Nutrition & Exercise Needs For Teens

Nutrition & Exercise Needs For TeensBetween balancing academics, a part time job and extracurricular activities, being a teenager is no easy feat. Your teen’s hectic schedule may interfere with receiving the proper nutrition and exercise his or her growing body needs. With these simple nutrition and fitness tips, your teen will have more energy to lead a happy, healthy lifestyle:


To properly nourish their growing bodies, teenagers need to be eating high-energy, nutritious meals that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat protein and dairy.

Fruits and Vegetables: When preparing your family’s dinner, a good rule of thumb is to make sure at least half of your child’s plate contains fruits and vegetables. Dark green, red and orange veggies are best, as they contain high levels of vitamin C, calcium and fiber. Adding fruits and vegetables to your dinner menu can be done quite simply and affordably. For example, simply adding romaine lettuce and a slice of tomato to your child’s sandwich is a great, easy way to get more vegetables into their meal. Also, swapping out your child’s regular after school snack of potato chips with carrots and ranch dip or a fruit cup is a great way to practice proper nutrition even while snacking.

Your teen’s daily diet should contain whole grains, which are packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, Vitamin B and antioxidants. Make their lunchmeat sandwich with whole-wheat bread rather than white and switch up your white rice stir-fry with brown rice. Starting the day off with a bowl of oatmeal and a slice of whole-wheat toast is a delicious, easy way to ensure your busy-bee teenager is eating enough whole grains.

With your teen constantly on the go, a protein-rich diet is a necessity to help him or her grow strong and have the energy to power through the day. Some protein-rich foods to pack in your teen’s lunch are: turkey, chicken breasts, eggs, beans, nuts, cottage cheese and greek yogurt.

Dairy is packed full of essential vitamins and minerals for your teen to grow strong and healthy, such as calcium, vitamin D and B and protein. A glass of skim milk with dinner is a simple way to ensure your child is consuming dairy. Yogurt, a cheese stick and cottage cheese are all delicious, healthy dairy options to have stocked in your fridge for snack time.


If your teenager does not play a sport, or even if they do and it is off-season, he or she may not be getting their daily dose of physical activity. Being physically active for at least 60 minutes per day reaps endless benefits for your teenager, such as weight control, increased flexibility and balance, better ability to focus during school and it can even improve his or her mood! Encourage your child to put down their game controller or turn off the Netflix and get outside and play everyday.

Being active doesn’t have to be hard or boring, it can be fun and invigorating when done alongside family and friends. Your teenager can be active through simple yoga poses or an intense game of tennis! Other fitness ideas include basketball, swimming, hiking, dancing, biking or walking your family’s four-legged, furry friend. Mix up the exercise routine with some favorite activities and you’ll find it’s much easier for them to “stick” with it.

Your child’s teenage years are some of the best years for making memories. Ensure their health and happiness by placing emphasis on their proper nutrition and fitness. The health habits they learn now are the habits they will carry with them into their adult years. For more information on your teenager’s nutrition or exercise needs, please contact Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow at 618-235-2311 or visit