Teenagers grow rapidly. Their main dietary necessity is energy which is evident in their appetite. Whatever they eat should also be healthy.
However, this is often not the case as many teenagers eat a lot of sugar and fat, with consumption of fibre and starchy carbohydrates being low. In the short term, there is little harm caused. However, this would become a problem should this kind of diet carry on into adulthood.
It is vital to encourage teenagers to select from a wide range of food groups:
- Starchy carbohydrates like rice, bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, couscous, chapattis and potatoes.
- Lots of fruit and vegetables – minimum of 5 portions each day.
- Lots of d airy products, like milk, fromage frais, yoghurt and pasteurised cheeses.
- Protein, like eggs, pulses, beans, meat and fish
- Few fatty and/or sugar-rich foods.
Teenagers should also:
- Drink 8 glasses of fluid daily.
- Have breakfast as it is crucial with regard to essential nutrients and enhances concentration in the mornings. Suggest a fortified breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk and some fruit juice.
- Regular exercise is important for general fitness, cardiovascular health and for bone development.
- It is important to be sensible with alcohol.