Nutrition for Teens

A surge in appetite around the age of ten in girls and twelve in boys foreshadows the growth spurt of puberty. How much of a surge? Let’s just say that Mom and Dad might want to oil the hinges on the refrigerator door and start stockpiling a small cache of their own favorite snacks underneath the bed.

Victoria Middleton

Victoria Middleton

RD
Registered Dietitian
New York City, NY
Yumna Khan

Yumna Khan

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON
Margarita deGraaf

Margarita deGraaf

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON

Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how computer screens and computer devices can affect eating habits in teens and children.

Quiz: Do You Understand Nutrition for Teens?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Generally, boys go through a growth spurt around the age of 12, and girls around the age of 14.

Explanation:
Generally, boys go through a growth spurt around the age of 14, and girls around the age of 12. Teens need more calories and nutrients during this time, including protein, calcium, and iron.
2

A healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains may help prevent depression symptoms in kids.

Explanation:
Studies have shown that there is a significant relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents. A healthy diet can support your child's brain development and increase serotonin and dopamine levels.
3

Fat should make up 25 to 35 percent of a teen’s total calories each day.

Explanation:
Teens should choose unsaturated fats over saturated fats whenever possible, which are found in olive oil, fatty fish like salmon and nuts and seeds. Fat should make up 25 to 35 percent of a teen’s total calories each day.
4

Soda and artificially sweetened fruit juices are full of empty calories.

Explanation:
Soda and artificially sweetened fruit juices are full of empty calories and should be replaced with water or low-fat/fat-free milk whenever possible.
5

Teens should be active for 20 minutes or more every day of the week.

Explanation:
Teens should be active for 60 minutes or more every day of the week. Exercise should include a range of activities he or she enjoys, whether it’s biking to school, swimming or walking the dog.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how junk food can effect mental health in teenagers.

Linking Mental Health to Bad Eating Habits

What’s the relation between mindful eating and mental health? The first step is, you need to ask the question are you feeling depressed? Are you sad? Are you really stressed out? Are you anxious? Are you feeling angry?

And then trying to see if you are feeling any of these emotions, is it affecting your food choice, or how you’re eating? So, first identifying mental state, to see if this is playing a role in how you’re making your food choices.

Presenter: Ms. Sarah Blunden, Registered Dietitian, Ville Saint-Laurent, QC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

How to Involve Children When Choosing Healthy Snacks

Another tip for when taking your kids to the grocery store is trying to make them accountable for their choices of snacks, but also helping them and guiding them. This way, when they’re back at home and they’re hungry, you can direct them in saying “Well, these are some of the snacks that you’ve chosen, so let’s figure out what we can make here.”

So in the grocery store, looking at for example, labels and trying to help them identify healthy options, by for example looking at fibre. Looking that the ingredient list isn’t super long. Sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store.

Having them choose fresh options. Having them choose varieties of colours and shapes, and this is helpful too. So when they can see something that looks exciting, by purples and reds and oranges, this can make for fun, exciting snacks as well.

This tip makes them accountable for the snacks that they then have back at home.

Presenter: Ms. Sarah Blunden, Registered Dietitian, Ville Saint-Laurent, QC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how to get children involved in making healthy food choices for snacking.

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