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Healthy Diet Plans For Teens

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 2, 2022

Teenagers and adolescents are amongst the most important age groups that should follow a healthy diet plan. Not only does this set great habits for when you are older, but these are also the most active years of your life. Whether it's the performance of your preferred sport, starting a consistent workout regimen, and getting started within the workforce, or working your way up the ladder. Regardless of the reason, it's important to set yourself up for success in life - and that starts with what you put in your body.

In this article, we'll go over a great diet plan for cardio-focused workouts, strength training workouts, and ultimately, list 5 great superfoods to add to your diet.

Diet Plan For Teenage Runners And Lifters

Running consumes many calories, especially at this age in life. Teenage years are consistent with the highest metabolic burn of your life, meaning you can get away with eating, drinking, and a generally unhealthy lifestyle for a few years before you feel the negative effects. This is the reason why most take a step back later in life, as the body starts to slow and realize that it cannot run by itself anymore. 

This is good news, as you can use the early years of your life to develop great habits, and also set your body up for success to carry you throughout. As a runner, you can push yourself harder and faster, especially with good nutrition - meaning you can develop your muscle groups and cardiovascular system much easier now than later.  A diet plan for peak athletic performance on the track should include:

Plenty of hydration: This may seem obvious, but water is the best drink you can have, period. Regardless of marketing techniques, water hydrates you in the best way possible, all for no calories. Being well hydrated keeps your metabolism high, your skin complexion smooth, your muscles well-supplied, your attention and focus are increased, and athletic performance skyrockets.

Carbs are not the enemy: The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diets in the world, often called by other names, including Atkinson's and low carbs. While this diet has numerous health benefits and proven weight-loss results, it is not an ideal diet for a runner. Make sure you eat plenty of complex and whole carbs, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and quinoa - as they contain both the energy and protein you need for a sustained run and proper endurance training.

Vitamins, not supplements: It may be tempting to take performance enhancers and supplements, but at this age, a good diet with additional vitamin and mineral support is more than enough. Zinc, B12 (especially important for vegans), Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Omega 3 are the most important. Most multivitamins contain all that is listed.

5 Best Superfoods And Their Health Benefits

Health Benefits Of Baby Carrots

Baby carrots are nothing more than just carrots that have been harvested before they mature, but contain all of the same nutrients that a full carrot has. The popularity of baby carrots lies in their shorter growing times and bite-sized convenience that can be taken anywhere on the go. Baby carrots contain many vitamins and minerals, which help in many of the body's functions. They are mostly used for eye, kidney, tooth enamel, heart, cholesterol health, and antioxidant support.

Health Benefits Of Beetroot

Beets, beetroot, and beetroot juice are linked to many benefits, and also have a sweet and earthy taste that many people enjoy. Like most superfoods on this list, they will help fill gaps in your diet where you may be lacking. These are great snacks to eat on the go and may aid in completing macro nutritional needs. Of chief importance is the fiber, nitrate, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium support that it provides. Fiber helps in appetite control and healthy bowel movements. Nitrates help with blood pressure. Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium are linked to a stronger immune system, better muscle recovery, and an elevated mood.

Health Benefits Of Spirulina

Spirulina is akin to seaweed and grows in both fresh and saltwater, available at most grocery stores, usually in powder form. Being in this form makes it easier to add to any diet via shakes or baked into recipes. Spirulina contains many of the B vitamins you need but also contains iron and protein condensed into even small serving sizes. Spirulina will support most of your amino acid needs.

Health Benefits Of Bananas

Bananas are a true superfood, only containing water and complex carbs. They are great as a pre-workout or before a big tournament as they provide a great source of energy. Bananas are well known for potassium, magnesium, copper, and vitamin C.

Health Benefits Of Cherries

Last, and not least, cherries are one of the best foods that deserve the title of superfood. It is a small berry, making it extremely low in calories and high in nutritional content for its compact size. Cherries contain fiber, vitamins C, A, and K, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants, all for 0.5 calories per gram.

FAQs

Which diet is best for a teenage girl?

Teenage girls are at the highest risk of developing eating disorders early on in their life due to media and perceived/real societal pressure. This habit can carry itself throughout later stages, which will negatively impact health. Foods that contain protein, complex carbohydrates, good fats, iron/magnesium/potassium support, and plenty of calories are recommended. Some great foods for teenage girls include spinach, berries,  oats, carrots, bananas, and drinking plenty of water.

Is it good to diet as a teenager?

The term "diet" is often synonymous with strict weight-loss plans. This is not the case, as your "diet" simply means the food and eating habits that you follow. Restricting your diet as a teenager is not recommended. However, it is a great idea to start developing healthy habits, such as eating nutrient-dense foods, consuming low (or none) amounts of alcohol, and exercising regularly.

How should a teenager eat?

No one person is the same, but teenagers usually require a high amount of nutrients to feed growing bodies and fast metabolisms. Focus on whole fruits, vary your vegetables, choose complex carbs, have a healthy intake of protein, and switch to fortified lactose-free dairy alternatives.


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