How To Help Your Teen Stay Healthy and Fit

By far the best support you can provide your teen is to encourage him or her to keep moving! There are so many interests of teens today that don’t require physical movement. For instance, teens love to text, email, surf the Internet, play video games, watch TV, or have fun with an Ipad. Technology has gotten the best of an adolescent’s life. The more you can encourage your teen to stay active, the better!


Other ways you can support your teen’s health include:

Eat 3 healthy meals a day. Three healthy meals should include at least 4 servings of fruits, 5 servings of vegetables, and 4 servings of dairy products. Use the following explanations to support your child in eating the right foods, especially during this time of his or her growth:


Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains: This should make up ¾ of every meal. These foods provide carbohydrates, which is primary fuel for working hard at practice. You only have a limited supply of this food source in your body so being sure to replenish this food type is essential. If you don’t, you’ll notice yourself dragging in practice.


Protein Foods: This food group should make up the other ¼ of your meal. These are foods like meats, chicken, turkey, fish, nuts, beans, and tofu. They provide amino acids, which are the building blocks for making other types of protein, and help you build muscle tissue. This food group is also a good source of iron. This is an important mineral you need to maintain your energy level.


Dairy Foods: The best recommendation for this food group is to have 3-4 servings per day. This includes milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese and ice scream. Remember to choose lower fat options as best you can. These foods provide high quality protein, carbs, calcium, and Vitamin D as well. During the growth of adolescence, you’ll be adding on 40% more bone to your body, requiring all the calcium you can get.


Fat: This is the primary muscle fuel you use during low intensity activities. Be sure to steer clear of the unhealthy versions and instead choose the healthy fats such as those found in fish, like salmon; and a variety of plant sources, such as nuts, avocados, and vegetable oils.


Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after any exercise. Water is best but flavored sports drinks can be used if they do not contain a lot of sugar. This will help replace what is lost when your teen sweats during his or her physical activity.


Stop drinking or drink fewer regular soft drinks. These drinks contain a high amount of sugar and create a high. However, after the high subsides, a low period follows.


Eat less junk food and fast food. Fast food is often full of fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar.


Get 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night. Teens need a significant amount of sleep while they undergo the physical, psychological and emotional changes.


Don’t smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or do drugs. This might require an ongoing conversation with your teen. He or she might be tempted to experiment or even may engage in ongoing use of drugs and/or alcohol. Yet, for his or her optimal health, it’s best to avoid these.


Watch less TV or spend less time playing computer or video games. As mentioned above, teens are often spending much of their time using technology. However, they can use this time to exercise instead! They can even exercise while watching TV, if they wish. For instance, he or she could sit on the floor and do sit-ups, stretch, use hand weights, use a stationary bike, treadmill, or stair climber. Exercise should be a regular part of a teen’s day, like brushing your teeth, eating, and sleeping.


Certainly, the health of teens can be at risk, depending on his or her circumstances. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood and teen obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Between 1980 and 2012, the percentage of teens ages 12-19 who are obese increased from 5% to 21%. On the flip side, eating disorders are also a large concern for adolescents. In order to prevent health concerns in children, these are suggestions for parents who want to support their teen in staying healthy.