As a teenager, your body and mind are rapidly developing. To support the physical, mental, and social changes you will experience, you literally need more of every nutrient. Eating well helps to achieve these high levels of nutrition that you need and sets you up for entering a healthy adulthood. Teenagers should aim to eat:
- five to six serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day.
- a variety of different coloured, different textured, and different types of food every single day. Variety provides a range of nutrition for your growing body.
- wholegrain breads and cereals, instead of more refined or “white” ones. This helps keep your bowels happy and healthy and provides more nutrition.
- a variety of protein and “good” fat foods, like nuts, fish, lean meats and poultry, and spreads such as hummus or avocado, to sustain growth.
- less takeaway and fast foods. These foods are usually high in energy, but low in nutrition. Examples include biscuits, pastries, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, french fries and potato chips.
- plenty of calcium for growing bones. Milk, yoghurt and cheese (mostly reduced fat) or their calcium-fortified alternatives are a great source to include everyday. You can also get some calcium by eating vegetables such a bok choy, nuts such as almonds, and fish such as sardines (with bones).
- less soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, cordials and juices. Choose water if you want to quench your thirst. Water has the added benefit of not contributing to weight gain, and not contributing to tooth decay.
Eating well to grow well goes hand in hand with physical activity. Get off the couch or computer and go for a walk or do some sport. Get some sunshine as well (but be SunSmart)!