How to Keep Your Teen Healthy?

By Doris Vallejo-Aguilar, UT-Austin Spring Intern

Adolescence is a period of time during which teens are exploring their choices and adjusting to emotional, mental, and physical change. Not only do you have to worry about the choices your teenagers are making but you have to worry about their nutrition too! It is important we understand teenagers are going through their second major growth period. That is why the nutritional needs for teenagers increase greatly. In order to stay healthy, you have to make sure teens are eating right!

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Teenagers may engage in risky behaviors that affect their health. During the teenager years, body insecurity is a big deal. When teenagers want to lose weight, they may limit eating all together. Some teenagers take laxative pills or try to make themselves throw up. This can be bad for teenagers because they are not getting all the nutrients that their bodies need to grow healthy. This may also lead to eating disorders.

For more information about eating disorders visit

There are ways to stay healthy without these risky behaviors. You and your teen should take the time to plan grocery lists and meals. Make sure your teen eats breakfast every day. A banana or apple can be enough if time is limited. Packing school lunches and eating dinner with the family are ways you can keep up with your teens healthy eating.

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Below are tips to choose healthy foods:

Fruits & Vegetables
Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
Add tomatoes or spinach to sandwiches
Choose whole wheat grains like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal
“Power up” with low fat or lean meats like turkey or chicken
Choose seafood, egg whites, beans, nuts and tofu which are also great sources of protein
Choose fat-free or low-fat milk products
Choose Lactose-free milk or soy milk with added calcium


Physical activity will help your teenager stay active and healthy too. Running, hiking, dancing, soccer, volleyball, and basketball are only a few ways in which your teen can stay active and have fun! Teenagers should be active for 60 minutes a day. Being active with others also helps make friends!

While not nutrition specific, the Austin Healthy Adolescent (AHA) Program works with communities across Travis County. The AHA support the youth in becoming involved in their health and improving the health of their communities. For more information visit

Get educated about your teens needs to provide the best nutrition. Teenagers with good nutrition grow to their full potential!

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