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Teen Nutrition

Although healthy habits begin to develop early in your child’s life, it’s not too late when they are teenagers! While it’s sometimes difficult to see, teenagers are still strongly influenced by the choices and behaviour of their parents or caregivers.

Influence your teenager’s eating habits:

  • Continue to offer regular family meals with no TV or distractions
  • Plan meals and snacks using Canada’s Food Guide
  • Practice your own healthy eating habits and avoid diets that restrict food choices
  • Raise your teen to have a healthy body image
  • What you buy is what they eat – keep healthy foods in the house
  • Teach your teenagers how to prepare food at home

Special Requirements

When a teen experiences a growth spurt, they require increased nutrients. All teens need enough calcium for bone growth and strength, protein for every body cell including muscles, carbohydrates and fats for energy, vitamins and minerals to make the growth happen, and water for hydration.

Teenage girls also have an increased need for iron, so be sure to regularly offer foods that are high in iron. Iron-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, legumes, and tofu. Vitamin C helps iron to be absorbed. Foods rich in vitamin C include kiwi, strawberries, citrus fruits and sweet peppers. Phytates and oxylates decrease the absorption of iron. Foods with these nutrients include coffee, tea, chocolate and raw spinach. Therefore, we recommend teenage girls eat iron rich foods with vitamin C rich foods, and not with phytates and oxylates.

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