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Diet Tips for Teenagers

Teens these days are becoming independent and are making their own decisions when it comes to food. Meal convenience and peer influence cause teens to eat unhealthy food items such as fast food, wrong food groups, soft drinks, or processed food. But at the same time, growth spurts and an increase in appetite also increase the requirement to include healthy eating in the diet.

So, if you are a parent of a teen, you need to keep a watch on what he/she is eating.(1, 2)

Diet Tips for Teenagers

Diet Tips for Teenagers

The most important part of a healthy lifestyle is eating healthy. This should be instilled in a child from a very young age. But before making your kid follow a specific diet, it is advisable to discuss the diet or any changes to their diet with a health expert or dietician.(3)

Given below are some tips for parents to take care of the health of their teenagers:

  • Eating three small meals a day along with healthy snacks in short intervals is recommended.
  • Fruit juices, sodas, and sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar, so it is always better to limit the intake of these and instead opt to eat whole fruits instead. (4)
  • Reduce usage of salt. Usage of heavy gravies and butter should be reduced.
  • It is essential to make sure that the overall intake of sugar is low. So, take care of this thing.(5, 6)
  • Try to include baking, broiling, roasting or grilling instead of frying the food in oil while cooking for your kids.(7)
  • Reduce the intake of red meat, and choose more lean cuts, chicken, and fish instead.(8)
  • Opt for a fruit or vegetable when looking for a snack.
  • You can also take the help of any renowned health app to assist you and your teen eat a healthy diet with a variety of foods while guiding you with the right number of calories and fat. (9, 10)
  • Teens should be taught to make healthier food choices by involving them in the process of preparing the food and allowing them to select the food items based on their nutritional value.
  • Choose food items containing fibre, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.(11, 12)
  • Calories play a big role when it comes to weight control. If your kid needs to reduce weight, cut the amount of calorie intake and reduce the portion size. Limit the intake of processed food helps with limiting the calorie intake and also increases the intake of nutritious food.
  • Teens should be encouraged to drink water or any other fluid, especially during physical exercise to prevent dehydration.(13, 14)
  • Provide your children with books, magazines, and articles that are designed especially for teenagers and encourage them to find out more about nutrition and let them grow their interest in nutrition, cooking and health. Let them find out more about healthy eating by themselves. When preparing food at home, take their input about what they want to eat.
  • Discover food items that aren’t part of your culture to provide them with a variety of options to eat.(15, 16)
  • Teens often prefer to eat out of convenience, so make sure a variety of options of nutritious food is available for them to snack on whenever they are hungry.
  • Do not stock up any food at home that you don’t want your children to have.(17)
  • Let your kid eat balanced meals. Make sure to include all the food groups in your kids’ meals to have a balanced meal.

There are 5 food groups you should add to the diet:

Dairy Products- Milk and food items made from milk are considered to be dairy products. It is advisable to focus on low-fat or fat-free dairy products and also the products that contain more calcium.

Fruits- The fruit group includes any fruit or pure juices of fruits. The fruits may be in different forms, for example, fresh, canned, dried, frozen, whole, or in pureed form.

Vegetables- Make your kid munch on a variety of boiled vegetables, like dark green – kale, broccoli, lettuce; red – beetroots, red cabbage, tomatoes; orange vegetables- carrots, butternut squash; legumes- black beans, peas; and starchy vegetables – corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc.

Grains- Grain products are the food items that are made from grains, like rice, wheat, barley, oats, corn, or any other cereal grains. Examples of grains are brown rice, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal etc. Whole grains are the best choice when choosing.

Protein- Protein comes mostly from some grains and legumes and also from meat. It is better to choose lean and low-fat poultry or meats. You can choose seeds, fish, nuts, beans, peas or other meats.

Oils aren’t traditionally classified into food groups, but you need to include some oils like nut oils because they consist of essential nutrients in your diet but in moderate amounts. You should avoid oils made from solid animal fat. (18, 19, 20)

With healthy choices of food, you should reduce the screen time of the teens to 1 or 2 hours a day. Also, they should be encouraged to do physical activities like outdoor sports or dance etc.(21)


Teens, irrespective of their gender may diet due to various reasons, like for any sport they play, pressure from society and peers to look thin among other things. This is causing them to limit what they are eating and this is becoming a common concern since a lot of teenagers start doing dieting. So it becomes really necessary to take care of the health of your teen as it will impact their further life. Do follow these guidelines to help your teen follow a healthy diet plan. With this, the diet plan should be followed with exercise and physical activities daily for the best result.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024598/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315356/
  3. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/
  4. https://www.nhp.gov.in/healthlyliving/healthy-diet
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7835960/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614039/
  7. https://familydoctor-org.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/familydoctor.org/nutrition-how-to-make-healthier-food-choices/
  8. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/meat-nutrition/
  9. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/take-charge-health-guide-teenagers
  10. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=healthy-eating-during-adolescence-90-P01610
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024598/
  12. https://familydoctororg.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/familydoctor.org/changing-your-diet-choosing-nutrient-rich-foods
  13. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20646222/
  15. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=healthy-eating-during-adolescence-90-P01610
  16. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/take-charge-health-guide-teenagers
  17. https://raisingchildren.net.au/teens/healthy-lifestyle/daily-food-guides/nutrition-healthy-food-teens
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3471136/
  19. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/09/26/back-basics-all-about-myplate-food-groups
  20. https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/consumers/healthy-eating/nutrition/the-five-food-groups
  21. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/healthy-eating-physical-activity-for-life/helping-your-child-tips-for-parents

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 12, 2023

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