What boys should eat

Teenagers have special diet requirements due to the sudden growth spurt and changes in their bodies. Encourage your son to make these changes:

Cut the fast food.
Fast foods tend to contain lower amounts of the right stuff: that's iron, calcium and vitamins A, B and C. These foods usually also contain more fat and salt. If he orders take-aways, try to settle for healthier options like a chicken wrap or a whole-wheat sandwich. Encourage a plain burger rather than one that's topped with cheese, bacon and other fatty ingredients.

Hold back on the proteins.
While protein is absolutely necessary for normal growth and development, be wary of overdoing it. Excessive intakes of protein can interfere with calcium metabolism, which can lead to osteoporosis later in life. Too much protein can also increase his fluid needs and this may put him at risk for dehydration while exercising. A daily palm-sized portion or two of lean meat, poultry or fish is enough.

Get some iron, man.
Due to the build-up of muscle mass during his teens, the blood volume of his body expands. An increase in blood volume calls for an increase in dietary iron intake. It's possible to boost his diet with iron without including unnecessary amounts of protein. Replace some of the meat in his diet with iron-enriched bread and breakfast cereals, dried fruit and raisins.

Zinc it up.
This mineral is crucial to the body’s normal development, especially his sexual maturation. There's also some evidence that zinc can help prevent acne. Work this mineral into his diet by serving  fish twice a week, and shellfish (e.g. oysters and mussels) every now and then.

Quench that thirst.
It's very important to maintain a fluid balance at all times. If he’s active, even more so. Exercise produces heat, and fluid is important for maintaining a body temperature that maximises performance. He should obey his thirst during and after exercise instead of just gulping down litres of water. Too much water can also be dangerous.

Get nutrition tips for girl teens.

For more about healthy family nutrition, visit Health24.

Do teenage boys eat healthily or do they need to be coached?

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