Simple tips for healthy teen nutrition

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021

All iLive content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses ([1], [2], etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.

Teenagers very often sit on a diet, suffer from the shortcomings of this diet ... And still get better or, conversely, are treated later for anorexia. The healthy diet of adolescents is not the deprivation of the foods they love. Healthy eating means to feel great, to accumulate more energy, to stabilize your mood and to be healthy. A teenager can easily expand his range of food choices and learn how to maintain a tasty, healthy diet.

trusted-source[1], [2]

Council number 1. Set yourself up for success

To adjust oneself to success, to think about planning healthy food and the benefits it will bring, radical changes are needed. If you approach the changes gradually and with all responsibility, the result - a good mood and a good figure - will be earlier than you think.

Simplify your approach to diets. Instead of getting constant stresses from counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think about your diet in terms of the color of the foods, their variety and, most importantly, freshness. This should help make it easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding products that you love and easy recipes, where you can apply a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and tastier.

Start slowly and gradually change the eating habits. Trying to make your diet healthy in one day, of course, will not succeed. Changing everything and at once usually leads to deceiving oneself or refusing a new nutrition plan. Take small steps, such as adding salad (with vegetables, fruits) to your diet once a day. Or in cooking, go from butter to olive oil. After your small changes become a habit, you can continue to add more healthy foods to your diet.

Each change gradually improves your mood and your health. Remember, teenagers: you do not need to be perfect, and you should not completely exclude from the menu all your favorite foods. Do you like being healthy? To feel good, get more energy, and reduce the risk of developing diseases, improve the condition of the skin, hair and nails, do not let yourself go back to the cakes and fatty fast food. But make any changes in the diet gradually.

trusted-source[3], [4], [5], [6], [7]

Think about what you drink and eat

Water. It helps to cleanse our body systems of toxins and toxins, but many adolescents ignore this simple remedy. So it turns out that in the classroom they get tired quickly only because they are dehydrated. Then the adolescents suffer because of a lack of energy, and headaches. And they can make mistakes, taking a thirst for hunger, and snacking instead of drinking a glass of water. Very correct advice of dieticians: if you want to eat, drink water. If after that there is a rush, then it was a thirst. So you will protect yourself from excess calories.

Snacks. Find something that you can snack. It can be berries, nuts, raisins, prunes. These products (and not smoked sausage and fast food) motivate you to choose healthy food that will gradually become your habit.

Council № 2. Moderation is the key to good health

Adolescents often think of a healthy diet maximally: "All or nothing," but the key feature of a healthy diet is moderation. And what is moderation? How much is this - moderately? It depends on the teenager and his eating habits. The goal of a healthy diet is to develop a diet that can be followed all life, not just a few weeks or months, or until the teenager reaches its ideal weight. So try to think about moderation in terms of balance. Despite the fact that certain diets offer only one product (mono-diets), adolescents must maintain a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

For most teenagers, the moderation and balance in eating means eating less than what they eat right now. In practice, this means that adolescents eat much less unhealthy foods (unrefined sugar, saturated fat). But at the same time they eat less and healthy food (such as fresh fruits and vegetables). But this does not mean to exclude from the diet all the foods that you love. Ice cream for breakfast once a week, for example, can be considered moderate, if you do not eat it at lunch and dinner, and then do not grab a whole box of donuts and pizza with sausage. If one day a teenager eats a chocolate bar, these 100 calories should be taken away from dinner. If you ate dinner and are still hungry, just take an extra portion of fresh vegetables.

Try not to think about some products, as a complete ban. If you ban certain foods or groups of products, and then break off, you will feel weak and blame yourself for all mortal sins. If you are drawn to sweet, salty or other unhealthy foods, start by reducing the serving sizes and do not eat these foods so often. Later you will understand that the thrust has decreased.

Eat smaller portions. The sizes of portions around the world have recently increased, especially in restaurants. When a teenager does not eat at home, you do not need to order giant portions. At home it is easier to use smaller plates, adjust the dimensions. If you are not full, try adding more green leafy salads, vegetables or fresh fruit. Normal portions will prompt you for visual images. The portion of meat, fish or chicken that a teenager eats should be the size of a pack of cards, a slice of bread should be the size of a compact disc, and the mashed potatoes, rice or buckwheat - the size of a standard light bulb.

trusted-source[8], [9], [10], [11]

Council number 3. It is important not only what a teenager eats, but how he eats

Healthy eating is more than eating on a plate, this is also how the teenager thinks about food. Food is not just something that a teenager swallows between lessons, it's a culture of eating.

