Next time you’re out grocery shopping, you may want to make a point of stocking up with healthy, high calorie foods for your teen on the go.
It turns out, teens need a lot of food during the high growth period of adolescence. In fact the last time you saw such a ravenous appetite in your child was probably a dozen or more years ago. Nutritionist Jadine Kairns says, “it’s actually quite amazing to think that in your teenage years, your nutritional requirements are second only to infancy, and everyone knows that in your first year you need so much.”Jadine adds “calories are actually the main thing teens need, so you need to see that a teen is getting enough calories or their growth and development will be hampered. And the second area, especially for girls, is calcium.”
Pediatrician, Dr. Lillian McLean-Beard adds iron intake is another important nutrition area for teens, especially girls. “The adolescent period is a time of rapid change and development. The teenager’s diet may not be well balanced in terms of all the minerals, vitamins and nutrients they need. So this is a time where low iron is seen.”
Iron is usually found in green leafy vegetables. But how do you convince teens to eat their spinach? Dr. McLean-Beard suggests appealing to the senses. “All teens want to have a lot of energy. If you’re finding your teenager is sleeping a lot more than he should or just doesn’t have the energy you might suggest that she eats more fruits and vegetables. If you have any questions however, check with your doctor because she may be a candidate for an iron supplement.”
Over all, the best way to ensure your teen eats well is by simply providing a wide selection of healthy foods. After all, like many issues during the teen years, your child needs to make his own choices. “Adolescence is a time of independence and autonomy which will hold them fast for going into adulthood. So there’s really only so much a parent can do,” explains nutritionist, Kairns. “The more you tend to focus on things and make them an issue, the more the more they’ll turn and react and go exactly the opposite of what you want them to do.”
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.