu
  • Baked beans
  • Fortified cereals
In addition to calcium and vitamin D, exercise is also needed to maximize bone density.
 
Prevent Iron Deficiency
 
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, particularly among children. Adolescent girls, who have reached menarche, are extremely vulnerable to iron deficiency.
 
Consequences of iron deficiency include anemia and reduced cognitive and motor skills leading to poor performance in school.
 
Physical Activity
 
Teens who are engaged in sports dance or other regular physical activity should make sure they get adequate calories and hydration. It is important to exercise and eat well as a developing teen. For proper nutrition that meets your physical activity level, consult a Registered Dietitian or Ask the Experts.