Teens have very specific diet needs because their bodies are still developing which necessitates a careful diet plan if they need to lose weight. The major reason for obesity amongst teens is their like for cakes, pastries, cookies and other sweet deserts which are often very high in calories. But since they are still actively growing, a weight loss diet has to be specifically designed for them that not only aids in weight loss but also promotes normal growth and development.
The calorie needs for any teenager can range anywhere between 1600 – 3200 calories a day which largely depends on their gender and level of daily activity. Therefore, a one fit all diet is impossible but what needs to be taken into consideration is healthy eating especially low-carb meals. A weight loss diet plan for teens should include foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit and protein daily to take care of their nutritional needs and enhance the burning of extra fat.
Breakfast is not only good for teens by ensuring they are well nourished but also improves their performance in school. This is because breakfast kick starts the body’s metabolism ensuring that all body organs are functioning optimally which is good for learning. Breakfast for teens should include whole grains such as cereal with bran, non-fat milk for protein and watermelon for fruit or any combination that is low in calories but includes proteins, vegetables/fruit. Since teens are actively growing, milk should be part of their breakfast for bone growth as it is a very good source of calcium unless they are lactose intolerant. For girls especially, a good source of calcium is necessary for optimal growth as they are at higher risk of calcium intolerance than teen boys.
A perfect lunch should also contain some whole grains, protein and some fruit. It should include any of the following foods; peanut butter, bananas, whole bread, yogurt, carrots, celery, peppers, salad greens, chicken, walnuts, grapes, cheese and apples. These provide energy that keeps the teenagers active throughout the day but are also rich in fiber. As such, teens will feel less hungry and avoid eating sugary foods. The fiber in these foods also increases the metabolism time which can lead to burning of more stored fat leading to weight loss. Most importantly, lunch should be nourishing enough for the teens for their continued growth and good health.
Teens are at a learning stage of their life. They will start making eating decisions from what they learn from their parents and guardians. That is why it is important to eat dinner together with your teenagers and set a good example for them by making healthy food choices. Dinner should be a balanced diet that includes any of the following foods; turkey, cheese, brown rice, beans, vegetables and fruits. The secret is to avoid high calorie carbohydrates and increase intake of fiber-rich foods, proteins, fruits and vegetables.
This is where you should pay attention to as snacks are the major source of calories for teens that predispose them to obesity and other lifestyle diseases. Teens require snacks on a regular basis for energy and also to satisfy their hunger. Low-carb snacks such as grapes, almonds, popcorn, raisins, sunflower seeds, vinegar and nonfat milk should be encouraged as they are healthier and nourishing than processed foods such as pastries and cakes.
Foods that are high in sugar, sodium and fat only pump calories into teen’s bodies but don’t have any nutritional value. Because of this, foods such as ice cream, fast foods, doughnuts, chips, cookies, cakes, candy and soda should be limited or even avoided if possible in a teen’s diet. The empty calories not only pose a health risk but also promote unhealthy eating habits which can be difficult to unlearn at an advanced age. That is why it is important for teens to learn healthy eating habits while they are still young which can be sustainable in the long run.
Moreover, teens should be encouraged to lead an active life which not only keeps the metabolism active but lowers the risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Combination of the right balanced diet and exercise will lead to weight loss which can encourage healthy eating habits.