Tweens and teens use a large amount of energy in their daily activities. All activity, whether participating in sports or just the normal activities of daily living, requires fueling the body. It is important for tweens and teens to eat in a way that helps them grow strong bones and a healthy body. They have busy schedules, which can create a barrier to healthy eating. Here are some ways that you can help them refuel throughout the day.
Tips for Making Healthy Snacking More Tween and Teen Friendly:
Here are some healthy snacks for tweens and teens to fuel activity:
A good rule to follow is to combine at least two food groups in your snacks. This way you are getting a more nutrient dense snack. Adding protein or fat to a carbohydrate choice prevents you from getting hungry as quickly. It is important to avoid sugary snacks like candy bars. Sugary snacks will cause a quick energy increase followed by a crash. Plus these foods don’t protect your child’s body from disease, obesity or early aging.
By fueling the body properly, tweens and teens will have more energy to perform their favorite sports, games, and fun activities! Eating healthy snacks keeps the body going throughout the day and will prevent overeating at mealtimes.
It is also very important to hydrate the body. Water is the best source of hydration. Try and stay away from sugary sodas and juice. These drinks contain high amounts of liquid calories, or calories our bodies receive from drinks with low amounts of nutrition. Drinking your calories can add up quickly and does not make your stomach feel as full as when you eat a meal. This can lead to unwanted weight gain. Sodas can also dehydrate the body, which makes water the best thirst-quenching drink. For those tweens and teens that are involved in intense sports that last over an hour, sports drinks can be consumed to replenish body’s electrolyte balance. But remember to keep these drinks in balance with adequate water since unwanted sugar can add up quickly. Sports and energy drinks do not have a regular place in the intake of minimally active children or adolescents since they contain a lot of calories, which need to be burned off with exercise.
More information on tweens and teen nutritional needs can be found on MyPlate.gov.