I’m Worried About My Teenager’s Diet

The teenager’s prerogative of worrying their parents is something of generations both past and present. All parents want the best for their kids and will do everything they can to ensure their wellbeing and this includes providing a healthy diet.

The teenage years are a time of self-discovery and this undoubtably involves experimenting with their image which in this day and age is heavily influenced by social media. Boys typically want to ‘bulk up’ while girls want to be thin or a particular body shape.  However, in their quest to achieve these stereotypes of what they think the perfect body should look like teenagers seek out information on diet from unqualified influencers and celebrities touting weird and wonderful diets. In most cases little harm is done as they flit from one way of eating to another but in some instances, teenagers can take it to the extreme putting their health at risk.

Diet is important for teenagers as they are still growing so need essential nutrients to support things like bone health. Mental health is also a big issue in today’s teenagers and diet can play a role in this. Teenagers notoriously have the worst diets amongst the population and more so in girls than boys.

It has been shown that a significant percentage of girls in the UK do not get enough iron, calcium, magnesium and iodine. Boys fare better when it comes to their nutrient intake as they tend to eat more food, but this doesn’t mean they’re eating healthily as their diets are typically riddled with sugar and lacking in fibre while few manage to eat more than three servings of fruits or vegetables a day.

It’s still important that teenagers understand the importance of eating well but this is probably better approached by preparing healthy family meals and keeping healthy snacks in stock rather than nagging them to eat better.

Try these tips:

  1. Try not to worry as few teenagers become dangerously malnourished.  Even if they’re eating a lot of unhealthy foods these still contain various nutrients which will support their health.
  1. Try to focus on the times during the day when you are most likely to get them to eat something healthy – I have always found that breakfast is a good time to do this.
  1. Eggs are a brilliant option, and you could try a scrambled egg bagel they can take with them if they are rushing out of the house or a breakfast smoothie made with fruits, milk, oats and even a cheeky handful of spinach.
  1. Try interesting sauces like sriracha which is great on that scrambled egg bagel!
  1. Yoghurts are another good option and can be topped with fruit.
  1. Toast topped with peanut butter and banana is healthy and even breakfast cereals are fine as they are fortified but just try to check the front of pack labelling for the sugar content.
  1. Keep healthy snacks in stock such as hummus, cooked meats and chopped fruit.
  1. If you have savoury snacks in the cupboard then try flavoured rice crackers or even novel products like seaweed thins (great source of iodine).
  1. Try to keep unhealthy snacks out of the house as they will always be the go-to for most teenagers and the same goes for sweet puddings which you could try buying on the day you will be serving them rather than stocking them up in the fridge or freezer.
  1. Find dishes that appeal to your teens at dinner time.  Taco nights always go down well as do curries, chilli and Bolognese.  You can hide veggies in these dishes to boost their nutrient content and could try plant-based alternatives like Quorn.
  1. If your teens want to explore diets like veganism or decide they are suddenly going gluten or dairy-free then why not try just going with it for the whole family. 
  1. It’s really not that complicated swapping dairy milk for oat/soy, substituting pasta for rice/quinoa or using Quorn over mince.
  1. If you have teenage daughters that are pushing food around their plate at the dinner table or seem to never eat a proper meal, then try not to make a big deal of it even though it can be hugely frustrating if you have spent the time preparing dinner.
  1. Try a little and often approach making sure there are foods in the fridge and cupboards that they can make a small meal or snack of during the day. If you are worried that your daughter is losing weight, not eating and maybe training excessively then this may be something you need to address in a sensitive way rather than continually asking them to eat or what they have eaten.
  1. A multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good option for teenagers to help bridge any nutrition gaps that might exist in their diet. Choose gummies or sprays over tablets as they are more likely to take them this way.

All teenagers are different and there is no silver bullet when it comes to trying to get them to eat well. Don’t worry as food fads come and go like the wind. Try to go with the flow as much as possible and focus on the opportunities you have during the day to get them to eat well.

If you are concerned about your teen consuming energy drinks Click Herehttps://ionpadel.com/for-me/well-being-and-health/eating-well/what-are-the-long-term-effects-of-energy-drinks/

For further advice visit:



Rob Hobson, is a Registered Nutritionist ((RNutr, a  passionate foodie and has three teenager nieces.)  www.robhobson.co.uk


Related Posts

Download the App

Hidden strength the go – to, advice + support portal for 13 – 24 year olds designed to provide accessible and immediate support and chat-based therapy from qualified therapists to any young people who may be struggling with their mental wellbeing, completely for free.