It is very important for everyone to eat healthy and balanced food. As we all know that healthy diet plays very important role in making us fit. Healthy food not only satisfies our hunger but it also helps to keep us away from many diseases.
Now a day’s eating junk food is very common among youngsters. According to a survey overweight teenager tend to put on weight later on their life.
Now The Question Arises Why People Choose Junk Food?
1. Appearance and Taste-
We have to accept this fact that junk food is tasty. They have some ingredient in them which makes it more tempting. The combination of sugar, fat and salt makes the brain to crave more for such food. Junk food do not have satiety value which means you will not be satisfied by eating one single burger or after eating 1 packet of potato wafers, you want 1 more.
Lack of sleep can also be reason for eating junk food. It has been studied that people who sleep less than 4 hours feels to eat junk food more often comparatively to people who sleeps for 8-9 hours.
When our body and mind is in stress, the adrenal gland releases the hormone called cortisol which force our mind to eat more.
4. Peer Pressure-
peer pressure can influence food choices too. It is a common practice that teenagers or adolescents always want to go for the food which are more common among their friends.
Nutritional Requirement for Teenagers
The transition from infant to childhood and then to teenage is very crucial. The nutritional requirement changes with the rapid physical growth. The body needs more calories during this phase of life.
Boys require approximately 2800 calories per day and nutritional requirement for girls is approximately 2200 calories per day.
List Of Some Foods and Diet Plan for Teenagers
Yogurt contains more protein than milk. Greek yogurt is good source of protein, if someone is vegetarian. Greek yogurt contains good amount of probiotics. There are some good bacteria which helps in our digestion and improves our gut health. They also helps to distress ourselves. Greek yogurt also contains good amount of calcium which is very necessary for growing child. The other necessary nutrient is vitamin B12 which is available in yogurt. Vegetarian people lack vitamin B12 because the vitamin is mostly found in animal products like meat and eggs. One more interesting fact is Greek yogurt contains good amount of potassium. If you want to serve some healthy desert to your kid, you can simply add variety of fruits in Greek yogurt.
Eggs are considered to be good source of protein. Eggs contain all the nine essential amino acids which cannot be synthesized by our body.The other nutrient present in egg are vitamin B12, vitamin D and vitamin B6. The mineral content which is very high in this super food are selenium, Iron and zinc. Now a days some eggs also contain omega 3 fatty acids. Egg contains high amount of cholesterol, so it is not advisable to eat too many egg yolks, if the person is having high cholesterol. Teenagers and adolescent can consume 2 whole eggs per day as their growing body require more nutrients. Eggs are a good source of vitamin D which helps to prevent rickets among children.
Peanuts are good source of energy. It not only contains high amount of protein but also has oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fatty acids. Children can be given peanuts in many ways. Peanut butter, peanut chikki, roasted peanut and peanut bar are some good options for them. Peanut also contains fair amount of vitamin B5, iron, potassium, zinc and selenium. It is also rich in antioxidants like p-coumaric acid. One more important component present in peanut is Resveratrol. Over consumption can cause GI infection but moderate consumption of peanuts is healthy.
It is one of the popular food among all group of children either they are toddlers, teenagers or adolescent. As we all know cheese is the dairy product which contains high amount of calcium, vitamin D,vitamin A, vitaminB6. The minerals like zinc and phosphorus are also present in it. As growing kids need extra nourishment, so cheese is the good option as fulfill the requirement of protein and fat. Europeans and Americans often use cheese in their diet but in India cottage cheese is more common. Even cottage cheese is also good choice for growing kid. There are many varieties of cheese available like Mozzarella and Cheddar. Teenagers need to be very fast and active and it depends upon the quality of fat they consume. Cheese contains good amount of omega 3 fatty acid which is good for their brain function.
Nuts contain tons of health benefits. The nutrient which are loaded are vitamin, minerals like zinc,iron, potassium, antioxidants and fats. A handful of nuts(30g) gives 36% of child’s daily Vitamin E requirement and 4% of protein. The common nuts which should be included in your child’s diet are-
- Almonds– Helps in brain functioning and rich in vitamin E which is good for skin nourishment.
- Cashews-Rich in oleic acid that helps to keep healthy heart.
- Walnuts-Good source of omega 3 fatty acids which is good for brain functioning and helps in reducing depression.
- Hazelnuts-Promotes healthy digestive system and helps to reduce the risk of cancer.
- Pistachios–Rich in Antioxidants and reduces high blood sugar level.
They are those plant foods which has variety of nutrients. They play very important role in our balanced diet. It is a good source of protein and fiber for vegetarian people. Some varieties of legumes are split beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and soybeans. Proteins are necessary in every stages of life but it is very important for teenagers when body is in developing phase. One of the most important amino acid which lacks in pulses is Methionine so it is advised to serve pulse with any cereal which is higher in methionine.
7. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables-
It is very important to add fresh fruits and vegetables in your kid’s diet. Children are more attracted to those food which are colorful and attractive and what can be more colorful than a bowl of fresh fruit and vegetable. Fruits like oranges, Apples, pomegranate, papaya gives loads of vitamin C, vitamin A and minerals like zinc, magnesium,fiber and potassium.
Deficiency Diseases Among Teenagers And Adolescent
Under nutrition is very common if children do not eat proper nutritious balanced meal. Anemia is also common in girls as menstruation gets started during age of 11 to 13, so it is important to incorporate those foods in their diet which are rich in iron. Supplements of folic acid and iron can also be helpful.
Another important nutrient deficiency is lack of iodine in the diet. Less iodine can lead to swollen thyroid gland and can cause mental retardation in children.
People who live far away from equator can have vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D gets produced from cholesterol when the skin gets exposed to sunlight. Deficiency of vitamin D can cause Rickets in children. Good consumption of eggs and fatty fish can help them.
Some Options for Healthy School Lunch-
- Vegetable paratha rolls
- Vegetable sandwich
- Cottage cheese vegetable cutlet
- Muesli Energy Bars
- Jaggery Peanut ladoo
- Roasted Dry fruits
- Cheese sandwich /Rolls
- Banana Muffin
- Vegetable poha
- Stuff dal paratha
Healthy Eating Habits for Growing Kids-
- Encourage your child to have small frequent meals.
- Always choose for nutritious meals which is tasty as well as healthy.
- Junk food like cookies and chips makes your kid less active and irritable.
- Do not encourage your child to have too much coffee and cold drinks as it will disturb their sleep pattern.
- Kids should have plenty of fluids like coconut water, lemon water or plain water.
- Regular meditation and exercise should be practiced as it keeps the body and mind calm and it also helps in concentration.
- Children who play sports should have proper and well balanced meal. High proteins with high calorie food is necessary for them as it will boost up their stamina.
Read Next – The Need for Carbohydrates in Our Diet!