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Help give your teenagers a healthy boost

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As their bodies grow rapidly and hormonal changes take them on an emotional roller-coaster, teenagers often seem to have lots on in their lives and healthy habits are low priority. It can be a trying time for parents too, but here are some suggestions that might help give your teenagers a healthy boost.

A healthy balanced diet is important for a teenager’s body get all the vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids it needs, parents know it but teenagers often ignore it. Many teenagers don’t get their 5-a-day and many don’t get enough calcium and iron.

A grab-and-go breakfast is often the only option they’ll consider, so have a selection of healthy cereal bars, toasted tea cakes, bagels and a full fruit bowl visible. Stock up your fridge with smoothies, mini juices, drinking yoghurts and milk. Even if their choice isn’t the healthiest, getting their body and taste buds in the habit of wanting some food before they leave the house is a great step forward.

Have an evening family meal with different types of cooking and a wide range of vegetables to choose from. Involve them with menu planning, cooking and shopping if you get the chance; having some of their friends over for a friend feast could be a great incentive to get them involved. Have plenty of healthy snacks at home, so both their hunger pangs and their bodies are satisfied: dried and fresh fruit, rice and oat cakes, unsalted nuts and dark chocolate.

The teenage years can be a stressful time and learning to cope with stress is a valuable skill for life. Exercise is a great stress reliever; it’s essential for healthy muscle and bone development and will help them get a better night’s sleep. After-school clubs are a great way for them to be active alongside their friends and doing a paper round on foot or bike everyday could help with their fitness and savings. Sessions on the Wii sports can also get them more active a bit more subtly. Keep their weekends busy but ensure they have some time to lounge around and relax.

Healthy food is good for their skin, their energy levels, their performance at school and while the greatest influence in this stage of their lives may be their peers, promoting healthy options at home and a healthy lifestyle all round can benefit teenagers as well as their parents and carers.

(Source: Heart Research UK: December 2008)

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Posted On: 2 December, 2008
Modified On: 16 January, 2014

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Created by: myVMC