Teenagers experience a lot of change as they prepare to step into adulthood. Their bodies are growing and changing rapidly, and they are faced with new emotions and social pressures. During this time, it is more important than ever for teens to focus on their health and well-being. Good nutrition and fitness are essential for teens to support their physical and emotional development.
The Basics of Nutrition For Teens
Adolescence is a time when teens need a variety of nutrients to support their bodies’ changing needs. Good nutrition is crucial in helping them grow strong, stay healthy, and develop properly.
Unfortunately, teenagers face all kinds of challenges to eating healthily. To better understand the importance of eating healthily, let’s start with learning about what proper nutrition for a teenager is.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Teens need about 45-65% of their calories to come from carbohydrates. This means that a teenager who needs 2,000 calories per day should get about 900-1300 calories from carbohydrates.
Good sources: Pasta, rice, bread, cereal, potatoes, and other whole-grain foods.
Protein is an essential nutrient that is needed for growth and development, muscle repair, and many other bodily functions. The recommended daily intake of protein for teenagers is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. This means that a 150-pound teenager needs about 56 grams of protein per day.
Good sources: Meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
Fats are an essential nutrient for teenagers. They provide energy, help to absorb vitamins, and protect the organs. However, not all fats are created equal. It’s better to consume unsaturated fats. The recommended daily intake of fats for teenagers is 25-35% of their total calories or 500 to 700 out of a total of 2000 calories.
Good sources: Olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that your body needs to function properly. They help your body grow and develop, stay healthy, and fight off disease. The recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals varies depending on a teenager’s age, sex, and activity level. Here are some of the most important vitamins and minerals recommended for teenagers:
- Calcium for strong bones
- Iron for energy and blood health
- Vitamin C for immune function
- Vitamin D for bone health
- Potassium for blood pressure regulation
- Fiber for digestive health
Good sources: Fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
The Importance of Fitness For Teens
Exercise also plays a huge role in ensuring the proper growth and development of teenagers. Staying physically active during this time in their life will set the proper foundations for a healthy and active lifestyle. Beyond that, it improves physical fitness and mental health and lowers the risk of illness and disease. Exercise can even benefit a teenager’s social and academic abilities.
How Much Exercise Do Teenagers Need?
The World Health Organization reports that more than a whopping 80% of adolescents don’t meet the recommended level of physical activity. Children and teenagers worldwide are recommended to get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity every day. This can be done in short bursts of activity throughout the day with activities like brisk walking, biking, and playing sports.
Incorporating Fitness Into Your Everyday Life
An easy and healthy way to enjoy fitness is to make it a part of your daily (or weekly) routine. Here are a few things you can do to get your teen started:
- Make it fun. Choose activities that teenagers enjoy and that they can do with friends or family.
- Set realistic goals. Start with small goals, such as walking for 30 minutes a day, and gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of the activity.
- Find a workout buddy. Having a friend to exercise with can make it more fun and motivating.
- Don’t give up. If your teen misses a day of exercise, don’t let them get discouraged. Just pick up where they left off and keep going.
How An Adolescent Medicine Specialist Can Help
Adolescence can be a confusing time for teenagers and their parents. An adolescent medicine specialist can guide teens to make informed choices about their health by providing education, counseling, and support. They are specially trained to care for adolescents and understand their unique physical, emotional, and social needs.
Adolescent Medicine Near Me in Purchase, New York
Proper nutrition and fitness are vital for a teenager’s health and well-being. Nutrition fuels the body, so having a high-quality diet is crucial for growing children. Physical activity can give adolescents the chance to have fun and unlock their potential. However, these things can be tricky to navigate, especially for teens. Consulting with an adolescent medicine specialist can help teens understand the proper nutrition and fitness for a happy and healthy life.
Looking for an adolescent medicine specialist? Our specialized doctors at BridgeSpan Medicine in Purchase, New York, are happy to provide quality healthcare for teenagers. We are here to guide both parents and children as they navigate through their teenage years. Our team at BridgeSpan is happy to help and answer any questions you may have. Just give us a call at (914) 698-5544 or schedule an appointment with us online.
We’re excited to help adolescents grow into healthy and happy adults here at our location in Purchase, NY!