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Help Your Teen Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Help Your Teen Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Tips to increase intake!

Teenagers today...no responsibilities, no worries, no stress....and research shows little to no fruits and vegetables!  It’s true!  Unfortunately, getting kids to eat enough fruits and veggies continues into the teenage years according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

 

Researchers found that, just as with adults, less than 10% of U.S. high school students are meeting intake requirements for fruits and vegetables.  For teens specifically though, obstacles such as access to fruits and vegetables at home, cost compared to other foods, and taste preferences are all reasons that could contribute to lower intake. 

 

How much should they eat? 

Teens (14-18 years old) should aim for: 

Vegetables                            Fruits

Girls: 2.5-3 cups                               1.5-2 cups/day

Boys:  3-4 cups                                  2-2.5 cups/day

 

Knowing that teens often live in the moment, it can be hard for them to wrap their head around establishing healthy eating habits for their future.  Independence and decision making is also top of mind for them.  Having said that, here are a few tips to help them increase their intake! 

 

  1. Make them available. And this goes for everyone in the house! From baby carrots and celery stalks to apple slices, dried fruit and bananas in the fruit bowl, it should all be at eye level and easy to reach.
  2. Give them the opportunity to get involved in the weekly meal planning. Let them choose a recipe that includes at least one fruit or vegetable. Lasagna, meatloaf, kabobs, enchiladas anyone?
  3. Inform them of cosmetic benefits! Teens certainly care about looking good, so help them understand how micronutrients in fruits and vegetables can help them have better skin and healthy hair!
  4. Focus on their game. If your teen is active in sports, then they may be motivated to eat to win! Fruits and vegetables, can be a great way to fuel, hydrate and replenish electrolytes lost through sweat for a strong finish during meets, games and practice.
  5. Lead by example. Sometimes it’s not what you say but what you do that makes the biggest impact. Aiming to eat meals together as a family lets both children and teens observe what you put on your plate, what makes it to your mouth, and lets them know that eating fruits and vegetables is just part of life—it's just what you do!

 

Published May 1, 2021

 

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