Looking good or getting the perfect selfie on Instagram has become quite an obsession these days. Teenagers, mostly, have become choosy with what they like to feed their stomach just to maintain that picture-perfect body of theirs. After all, their lives are centred around getting 1000+ likes and 10k+ followers on their Insta-profiles. We see kids jump into the mayhem from a young age and compete with others in the virtual world to become the ‘most-liked’ and ‘most-followed’ influencer.
Teenagers, be it a boy or a girl, are aware of the benefits of a healthy and a balanced diet, and they prefer to follow the regime strictly. But, somehow, their healthy lifestyle takes a downturn when they are out of their homes, especially with their friends. Surrounded by tempting junk foods, their resilience breaks easily and without thinking, they commit major blunders of their lives.
But, the unhealthy junks that they feed to their systems, eventually accumulate in their body as body fats. And, with prolonged intake of junks ultimately leads to gaining excessive body weight.
Junk foods and Health Issues
Burgers, Cheese-burst pizzas and Cold Drinks are the choicest food for many. However, these fast foods are the primary source of health issues.
Obesity, high blood pressure and sugar are few other ailments that start entering their body without their knowledge. Now, obesity for a young adolescent can ruin their self-confidence once and for all.
So, out of desperation, most teenagers end up following crash diets available online to gain back their lost confidence. But, little do they realize that such crash diets in the absence of expert guidance can ruin one’s health permanently and lead to unnecessary health complications.
Benefits of Healthy Diet
Recommended by health experts and nutritionists, a balanced diet for teenagers aids in rapid growth and development.
According to the National Institute of nutrition at the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), for adequate growth and development, a teenager requires 2000 - 3020 kcal/day and 40-62 g/day of protein.
Given the changing lifestyle, feeding your adolescents healthy nutrients and keeping them away from junk foods are challenging. But it is wise to chart a proper diet plan for them for the entire week.
The purpose of well-planned diets ensures that he or she eats properly and gets enough nutrients as per their age and body structure. Also, a balanced diet must be followed by proper exercises to help the body to easily and quickly shed those extra kilos while maintaining the body’s metabolism.
But, there is no reason to worry about your kid losing weight and growing weak because so long a teenager has a healthy body mass index or BMI, he or she will never lose weight abnormally or fall sick.
The diet you plan for your teenager must be rich in protein, calcium, minerals, vitamins which helps in building strong muscles and bones and keep them energized. For their benefits, it is always better to make your child grow the habit of a healthy and balanced diet from a tender age. You can prepare a chart for them which may include
Two toasts with a glass of milk and a fruit or scrambled eggs for breakfast.
A cup of rice, two chapatis, a bowl of vegetables of his or her choice, dal for lunch, and
Dinner may include salads, fruits or vegetables or protein of his or her choice
At their teens, every boy or girl wants to look slim and trim much like the film actresses whom they consider their idol. Improper and wrong diets lead to serious health problems. Therefore, along with strict diets which they tend to follow, parents must make sure that they have short and regular meals. Meals must not be skipped and their diet must follow a healthy eating pattern including fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, grains and oil.
Does gender affect nutrition requirement?
Be it a kid or a teenager or maybe an adult - nutrition requirement varies from one individual to the other.
It is believed that a teen-aged girl tends to mature earlier compared to a teen-aged boy and hence they require more nutrients compared to a boy. Moreover, girls lose a good quantity of iron from their body due to menstruation and hence girls must consume foods rich in iron. On the other hand, boys require nutrients in the later years.
It is believed that on average, teenage boys need 2800 calories every day compared to an average of 2200 calories per day which is required by teenage girls. If at all a girl or a boy needs to have a balanced diet to build a healthy body mass, a nutritionist or a dietician is the best person who can provide the best plan depending on their gene and current health status.
A brief diet plan for Teenage Boys and Girls
Eating and drinking a balanced diet helps a body to cope up with any kind of ailments and its treatments. A balanced diet is very important for your organs and tissues to work effectively. A poor diet for teenagers may affect their growth and development.
The plan slightly varies for a teen-aged girl and a teen-aged boy.
For boys, the plan may include -
Proteins like eggs, fish, milk, nuts, legumes help in building body muscles
Carbohydrates like wheat flour, rice, grains, starchy vegetables like potatoes
Fats could be monounsaturated like olive oil, peanut butter walnuts, almonds; polyunsaturated fats from oil in sunflower seeds, sesame seeds; saturated fats found in red meat, coconut and palm oil
Vitamins from fruits and vegetables. But teenage boys lack vitamin D which they may get doing some workouts under the morning sun
Minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc can be obtained if they follow a balanced diet
For girls, the plan may include -
Natural protein foods like red meat, pulses, cereals, green vegetables, and fish
Calcium-rich foods including soya beans, tofu, nuts, milk products
Iron-rich foods like beans, poultry, seafood, dark green leafy vegetables, peas, iron-fortified foods.
Vitamin D rich foods like breakfast cereals, oily fishes, and margarine.
Vitamin C rich foods like lemon, grapefruit, potatoes, tomatoes, and oranges.
Folate-rich foods like green vegetables, brown rice, fortified bread and breakfast cereals.
The bottom line…
Along with a proper and balanced diet, it is very essential for every teenager to maintain the habit of exercising for at least 45 minutes a day. Drink at least 10-15 glasses of water to flush out the toxins from your body and keep yourselves fit and healthy.