Eat with other people whenever possible. Eating with other teenagers, parents, guests - this is a numerous social and emotional benefits, it allows you to model the habits of a healthy diet. Food in front of a TV or computer often leads to a meaningless overeating.

Take time to thoroughly chew your food and enjoy your meal. Chew food slowly, savoring each slice. Teenagers tend to hurry, without even having time to taste the food. It's wrong - chewing slowly, you can eat much less.

Listen to your body. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, or drink a glass of water to see if you are thirsty or hungry. It is necessary to stop eating before the feeling of full saturation. The feeling of saturation comes in 20 minutes after the teenager started to eat, so it should be done slowly.

Eat breakfast completely, and then take less food throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can speed up your metabolism, and then during the day there will be enough pairs of light snacks (instead of the standard three large meals). This will enable the adolescent to maintain and increase energy and improve metabolism.

Do not eat at night. Try once a week to eat breakfast and lunch throughout the day, and then wait 14-16 hours before breakfast the next morning. Recent studies have shown that this simple diet regulates a teenager's nutrition, but only when he is most active. Such unloading can give your digestive system a long break and help regulate weight. After dinner, it is best to avoid eating high in fat and calories.

trusted-source[12], [13], [14], [15]

Tip # 4: Include colored fruits and vegetables in your diet

Fruits and vegetables are the basis of a healthy diet. Especially when it comes to a teenager who is growing and developing intensely, and still spends a lot of energy. Vegetables and fruits are low in calories and rich in nutrients, they are saturated with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

Try to eat colored fruits and vegetables every day and with every meal, the more diverse, the better. Colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than whites. Very good, if a teenager eats about 5 different vegetables or fruits a day.

Greenery. It can be bright green or dark green salad leaves. White cabbage, carrots, beets, broccoli are just a few varieties of vegetables rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K.

Sweet vegetables. Sweet vegetables such as corn, carrots, beets will enable the teenager to satisfy his desire to eat sweet, so as not to drag on to the cakes and reduce the craving for high-calorie flour sweets.

Fruit. The fruit is very tasty. They are nice to eat, so to include fruit in a diet will not be a teenager of labor. They quickly replenish the body with fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Berries reduce the risk of cancer, apples provide fiber for better peristalsis, oranges and mangoes are rich in vitamin C.

It is important to get vitamins from food, and not from pharmaceuticals

Antioxidants and other nutrients in vegetables and fruits protect against many diseases, increase immunity. Today, advertising offers many pharmacy products in vitamins and minerals, but research shows that this is not the same.

Daily intake of food additives gives completely the wrong effect that proper nutrition. This is because in vegetables and fruits a well-balanced complex of vitamins, moreover, easily perceived by the body. Drug additives teenage organism can not perceive and do not accumulate in the body.

5. Eat more healthy carbohydrates and whole grains.

Carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits, and not from flour, whole grain products are the source of the teenager's continued energy. In addition to being delicious and satisfying, whole-grain products are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants that help protect the adolescent from coronary heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes. Studies have shown that children who eat more whole grains have a healthier heart.

trusted-source[16], [17], [18]

How fast to determine healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates?

Healthy carbohydrates (known as good carbohydrates) include whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Healthy carbohydrates are digested slowly, helping the teenager to feel full longer and keep the normal level of glucose and insulin in the blood.

Unhealthy carbohydrates (or bad carbohydrates) are such products as white flour, sugar and white ground rice, devoid of all useful substances. Unhealthy carbohydrates are digested quickly and able to cause in the immature body of a teenager bursts of glucose in the blood.

Tips for Choosing Healthy Carbohydrates

Include in a healthy diet food from whole grains, including wheat, brown rice, millet, barley. Experiment with different grains to find ones. Which you most like.

Try alternating different cereals as a first step to switching to whole grains. If brown rice or pasta from durum wheat is not very attractive to you first, start with one thing, and the next day try another.

Avoid refined products. For example, such as bread, cheap pasta, breakfast cereals.

Council number 6. Enjoy healthy fats and avoid harmful fats

A big mistake teenagers - to avoid any fatty foods. Children think that they get better from it. But this is not so. In fact, healthy fats are needed to nourish the brain, heart and cells, as well as hair, skin and nails. Foods rich in omega-3 fats are especially important and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve mood and help concentration of attention. Sea fish and seafood are the richest sources of healthy fats.

trusted-source[19], [20], [21], [22], [23]

What to add to a healthy diet?

Monounsaturated fats are taken from vegetable oils, such as rapeseed oil, peanut oil, olive oil, and also avocados, nuts (eg almonds, hazelnuts) and seeds (eg pumpkin, sesame).

Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 and Omega-6, are fatty acids found in oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines. Other sources of polyunsaturated fats are sunflower, corn, soy, linseed oil and walnuts.

Take it out of your diet

Saturated fats, mainly from animal sources, including red meat and whole milk products.

Trans fats that are contained in chocolate products, margarine, crackers, sweets, cookies, fried pies, baked goods and other processed foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Do not avoid protein

Protein gives teenagers energy, a lot of energy. The protein in food is decomposed into 20 amino acids, which the body needs for growth and energy, necessary to maintain cells, tissues and organs. The lack of protein in the diet of a teenager can slow down its growth, reduce muscle mass, immunity, weaken the heart and respiratory system. Proteins are especially important for children, the body of which grows and changes daily.

trusted-source[24], [25], [26]

Here are some recommendations for incorporating protein into a healthy adolescent diet

Try different types of proteins. Or you are not a vegetarian, try different sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, seeds, peas and soy products, will open up new opportunities for healthy eating.

Beans. Black beans, white beans lentils are good options.

Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts.

Soy products. Try tofu, soy milk and vegetarian sandwiches for changing dishes.

Avoid salty or sweet nuts and beans in large quantities.

Reduce the number of meals with protein. Many teenage boys eat too much protein, believing that it will increase their muscle mass. Try to eat less protein. Concentrate on equal portions of protein, whole grains and vegetables.

Focus on quality sources of protein, such as fresh fish, chicken or turkey, eggs, beans or nuts.

Council number 8. Be sure to add calcium in the diet to strengthen bones

Calcium is one of the basic microelements that an adolescent's body needs to stay strong and healthy. Calcium is an important microelement for the health of the bones of a teenager, and also for the health of teeth and nails.

Also, a teenager needs a daily dose of magnesium, and also vitamins D and K are substances that help calcium do its job.

The recommended dose of calcium for a teenager is 1000 mg per day. He needs to drink vitamin D and calcium if the teen does not get enough of these vitamins and minerals from the food.

trusted-source[27], [28], [29], [30], [31]

Good sources of calcium are

Dairy. Dairy products are rich in calcium in a form that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. Sources of calcium are milk, yogurt and cheese.

Vegetables and greens. Many vegetables, especially leafy green salad, are a rich source of calcium. A teenager needs turnips, mustard, green parsley and dill, cabbage, lettuce, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, pumpkin, string beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, mushrooms.

Beans. This is another rich source of calcium, in this capacity are very good black beans, white beans, peas.

Tip # 9. Sugar and salt in the teenager's diet should be limited

If you are on the road to success and include proteins, fats and carbohydrates in your diet, there are some foods that can get in the way of a healthy diet. It's sugar and salt. Salt retains fluid in the body, contributing to the accumulation of toxins and fatness. Sugar gives a lot of extra calories, also contributing to the excessive fullness of the teenager.


Sugar causes teenage ups and downs of energy, because of it there are problems with weight. Unfortunately, reducing the number of sweets, cakes and desserts that teenagers love so much is just part of the solution. The amount of sugar that a teenager consumes every day is very difficult to control. A large amount of sugar can be hidden in products such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauces, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, fast food, soy sauce and ketchup. Here are some tips for the benefit of the teenager's body to reduce sugar in the diet.

Avoid sugary drinks. One bottle of Coca-Cola contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar. This is more than recommended daily! If you are thirsty, drink better still water with lemon or fruit juice.

Eat foods that contain natural glucose. This fruit, Bulgarian pepper, natural peanut butter. These products will help satisfy the craving for sweets.


Most teenagers consume too much salt. Consuming too much salt can provoke a teenager's high blood pressure and lead to other health problems. Try to limit salt intake to 1500 to 2300 mg per day, which is equivalent to one teaspoon of salt.

Avoid processed or prepackaged food. Processed foods, such as canned soups or frozen dinners, contain a hidden salt that significantly exceeds the recommended daily dose.

Be careful when choosing a meal outside the house. Most restaurants and fast food establishments oversaturate food with sodium.

Choose fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables, saturated with salt.

Cut down salty snacks, such as potato chips, nuts and salted biscuits.

Try to slowly reduce salt in your diet to give your taste buds time to adjust to a new diet.

Healthy nutrition for adolescents is a big work that the teenager can do with the active help of parents. But the result will please - a good figure, healthy skin and shiny hair, but the energy is more than enough.

Translation Disclaimer: The original language of this article is Russian. For the convenience of users of the iLive portal who do not speak Russian, this article has been translated into the current language, but has not yet been verified by a native speaker who has the necessary qualifications for this. In this regard, we warn you that the translation of this article may be incorrect, may contain lexical, syntactic and grammatical errors.

You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.