Healthy Diet Plan Ideas for Teens

The percentage of overweight and obese teens continues to increase. Many diets for teens have similar goals as adults like eating natural foods and reducing sugar. However, some teen-specific tips include not skipping meals, comparing themselves to others, or trying fad diets.

lady holding a bowl of mixed fruits and oats

How serious is the number of overweight/obese teens? Today nearly one-third of children and teens are obese. In fact, the obesity rates among teens have sky-rocketed about 4x during the past three decades. This might be surprising since teens generally have a higher metabolism than middle-aged and senior adults. However, in recent decades fast food and junk food has become increasingly popular and especially among youngsters. This is one of the main causes of spikes in obese kids and teens. In fact, the issue of adolescent nutrition has even become related to school lunches. This has resulted in new ideas like serving water with school lunches. In this article, we will take a look at healthy diets for teens and some tips on how to follow it.

The approach that teens should take to lose weight and burn fat is similar AND different from adults. On one hand, they should also be eating healthy foods like lean meats, whole grains, and fruits/veggies. Teenagers should also reduce unhealthy foods like junk food and fast food. On the other hand, the situation is different since teens are still developing physically and mentally. For example, they actually need more fat than adults. Teens are also in a different social situation. For example, peer pressure can cause teens to have body image issues because they don’t think they have a “perfect” body.

Obesity On Childhood And Teens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in recent decades obesity rates among all American age groups have increased. In the past three decades from the 1980s to 2010s, it’s increased over 2x among children and is 4x higher among teens/young adults.  About one-third of all US kids/teens are now overweight or obese.

It’s important to note that “overweight” and “obese” have different definitions. An overweight person has a higher weight than their ideal weight range.

Meanwhile, an obese person has enough extra body fat to make them 20% heavier than their ideal weight. This a common situation among teens and young adults.

One issue to consider is overweight children have a high risk of becoming overweight teens and adults. This also increases the risk of various health issues. They include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer (some kinds)

Obesity can also have other negative effects related to teens’ health and wellbeing. This includes a shorter lifespan and other issues related to unhappiness and social problems. These situations can even result in stress or mental illness.

Studies show that overweight kids/teens have a higher chance of becoming bullies or being bullied. This includes actions like name-causing, teasing, and physical bullying.

It’s also important to note that a teen’s body image and personal identity are both critical goals for teenagers. The good news is they can get help from their parents, teachers, and doctors. 

If teens think they have a problem with being overweight or obese it’s important to talk to an adult they trust. The adult can help provide help and support to deal with the problem. Adults remember that being a teen can itself be quite difficult.

The situation can become even tougher for teens who are overweight/obese. So, it’s critical for them to get help to deal with physical, mental, and social-related issues.

Healthy Diets for Teens

Teens should try to develop healthy eating habits. This not only will improve their current health but also decrease their chance of developing various health conditions down the road.

For example, teens who eat fast food on a regular basis are more likely to gain weight than teens who only eat it from time to time. This might seem like a case of stating the obvious but it’s worth noting due to the market value.

Fun Fact: Every year fast food generates $570+ BILLION in global revenue. That’s higher than most countries’ economic value.

It’s important for teens to eat healthy meals/snacks. This will help to boost the amount of nutrients they’re getting in their diet. Calcium is one of the most important ones for teens to help promote strong bones.

Maintaining a healthy diet is important for people of all ages. However, it’s especially important for teens’ growing bodies. That’s why the current situation has become a global epidemic.

One thing that teens should understand is eating healthy doesn’t mean they have to become a “health nut.” The key is to eat healthy food most of the time. It’s OK to eat junk food sometimes or fast food once a month.

Eating fast/junk food daily prevents teens from getting the “fuel” they need for their everyday lives. Home-cooked meals are a better option due to less salt, sugar, and fat.

Tips On How To Follow Diets For Teens

1. Don’t skip any meals

This is a common practice among teens when they’re busy with school, sports, work, etc. It might seem like there’s enough time to eat breakfast, for example.

However, irony is studies show teens who skip meals have a greater risk of becoming obese than those who eat the morning meal.

A healthy and well-balanced meal can jump-start the morning and help provide enough fuel until lunch. Meanwhile, skipping breakfast can make it tough to concentrate during classes or perform well in sports.

2. Skip fad diets

Peer pressure can cause teens to try out fat diets. There are many on the market that are promoted by various celebrities.

The problem with “diets” is they might help to lose weight quickly. However, they’re generally not helpful for long-term health. In fact, they could even be harmful to a teen’s general health.

Another problem is reducing calories too much can prevent teens from having enough energy for the day. They actually need more due to their growing bodies, active lifestyle, and higher metabolism.

3. Eat enough fat

Kids/teens need more fats versus adults. Make sure to avoid unhealthy fat like saturated/trans-fat. However, your intake of healthy fats should be high enough.

4. Have a positive body image

One way to do that is to avoid comparing your body with others. It’s more common for teens to do this compared to other age groups. This is due to factors like peer pressure and social media (i.e. Instagram or Pinterest selfies). These factors can cause teens to feel unhappy about their body’s shape, weight, etc.

This can even become an issue for teen weight loss. That’s because people lose weight at different speeds based on factors like genetics and metabolism.

Even the reason for weight loss is important. Teens should take this step so they look and feel healthier. For example, youngsters shouldn’t try to have the physique of a certain TV/web celebrity through diets for teens.

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