Good nutrition is essential to everyone especially for growing teenagers. They require special diet requirements for normal growth and changes to their body. The following are the more important requirements:
Calcium - Drink your milk, eat your yogurt and cheese. Your body is still growing and bone-strength depends a lot on good calcium intake, not forgetting the vitamin D and phosphorus). If you are not getting enough calcium now, you may be prone to have brittle bones when you get older. If you are afraid of gaining weight, go for low-fat high calcium dairy products. Calcium is also found in fortified soy drinks and breakfast cereals, salmon, sardines, watercress, spinach, broccoli and almonds.
Iron - Girls, once you begin your menstruation (period) you will need to consume more foods that are high in iron. Iron deficiency can cause anemia. This condition will impaire your immune system and your body will be susceptible to infection. Anemia can make you feel tired and lethargic. So boys and girls, be sure you get enough iron each day. Include iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, legumes (beans), green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals. Have lots of fruits or fruit juices that contain vitamin C as it helps your body absorb more iron from the food you eat.
Zinc - These minerals are essential to your body. Zinc helps to strengthen immune system and promotes healthy skin. Foods that are high in zinc: - salmon, egg yolks, mushroom, spinach, lean meat and peanuts.
Balanced diet - Eating a balanced diet is very important for teenagers. A balanced diet is made up of food from the dairy, meat, vegetable, fruit and grain groups. Consume moderate amount of complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Ensure that you include protein such as lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs and tofu in your daily diet. Have at least 4 portions of fruits and vegetables per day. Cut back on deep-fried foods, pastries, fast foods, processed foods and carbonated or sugary drinks. These foods tend to be high in fat and sugar. However not all fats are bad for you. Some good fats are those you can find in tuna, sardines, salmon, nuts, avocados and olive oil.
Do not skip your breakfast no matter how late you are for school. Grab an apple or a cup of yogurt on your way out. Skipping breakfast will affect your concentration and alertness.