Teenagers are in that cusp age when their body is transforming and they need maximum nutrition. Parents always want the best for their children. Read on to find out how you can fulfill the nutritional needs for teenagers and give them the gift of health.
It is important to understand that since teenagers go through a lot of hormonal changes, the nutritional needs of girls and boys can vary. But the factors that’ll help no matter what gender are – a healthy and nutritious diet, drinking enough water, and having an optimal workout routine.
Nutrients for teenagers
As boys and girls hit puberty, there is a surge in appetite around that age. Boys require an average of 2800 calories a day and girls need an average of 2200 calories a day. It is best to ensure that this calorie requirement is met through healthy and nutritious food. Some of the most important nutrients needed y teenagers for proper physical and mental development include the following.
Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth. As people age they start losing calcium from their bones which reduces bone density. That’s why it is recommended that during teenage years you should stock up on calcium deposits. Include calcium rich foods like – low fat milk, cheese, tofu, soy milk, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, and beans in your child’s daily diet to provide the required dosage of calcium. Get in touch with your doctor to know if your teenage child needs calcium supplements.
Protein is an integral nutrient that’s needed at all stages of life. It plays an important role during teenage years as it helps with muscle growth and development, especially during puberty. The amount of protein one needs depends on their overall health, gender, and activity levels. On average teenage boys needs 52 g of protein per day, while teenage girls need 46 g protein per day. Including protein rich foods like – chickpeas, eggs, lean meat, fish, lentils, tofu etc. will be a good option.
Some of the other benefits of a protein rich diet are – helps body fight illness and infection; needed for hair, skin, and nails health; reduces fatigue; and helps in wound healing.
Remember how Popeye used to eat a can of spinach and fight off all evil. So taking cues from him, it is time to include iron rich foods in your teenager’s daily diet. Teenage years are the time of rapid growth and the body needs iron for various functions like increasing muscle mass and expansion of blood volume. Teenage boys need 11 mg of iron per day, while teenage girls need 15 mg of iron per day.
Some of the symptoms that might indicate iron deficiency are – fatigue and tiredness, heaviness in breathing, brittle nails, pale skin, cold hands and feet, dizziness and headache, and chest pain. If your teenager complains of any of these symptoms, seek medical help at the earliest so that iron levels and hemoglobin levels don’t dip further. You can also get in touch with your doctor to know more about iron supplements for teenagers.
The best source of getting dietary fiber is to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. You can also include other grain foods like – whole wheat pasta, couscous, quinoa, oats etc. in your child’s routine. Whole grain foods give the required energy to your children. Also when teenagers eat a high fiber diet, they feel satiated for longer which means mid-meal munching is reduced and so is their unwanted calorie intake. A high fiber diet also helps keep digestive health in check and reduces chances of constipation and bloating.
5. Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are needed by children and teenagers for proper mental growth. It has various other benefits like – helps with normal brain and eye function, protects your heart, and improves cognitive health. Fish oil is considered the richest source of omega 3 fatty acids. But if your child is a vegan or vegetarian, doesn’t eat enough fish in his/her daily diet, or has other dietary restrictions, then it would be a good idea to include omega 3 supplements in their routine. You can check out the complete range of omega 3 supplements by GNC.
How to manage weight without compromising on health?
A lot of teenagers try to lose weight or manage their weight and in the process they either start skipping meals or cut down carbohydrates completely from their meals. This approach to lose weight is not correct and will deprive them of essential nutrients. The best way to manage weight for teenagers is to eat healthy and have a proper workout routine. You can also consult a professional dietician for a customized diet plan for your child. Keep an eye that teenagers stay away from weight loss supplements like – appetite suppressants, meal replacement powders, and other weight loss pills as these supplements may have a negative effect on their health.
Make them understand to limit their intake of refined sugar and processed foods and eat more fruits and vegetables. Instead of choosing chips and munchies as their snacks, encourage your teenage children to choose healthier options like smoothies, foxnuts, homemade protein bars etc.
Multivitamins for teenagers
There are many multivitamins for teenagers available in the market. The multivitamin supplements are available in different forms – gummies, powders, or tablets. Choose a multivitamin formula that your child is most comfortable with. Also understand that whenever your teenage child starts taking any multivitamins, he/ she needs to be consistent with them to see visible results.
You can get in touch with your doctor to know which multivitamins will suit your teenager child the most. Some of the top selling GNC multivitamins for teenagers are –
1. GNC Milestone Teen – multivitamin for girls 12 – 17
2. GNC Milestone Teen multivitamin for boys 12 – 17
3. GNC Milestone Teen Gummy multivitamin for teens 12 – 17
4. GNC Milestone Mega Teen Multivitamin
Every child is different and so are their health needs. Do not listen to random advice or read about multivitamins on the internet and include any new multivitamin for your teenager in their routine. Always seek professional medical advice. Also remember to go through the dosage instructions given on each pack of GNC multivitamins. Do not exceed the recommended dosage as it may cause side effects and trigger allergic reactions.