Teens need to engage in regular physical activities to stay healthy.

Your teenage years are when you grow the most; you may even sprout several centimetres in less than a year! As your body is primed for development, you need to ensure your body receives optimum nutrition.

Healthy Eating Promotes Growth

A poor diet may compromise your growth. You may also not reach your full height potential if your growth is stunted and a lack of the essential nutrients may lead to health problems and make you more prone to health risks.

Healthy Weight Range for Teens

First, check if you are in a healthy weight range. The amount of body fat for a growing teenager can vary. There are also gender differences. Generally, for teenagers, a BMI of between the 5th to 90th percentiles are acceptable. BMI for adolescents in the 90th to 97th percentile range are considered overweight while those above the 97th percentile are severely overweight.

A healthy body weight leads to better health into adulthood with a lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases and other health risks. Studies have shown that losing just 5% of your weight could reduce your risk of metabolism diseases, including diabetes.

Healthy Eating Habits and Healthy Food for Teens

​​​Fruits and vegetables are healthy foods for teenagers.

Healthy meals provide your bones and muscles with the nutrition that you need to grow. Make your own sandwiches or pizzas at home using wholegrain bread or wrap, lean meat, fresh vegetables and low-fat cheese. Eat more vegetables and fruits at home, since meals served outside often lack these.

Related: How to Eat Right to Feel Right

Healthy Living for Teenagers

Healthy eating and regular physical activities will help you maintain a healthy weight range.

Nowadays, people eat out more often due to longer school hours and a large variety of food options available. But you are still in control of your food choices, so choose wisely!

Those who eat fast food regularly are more likely to be overweight or obese as opposed to people who eat it occasionally. This is also true for sweetened drinks, sweets, chips, crackers, fried food and other processed foods. They are often high in calories, fat — especially saturated fat — and sugar, and are a poor source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that teenagers need for healthy growth.

Here are some tips for you when you do eat out.

  • Resist temptation
    One way to resist food temptations is to think before you buy. Giving yourself a moment to reconsider it rather than caving in immediately, can help to curb the craving and in turn, help you maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI).
  • Fast food
    If you eat fast food, choose healthier items from the menu. Don’t “upsize your meal” unless you are sharing it. Opt for grilled meat instead of deep-fried patties and replace french fries with a fruit or salad.
  • Drinks
    For drinks, water is the best. Stay away from vending machines or bubble tea outlets as sugary beverages add empty calories. If you need a chilled refreshment, head for the water cooler instead of drinking beverages with added sugar.
  • Dessert
    Even though an occasional dessert won’t hurt, developing a sweet tooth is a habit that will stick! If you feel the sugar craving calling out to you, pick a healthier dessert such as fruit or low-fat yogurt.
  • Snacking
    One way to lower your calorie intake is to eat proper meals and avoid snacking. If you really need to fuel up in between meals, pick healthier snacks such as nuts or fruit. Try not to have supper before bedtime. If necessary, have a glass of warm, low-fat milk instead.

Related: Getting the Fats Right!

Physical Activity for Teens

​​Partaking in moderate to vigorous physical activities will reduce health risks.

For a healthy mental and physical development, engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Keeping fit can improve your mood, sharpen your mind, and may even help with your skin. Find tips to start exercising here. A simple way to start is to take more steps each day and engage in regular physical activities.

Learn how you can work off calories even when you are watching TV, here. Don’t let your handphone, tablet or PC turn you into a screen zombie! Give your eyes a break and do some moderate to vigorous physical exercises to stay fit and healthy.

For your next outing, choose different types of regular physical activities such as cycling or playing badminton instead of sedentary activities like watching a movie and cafe-hopping. Gather your friends and family and take part in car-free Sundays, Sundays @ the Park and activities organised by NParks for some outdoor fun and a workout.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

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