Energy is the fuel for the human body to grow, develop, and function. The energy produced by the food is used by the body to perform basic functions, physical activity, and also for the growth and development of cells and tissues.
The body derives this energy in the form of calories from the food that an individual consumes. Along with calories, the food provides various other nutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
The requirement for calories and all other nutrients varies within all age groups. Age, gender, physical activity pattern, and physiological condition of the individual are the factors that decide the nutritional requirement of any individual.
Teenage/ Adolescence is a period of rapid growth and development. It marks the onset of puberty and significant physical development in both boys and girls. Usually, the growth spurt in girls occurs at the age of 12 years, and in boys, it occurs at the age of 14 years.
The nutritional needs of teenagers are high as their body is still growing. This age brings with it a lot of physical and metabolic changes. These changes are associated with an increased requirement of all the nutrients.
National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have listed the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for various nutrients for adolescents.
Total calorie intake for the day depends largely on the weight of the teenager. Peer group influences, social media, availability of a large variety of foods, and lack of physical activity can result in overweight/ obesity.
In this situation, the total calorie intake of the teenager has to be adjusted accordingly without compromising on other nutrients so as to be able to support the physical and psychological transition from puberty to adulthood.
It should however be ensured that the consumption of high-calorie foods such as cold drinks, junk foods, ice creams, chocolate, etc. be limited as these foods provide empty calories without any significant nutrients.
Proteins are essential for the various metabolic and developmental changes taking place during this period. An adequate amount of protein should be present in the diet so as to aid in the development of bones, muscles, and other organs.
For the protein to be used for development activities, it is necessary to have an adequate amount of calories, else the protein would be used for energy production.
Foods such as milk and milk products, eggs, fish, pulses, sprouts, soybean, nuts, and oilseeds are some good sources of protein.
Fats are an excellent source of energy, however, their judicious use is important to get maximum benefit. Dietary fats provide omega -3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are necessary for the development of the brain and nervous system. Fats also help in the absorption of various vitamins like Vit. A, D, E &K.
A diet containing mixed fats (both Monounsaturated and Poly-unsaturated fatty acids – MUFA & PUFA) is recommended. Since teenagers eat a lot of junk food, they compromise on healthy fats. Saturated fats like ghee and butter can be used sparingly, however, foods containing trans-fats (fried foods, cream, mayo, and the likes) need to be completely avoided.
Single-pressed olive oil, groundnut & soybean oil, refined oils, nuts and oil seeds, avocado, fish, etc. are some sources of healthy fats.
Adequate calcium is required for the development of strong bones. The bone development taking place during this period lays the foundation for the lifetime. A strong bone structure that develops during adolescence helps in the prevention of demineralization of the bones in older ages.
Diet deficient in calcium can make an individual prone to osteoporosis in later years of life. Along with calcium, Vitamin D is of equal importance. Sunlight, mushrooms, and egg yolk are rich sources of vitamin D.
Milk and milk products like curd, cheese, almonds, walnuts, soybean, green leafy vegetables, and oilseeds are rich sources of calcium. However, maximum calcium absorption occurs from animal sources as compared to plant sources.
Anemia is a very common problem in teenagers. Consumption of highly processed iron-deficient foods and unbalanced diets which do not provide adequate iron are major reasons.
The main function of iron in the human body is to make hemoglobin. Low levels of hemoglobin are associated with fatigue, weakness, headache, cold hands, and feet, lack of concentration, shortness of breath, paleness of hands and eyes, and brittle nails.
Animal sources like liver and meat contain heme iron, which is more readily absorbable as compared to plant sources of iron like dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, dry fruits, figs, raisins, and oilseeds. The presence of an adequate amount of Vitamin C in the diet helps in the absorption of iron. Lemon juice, oranges, sprouts, guava, and gooseberries are all rich sources of Vitamin C.
As the kids transition into adolescence, their nutritional requirement changes. Adolescence is a period of profound growth and development and the diet should be able to support this process.
A balanced diet including all vital nutrients in adequate amounts is the key to meeting all the nutritional requirements of teenagers. It is important to consume a well-balanced diet so as to get proper nutrition and avoid foods that are highly processed and are high in fat, sugar, and/or salt.
A healthy plate for teenagers should include whole grains, pulses, green vegetables, milk and milk products, fruits, and eggs/ fish/ meat to provide for the macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and fiber). Along with this adequate amount of water is also necessary.
Highly processed foods are usually deficient in important nutrients like protein, calcium, iron, and other micronutrients but are laden with calories. Excessive consumption may result not only in weight gain/ obesity but also in micro-nutrient deficiencies, the most common being anemia.
Healthy eating is the basis of a healthy lifestyle. The diet of teenagers should be wholesome with regards to all nutrients. Cutting down on junk and concentrating on balanced meals helps to cope with the growing demands of the body. A healthy diet includes eating nutrient-rich and whole foods from all the food groups providing adequate calories, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Instead, teenagers should be encouraged to make healthy food choices by including foods like buttermilk, coconut water, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. in their diet.
Weight gain is a common problem during adolescence and so is the concern regarding body shape. Excess weight/ obesity has many harmful health effects during teenage as well as in the later years of life. Taking care and getting rid of this extra “baggage” at the right time is very important.
Losing weight is not very difficult and can be comfortably done by following a healthy diet and physical activity. However, in the pursuit of losing weight fast, many times teenagers resort to quick fixes and fad diets which might not be practical and may be doing more harm than good to the body.
Here are certain tips which would be helpful in losing weight and keeping it off forever.
Athletic teenagers have different nutritional requirements as compared to their non-athletic peers. In addition to providing the body with extra nutrients for extra activity, the diet also needs to take care of their proper growth and development.
To excel in their performance, these teenagers require more calories and proteins. However, the nutritional requirements increase but there are no special foods or supplements which are required for improved performance. It’s just about including the right foods in the right quantities.
Whole grains like whole wheat flour, rice, quinoa, and porridge provide the right kind of fuel to the body. Along with energy, these foods also provide adequate fiber and other vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Deep-fried foods and ready-to-eat foods should also be avoided. The timing of consuming fats is also important. Since fats are known to retard gastric emptying, they should be consumed a little prior to training.
Nutrition Tips When Athletic Teenagers Are Travelling
Traveling as an athlete can be sometimes a challenging experience. Athletic teenagers usually follow a strict diet routine and following it during traveling can become difficult. Some tips to overcome these challenges are listed below.
To cope with the growing demands of teenagers, it is highly advisable to consult a clinical nutritionist in Delhi. All your queries regarding the diet of your teenager would be answered at SUGATI diet and wellness center. The nutritionist here is the best nutritionist in South Delhi. She would help you with your teenager’s nutrition plans, individualized according to their body needs and demands. Here you would receive the best guidance for meeting the nutritional needs of your teenager.
SUGATI diet and wellness center has the best nutritionists in Delhi who aim to work for the well-being of the people and improve their health.