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Importance of a Balanced Diet for Teenagers

Balanced Diet for Teenagers

Encouraging teens to eat healthily can be a challenge for parents as they do not have as much control over their diets as when they were younger. However, even though it is difficult, it is still important for you to guide your teenage children to eat right.

It is because aside from the fact that their bodies need more nutrients as they are in a stage of rapid growth, their eating habits now will also have a huge impact on their health when they reach adulthood.

To convince your teenager, and yourself to a certain degree, to switch to healthier eating, here are some of the benefits of making teens stick to a balanced diet:

  • Helps cultivate good eating habits for life – Even though parents will not have quite as much influence in the foods that their teenage children eat, there is still a way to convince them otherwise. This is where you come in. You need to eat healthy as well so that you can influence your kids to do the same thing.

    However, you should not put too much emphasis on weight loss, but more on having a balanced diet. It will greatly help reduce the chances of them developing an unhealthy eating disorder later. It can also cultivate good eating habits that they can use for life.
  • Establishes a healthy attitude with food – As previously mentioned, teenagers are at a high risk of developing eating disorders. It is because they might experience a negative body image, and develop a false belief they need to be super thin to be considered beautiful.

    As a parent, it is your responsibility to engrave in your teenagers’ minds the importance of healthy eating and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. However, avoid focusing too much on weight loss. You should also avoid commenting negatively on your child’s weight.
  • Promotes healthy bone growth – The teenage years are the most important when it comes to bone growth because it is the period of rapid growth. As a person grows older, bone mass will stop increasing and start deteriorating. It is especially important in women because they have a larger risk of developing osteoporosis.

    It is the reason why you have to instill good eating habits with your teens. By teaching them the importance of a balanced diet to their bones, they will surely be able to eat healthily and avoid problems affecting their bones later on.
  • Reduces the risk of serious diseases – Developing a healthy diet early in life is essential for reducing the risk of preventable diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer. It might be difficult for teenagers to grasp the point of this since they tend to want to live in the moment. However, you should still talk to them about this so they will at least learn about the benefits of healthy eating other than weight management.
  • Promotes proper body growth and development – Adolescence is the period of rapid growth and development, all of which will require lots of nutrition and energy. Not getting enough might lead to stunted growth.

    Teenagers undergoing puberty usually consume a lot of food to support their rapid growth rate. It is important that they at least eat healthy so that their bodies get the proper nutrition that they need.
  • Improves their mood – Hormones are raging out of control during the teenage years, resulting in wild mood swings and anti-social behavior. Excess amounts of sugar, fatty foods, and overall poor diet choices also contribute to crankiness.

    On the other hand, a healthy diet can help regulate a growing teenager’s hormone production, thus improving his or her mood. Skipping meals, which is a common practice of many teens, can also contribute to their moodiness, so encourage your teenager to eat regularly.
  • Improves focus and promotes better grades – Teenagers, especially those who eat a healthy breakfast before going to school tend to have better cognitive functions than others. They also remain more alert and focused during classes.

    Eating healthy does not make a person smarter, but it will surely increase his capacity to learn. In addition, hunger and low blood sugar levels due to not eating enough can cause a teenager to feel lethargic and unable to focus or concentrate.
  • Improves sports performance – If your teenager is invested heavily in sports, then you have more reasons to convince him/her to eat healthily. It is because healthy eating ensures that your teen will have more energy stores inside his body.

    To get ample amounts of energy to play and train harder, teens need to have a well-balanced diet. With that, they can get ample calories to produce more energy for proper training and better performance in their chosen sport.
  • Maintains a healthy weight – It is normal for a teenager’s weight to fluctuate wildly during the puberty stage due to hormones running wild. Your teenager might think that no matter how much or what kinds of foods he eats, he will be able to lose the excess weight without a problem.

    However, your child needs to know that these crazy weight fluctuations will stop in a couple of years, and the way he eats will certainly start to affect his weight.

    By starting him on the path of healthy eating while he’s still young, you can help decrease his chance of becoming overweight or obese later on in life. Moreover, having a positive body image can drastically help boost your teenager’s self-confidence.
  • Helps prevent nutrient deficiencies – Some teens tend to avoid certain food groups, like meat, dairy, and carbohydrates, just so they can lose weight and fit into the body image that their peers find acceptable. Note that this behavior can cause problems in the long run.

    Not eating from important food groups will increase their chances of developing a serious deficiency of certain nutrients. During this time of rapid growth, your teen’s nutritional requirements are at their highest, so having a deficiency will also have bigger consequences.

Discuss these benefits with your teenager, and hopefully, he/she will understand why having proper nutrition is important. This might encourage him to start eating healthy and stick to a well-balanced diet.

What do you think?

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