Teenage is time when your child will be growing and therefore their nutritional requirements will also increase. More of energy, proteins, minerals and vitamins are required. Since their bodies want more they start eating —– but the wrong things. Their focus is on energy dense foods which are high in fats sugars and salts. Usually these foods are quite low in their nutrients.
This is time when you will try to revert their focus towards the core groups and make sure they are having plenty of wholegrain carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, and dairy. Focus on proteins as in this age your child is building muscle mass. Check their Vitamin D levels regularly and correct in case of deficiency.
Girls: 14.8mg a day
Boys: 11.3mg a day
For girls the requirements are more because of their menstrual cycle. If you feel that your child is not active, poor appetite, poor focus and frequently gets ill its worth checking their iron to see for any deficiencies.
We must make sure that our children are getting enough iron from food sources. Sources of iron would be meat and liver. And non-meat sources would be green leafy vegetables, lentils and pulses, seeds, nuts and dried fruit such as apricots, figs, raisins prunes. To improve the absorption of non-meat iron sources its recommended to have vitamin C enriched food alongside them like orange juice, citrus fruits tomatoes etc. Caffeine can also inhibit iron absorption so trying not to have coffee and tea with iron rich these foods.
Due to rapid increase in bone mass in the teenage the calcium requirements also increase.
Boys: 1000 mg a day (5 portions of dairy)
Girls: 800 mg a day (4 portions of dairy)
Focus on family approach to cooking and aim to eat together. Overall cooking should be healthy so thsr all the family is healthy. Teenagers should at least do 1 hour of physical activity every day. Any activity which they like should be encouraged.