Healthy Dinner Ideas for Teens

Healthy Dinner Ideas For Teens Ensuring Adequate Nutrition


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Keeping in mind the nutritional needs of teenage friends; I am here today with my healthy dinner ideas for teens. Healthy dinner is much important for teenagers though we all need a healthy dinner. Importance of Dinner was already discussed in one of my previous articles. Today, I am focusing on teenager’s need as it is the age of rapid growth. Physical and mental changes occur at that time. To keep the balance with the changes they need a proper balanced diet especially at dinner time.

Content in this article

  1. Why Dinner Is Important For Teenagers
  2. Healthy Dinner Ideas for Teens
  3. Important Tips to Ensure Teen’s Healthy Dinner
  4. Importance of Family Dinner
  5. Reference

As Teenagers belong to developmental stage, they need extra care. They need enough nutritious foods to keep their physical and mental development uninterrupted. As their physical and mental changes are in rapid process they need extra nutrition to fuel and energize these physical changes.

A balanced healthy diet is essential for teenagers because of their nutritional needs. The diets that they follow as teenagers have a vital role on their adulthood.

Why Dinner Is Important For Teenagers

Three meals with some snacks help teens to meet their nutrition needs. Skipping any of the meals mean he or she will miss out proper vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates which can be the cause of lacking energy and concentration.[1] So, if your teenage boy or girl is thinking to skip his or her dinner he is going towards the deficit of nutrition.

Healthy Dinner Ideas for Teens

There are so many ideas for your teens like dinner ideas for kids or baby dinner ideas that help you to ensure your teen’s healthy dinner. Here are some ideas and required food groups for your teenage child to make sure the stage of his or her adolescence healthier.

Healthy Dinner Ideas for Teens

Healthy Dinner Ideas for Teens

Calories: A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition, calories refer to the energy and people get it from the food and drink they consume, and they use the energy in physical activity. As teenagers bodies grow rapidly they need to consume more calories. According to Healthy, adolescents need more calories each day than any other stages in their lives. Teenage boys need to consume 2800 calories each day and girls need 2200 calories each day.[2]

If anyone eats more calories than he needs, the body turns this extra calories into fat. Too much fat can lead to being overweight and other health issues.[3]

So, first of all you have to serve a healthy balanced diet that matches your teen’s energy needs. “Your child’s level of physical activity and stage of development determine exactly how much healthy food he or she needs”.[4]

Our teenagers need wide variety of fresh food from the food groups. Here is the list of the groups.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate is the essential food ingredient at dinner for our teens. Bread, pasta, rice, corn etc are the source of carbohydrate. There are two types of carbohydrates- Simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugar. Fiber and starch are complex carbs. Complex carbohydrates are key to long-term health. They help to maintain your teen’s weight. Carbohydrates also help to guard against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems in the future.[5]

So, carbohydrate is the essential food elements that should be present on your teen’s dinner plate. Each gram carbohydrate supplies 4 calories or units of energy.[6]

Protein: Protein is important for your teen’s growth and muscle development. Meat, chicken, fish, beans are the good source of protein. Taking of low quantity of protein when your teens are going through puberty can lead to delayed and stunted height and weight.[7]

So, adding fish, meat, eggs at your teen’s dinner time is must. You must ensure the required quantity and also the source of the protein for your teen at dinner time. Moreover, oily fish provides omega-3 fatty acids that are important for your teen’s brain development and learning.

Iron: Iron is another important food element for your teens. Iron makes red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body. Teenage girls are particularly at risk of developing iron deficiency as their menstruation begins. It is important to store of adequate iron as menstruation becomes more regular and heavier.[8]

The best source of iron is animal-based foods, especially red meat and offal. Chicken, fish, turkey are also the source of iron.[9] Hope you will think further before cutting off iron from your teenager’s dinner plate.

Dairy Products: Your teen can fulfill the need of calcium from their dairy products. In puberty calcium helps to reach peak bone mass and builds strong bones. Milk, cheese and yogurt are the great source of calcium. Try to serve him milk or a dish made with cheese for your teen’s dinner. If he does not like dairy products you can fulfill the needs of calcium serving him tofu, broccoli, nuts, seeds, salmon and calcium fortified foods to fill the deficit of calcium.

Fruit and Vegetables: Your teens get energy, vitamins, anti-oxidants, fiber and water from vegetables and fruits that protect your child from all kinds of diseases. These are also important for their eyes and skin. It is recommended to eat two servings of vegetables a day. So there is no space for you to cut off vegetable and fruit from your teen’s dinner menu.

Fat: Fat supplies energy. Consuming much fat is not good for your teenagers. Excess fat may cause of heavy weight of your teen. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for your teens. Which foods are considered as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats were discussed in my last article “Dinner Ideas for Kids”.

Vegetarian Dinner Ideas: In the above discussion I have given dinner ideas for teens who are habituated with non-vegetarian foods. So how you can handle the nutrition needs of your teen if he or she is following vegetarian diets. Here are the ideas:

There is a wrong conception that vegetarian diet cannot provide all basic needs of nutrition. If you are careful enough you can provide a balanced diet at dinner with vegetarian foods.

When meat and animal products are avoided, you need to take extra care to ensure protein, vitamins, iron and other minerals that are needed for your teens.[10]

Pulses, bean curd, soya protein, nuts, milk, cheese are the source to fulfill the needs of protein.

Leafy green vegetables, pulses, dried apricots are essential to serve them enough iron.

Important Tips to Ensure Teen’s Healthy Dinner

Here are some tips that you need to follow to ensure your teen’s healthy dinner:

  • You will find better result with these food elements that are suggested above to serve, if you boil or bake the foods while you are cooking dinner for your teens.
  • Decrease the use of butter and heavy gravies.
  • Encourage your teens to drink fresh water. Encourage them to avoid drinks that are high in sugar.
  • Encourage them to eat whole fruit as fruit juice has lot of calories.
  • Encourage them not to avoid three meals. There is no option to skip dinner filling the stomach with junk food.

Importance of Family Dinner

I like to focus on another point that is every parent needs to spend a quality time with their teenagers. As we all are passing busy days and meeting our personal commitments, dinner is the only time when we can spend time with our kids. Dinner time is not only important to have a healthy meal, it gives us the opportunity to interact with our children. It is the only time when we get the opportunity to know our children’s views and thinking. They get good opportunity to know many things from us which help them later in life. I have discussed elaborately the benefits of family dinner to have a good impact on your children’s food habit in my last two articles- “Baby Dinner Ideas” and “Dinner Ideas For Kids”. By following these ideas, you can be the idol of your kids to have healthy dinner that will also work in their adulthood to lead a healthy life.

I hope my ideas will help the parents of teenagers who were not aware adequately how they can help their children providing a healthy dinner which is their vital for them. My young teenager friends will also get the benefit if they follow my ideas to have healthy dinner to build themselves as healthy both mentally and physically. My young friends, it will not be wise forgetting that we all need to nourish our physical and mental health as both are correlated with each other.

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By Post : Sep 04, 2018

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