Nutritional balance for teens

It is not easy to talk to a teenager about a balanced diet. The season is looking for immediate pleasures, easy-to-eat food … The goal of marketing can be victims of overeating and therefore overweight. Concerned neo-hippies and their global warming, i’ll tell ya. Between junk food and anorexia nervosa, how do we advise our teens?

Adolescence is by definition the period of life when quality food is necessary. The choice of foods and their diversity is essential and should be favored, despite the obligation to eat out at home, in the canteen and despite the irreversible temptations, during outings with friends. Parents obviously have an important role to play.

Adolescence: food temptation is everywhere

Adolescent balanced diet

There are many tempting foods for teens. At home, it’s easy to open the fridge or snack cupboard regularly at any time. Outside, the attraction is also endless: in the oven, in the university cafeteria, in the cinema or in the bowling alley, due to the distributors of sweet and savory drinks. With their friends, young people can easily go to fast food restaurants and kebabs. And to accompany the screening of a DVD, they like to order pizza. It is part of their culture. And when adults around them don’t eat green vegetables and very rare fruits, how can they blame young people?

Our lifestyle does not encourage cooking and meals at the family table are rare. In some homes, everyone enters at a different time and enters the refrigerator to sit in front of the TV or computer. Practices that we must try to fight. Parents should approach food as any other subject, giving priority to dialogue and information about the importance of eating this or that food. Adolescents’ offer to cook with their parents can be a way to get them interested in their food and tastes.

Their caloric requirement is high

This is an opportunity to explain to them the needs of their body for their development. Between the ages of 10 and 20, energy consumption is high. From 0 to 12 years old, tweens consume 2,000 calories a day. Then, in adolescence, between the ages of 13 and 19, girls need 2,200 calories, while boys burn 2,700 calories a day. By comparison, an adult woman needs 2,000 calories a day and a man needs 2,500 to 2,700 calories. Obviously, these items are only for information and vary depending on body size, height, weight and physical activity.

Knowledge of this type of data allows adolescents to incorporate the importance of food for their natural construction. It is also recommended that you explain the function of each food to their organs. A good way to understand the need to introduce diversity in their dishes.

Protein (fish, eggs, meat) thus promotes muscle growth. Rich in iron, they will avoid the fatigue that teenagers often experience. Cereals, legumes (lentils, chickpeas) also have iron, in another form, but just as important.

Calcium is essential for growth. It is found in dairy products, but also in legumes, soybeans, olive seeds (almonds, hazelnuts) and green vegetables (cabbage, spinach, turnips, broccoli). To keep your children eating with a good heart, always avoid steamed vegetables. You could keep them away from these foods for a long time. So prefer combinations of vegetables and starchy foods and offer them, for example, vegetables or grated cheese. In short, forget the dishes with too much neutral taste!

Combining basic foods

Another important vitamin at this age is vitamin D. It helps the body absorb calcium. You will find it mainly in fish, egg yolk and liver. Very often, teenagers are the sworn enemies of meat instruments. A simple recipe to change that. Cook the liver feta in a pan and add orange or lemon juice at the last minute, it’s fun!

Vitamin C should also not be overlooked during growth. It is found in citrus fruits, exotic fruits (kiwis), peppers, tomatoes, parsley and herbs. So do not hesitate to season your dishes with thyme, bay leaves or rosemary.

As for vitamin B9, it strengthens the immune system, ensures the production of red blood cells and prevents anemia. It is also essential for the synthesis of DNA, amino acids and neurotransmitters. Its role is therefore important in the construction of the brain. Vitamin B9 is found in dough, spinach, melon, eggplant, nuts, ripe cheeses (brie, goat), as well as starchy foods (potatoes, rice, pasta).

In order for the body to develop, the adolescent must never eat astronomical amounts of food. It is the complementarity between the foods that prevail. A dish that includes one-third of pasta or rice, two-thirds of vegetables and a small steak is perfect. And if your child likes raw vegetables, offer it as a starter. Vintage has the peculiarity of feeding better than cooked and causes satiety faster. It is ideal for teenagers who often have desires. And there is no doubt that they are starving, but simply gaining a balance tailored to their body’s needs.

Written by:

VΓ©ronique Le Saux

Medical Review: Dr. Jesus Cardenas, Medical Director Doctissimo, June 27, 2014

It was created on August 11, 2009

Sources:

Study by Jean-Pierre Corbeau, academic, for the Center for Research and Nutritional Information (CERIN)

Nutritional balance for teens
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