Help teens pick healthy food

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL– (PIA6) — Adolescence is probably one of the most confusing and experimental stages of the human life.

It is when rapid changes occur inside the body like hormonal surges which prepare the teens to face the real world and become adults, said Jund Rian Doringo of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-DOST.

According to the Philippine Dietary Reference Intakes (PDRI) by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), adolescents have the highest recommended energy intake per day, with an average of 2,800 calories for males and 2,200 calories for females.

A balanced diet fuels the growing teen body and boosts intake of nutrients for energy, growth, and proper functioning of bodily processes.

Here are some tips in getting your picky teens eat healthy food:

  • Be very hands-on with what they eat. Cook more meals at home and make each meal more interesting by adding fun and creativity to the foods.
  • Let them eat breakfast. This is a good training to instill in their young minds that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
  • Make eating a bonding moment between you and your teens. Make it fun by injecting themes or motifs every now and then.
  • Walk the talk. It is important that your teens see that you practice what you preach by eating nutritious foods and staying healthy.
  • Make them involved by having them help you in the kitchen. Try to bring them to the grocery with you too.
  • Don’t force them to eat foods that they don’t like. They will only loathe the foods you give them.
  • Introduce them to different food items from time to time. This will make their diets more varied.
  • Instead of serving your teens sugary desserts, try stocking fruits in the fridge and serve the fruits as desserts. Fruits like mangoes, grapes, and apples are as delectable as cakes but not as high in calories.
  • Disguise healthy foods by adding them to a classic dish. Add vegetables like carrots and celery with meatballs or add squash with pudding.
  • Include calcium-rich foods in their diet for bone growth. According to the PDRI, adolescents have the highest recommended calcium intake per day at 1,000 milligrams (mg).
  • Make a healthy snack ready. Most of the time, teens will always be hungry and will ask for food.

Aside from the biological changes in the body, this is the period when outside influences have great impacts to the decisions of the adolescents in creating self-concept, sense of identity, sexual orientation, and self-esteem.

Consequently, it is the best time for family values and ties to shine through the whole process of an adolescent so that they become comfortable in accepting social roles and responsibilities in the community. What better way to strengthen this tie than through healthy eating. (JSC/Lljr-PIA6 Negros Occ.)