October 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm
We’re all familiar with the challenges some parents face while encouraging young children to eat (and enjoy) their 5 a day, but generally less is heard about teenage nutrition. This means that the recent news reports on teenage eating habits may have been surprising for some – with not enough fruit, vegetables and iron, and too much saturated fat found in the diets of many young people.
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey reports that many girls aged 11 to 18 are getting only half of the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake, and just 13% of boys are getting their full 5 a day. The issue of iron was brought up too, with 44% of teen girls said to be failing to get the recommended 8mg a day for girls this age.
Of course fruit and vegetables are an essential source of healthy vitamins and minerals, and iron is important for the production of red blood cells. So what does this mean for parents, who may feel they don’t have much control over their teenager’s food intake while they are at school, clubs or out with friends?
Many teens are at an age where they want to make some of their own choices about food – so helping them make responsible decisions by providing as much information as possible on the many benefits of eating healthily could make an impression. After this, it should hopefully become easier to encourage them to eat more fruit, vegetables and iron-rich meals: which should include ingredients such as meat, fish eggs and nuts. Discussing the importance of good nutrition may also help persuade teenagers to cut down on saturated fats – in turn reducing the risk of illness or weight gain, which could reduce the body confidence of teenagers with low self esteem.
Why not try providing some healthy options for treats? Our recipes for smoothies and apple flapjacks can work some additional fruit into the diet, and would make a great swap for a milkshake or a bag of sweets. Finding healthy replacements for foods high in saturated fats could even uncover some delicious news ways for teenagers to enjoy their 5 a day!
Join the discussion!
What are your thoughts on the recent reports on teenage nutrition? Maybe your healthy eating habits as a teenager have served you well throughout life, or you’re having trouble encouraging your child to eat enough fruit – whatever your opinion is on this topic, we’d love to hear it.