The eating behavior of adolescents allows for a number of points to be made.
Adolescent nutrition must be rich, varied and in quantities appropriate to each individual and to each moment, as we have already mentioned. This is a stage in which they must be made to participate, be responsible and be offered healthy options.
We will highlight a series of characteristics at this stage that condition us to force changes:
- The adolescent tends not to accept and question any proposal we make to him.
- They are governed by fashions, friendships and the media.
- The beginning of high school means for many a change of schedules (compressed days, earlier start of classes).
- Many will find themselves eating alone at the main meals (breakfast, lunch) and this will lead them to disorganize things learned in childhood, as they feel free and autonomous.
- We will not forget three topics that will have to be introduced and that can begin to distort healthy habits:
- The beginning of alcohol consumption.
- The consumption of toxic substances.
- The appearance of eating disorders.
How can we know if there is a problem in pubertal development?
The stages of sexual maturation developed by Tanner are used to evaluate the development and maturation in the period of adolescence.
It is again the pediatrician who will provide guidance on the correct development and, in case of doubt, will refer to the pediatric endocrinologist for re-evaluation. With the height, weight and body mass index curves adapted to the maturity stage, we will be able to determine the existence of a health problem and request the necessary complementary tests.
Healthy habits in adolescence
- Respect mealtimes. Skipping a meal causes more appetite in the following meals. Forget about snacking.
- Eat 3 portions of fruit a day and 2 portions of vegetables a day.
- Avoid red meat as much as possible (beef, lamb, pork…) and in the case of poultry the skin.
- 3-4 servings of fish per week are recommended (do not forget oily fish).
- Always drink water.
- Consume as little processed foods as possible (subjected to industrial processes for consumption). Avoid foods containing coconut and palm oil.
- Eating breakfast is highly recommended as it activates the metabolism after the “fast” of the night. This way, you face the day with more energy and you are less hungry at the following meals. Have something ready for breakfast so that you don’t feel lazy to prepare it in the morning. Something simple: the basic food would be a dairy product (milk, kefir, fresh cheese, yoghurt), wholemeal bread and a fruit.
- Throughout the day you have to consume vegetables, fruits, foods made from grains (better if they are whole grains), dairy products and proteins (meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds…) Vitamin and mineral pills are not a substitute for fruits and vegetables.
- Do not eat in front of a screen because you do not pay full attention to the food, you do not savor or enjoy it. The feeling of satiety will come to you late, when you have already increased your intake.
- Do at least 60 minutes a day of medium or high intensity sport.