Puberty & Nourishment…

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Parents often wonder what the reason behind their teen’s increased appetite could be and the reason is none other than puberty. Puberty sparks their sudden growth spurt owing to which they need a lot of fuel to keep going. This rapid growth, not only surprises the parents but makes them feed their teens at all times of the day…but the important question here is “What are they feeding…?”

Since teens spend most of their day outside, it is important for them to know alternatives to fried and fatty or MSG loaded foods. Also, not every meal they have at home may be home-cooked thus packet meals or home delivered food too needs to be monitored.

Mothers definitely take efforts to cook healthy and nutritious food which is appealing and tasty to her teenage children yet they must make sure to add the following nutrients vital for healthy growth of her kids.

Iron is essential for all teens yet it is especially important for girls going through puberty. During menstruation girls are prone to anemia and iron deficiency which may be avoided by consumption of lean meat or a diet rich in good sources of iron such as spinach, beans, eggs and raisins.

Protein, which is also found in lean meat and beans, helps bones, organs and other body parts to grow. Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein and so is seafood such as Tuna and Salmon which kids tend to enjoy in the form of sandwiches. Although, care needs to be taken if using margarine, mayonnaise or other sauces since too much of these nullify the good effects of protein.

You may notice that calcium intake usually decreases as children grow into adulthood and this affects their bones and muscles. Teens require about 1200 mg of calcium per day but we must avoid supplements since calcium is better absorbed from food. Minimum three servings of low-fat milk, cheese or yogurt should be included in their daily diet when going through puberty.

Folate or folic acid, which helps in cell growth and also prevents anemia, is found naturally in some foods such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, dried beans, lentils and in wheat. Including a meal rich in any of the above is sufficient to provide your kid with 400 mg of folic acid, which makes for a daily dosage.

Found in fortified cereals, lean meats and poultry, zinc needs to be included in an adolescent’s diet to help build and repair DNA which helps them grow. Teenage boys need 11 mg while girls need 9 mg of zinc every day.

Long taxing hours of study and sports leave kids drained out. The best solution to this is keeping them well hydrated all through the day. Water and other healthy natural beverages help combat dehydration, flush out toxins and provide extra energy. Sweetened juices, sodas and energy drinks are strictly to be avoided as they will not only add extra calories but may prove harmful as well.

Incorporating a balanced diet in your teenager’s regime will not only benefit during their puberty but this healthy eating habit shall remain with them, nourishing them, all their lives.

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