Nutrition is of primary importance for the health and wellness of growing teens. We have compiled a list of healthy snacks for teens who barely get time to watch their diet.
Regardless of age, nutrition is very important to our overall health and wellness. Nutritionists recommend that we all consume three square meals a day and two snacks in between those main meals. However, as we get older our nutritional needs change and so do our lifestyles. For example, when we’re teenagers we’re usually more active and have different dietary needs than when we’re adults. This is why it’s important to choose healthy snacks that will give us the energy we need to get through the day.
There are a lot of healthy snacks for teens out there, but not all of them are created equal. Some are better for weight loss while others are better for energy. Yet others are better for overall health.
If you’re like most teenagers, you are always on the go. Between school, homework, activities, and work, there never seems to be enough time in the day. It can be hard to find time to eat a healthy meal, let alone fit in a snack. But healthy snacking is important – especially if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight.
So, how do you know which one is the best healthy snack for teens? Here’s a deep dive into the confusing world of hunger, nutrition, snacking and healthy teenager snacks:
Importance of nutritious food during teenage
It is extremely important for teenagers to consume nutritious foods as their bodies are going through a lot of changes and need the right nutrients to support health and growth. Not only are they growing physically, but their hormonal health is also undergoing massive transformations, which can impact their mood and energy levels. Eating healthy, and nutrient-dense foods help teenagers to manage their weight, have a healthy body, and develop a strong brain. Teenage girls, in particular, require extra care as many teenage girls tend to become deficient in iron and other essential nutrients, and thus require extra nutrients for their growing bodies.
Given the rapid changes, growth and the varied impacts of raging hormones in their bodies, teenagers often tend to experience massive changes in their eating and sleeping patterns. Changes in sleep cycles and strange and untimed hunger pangs are not uncommon. Eating healthy does not merely help to keep those hunger pangs at bay, it also ensures regularization of all other patterns, behaviors, and systems in the body.
Calories for teens
The healthier your diet National Health Service: How many calories do teenagers need?, the better your mental health, sleep patterns, cardiovascular health, and digestive health. Nutritious food helps teenagers to have more energy, stay focused, and get the most out of their growing bodies. Eating a balanced diet will help ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need to support their health and development.
Healthy food often guarantees a healthy, fit and glowing body, and an alert and efficient brain, giving teenagers the much-needed confidence boost during those years of heightened sensitivity and self-consciousness. So, make sure to include plenty of nutritious foods in your teenager’s diet!
List of 11 healthy snacks for teens
In a world where supermarket aisles and online pages are choke-filled with temptingly unhealthy, junk food options, it can be hard to make the right choices, especially for teenagers. The best rule of thumb is to go for natural, whole foods that are minimally processed. Here are some great examples of healthy snacks for teens:
1. Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or as part of a healthy recipe. Cut up your favorite fruits and toss them in a bowl to enjoy a sweet midday fruity snack.
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. They can be eaten alone or added to recipes. Snack on almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds throughout the day for a boost of nutrients and some much-needed healthy fats.
Yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. Probiotics National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Probiotics: What You Need To Know are live bacteria that can help improve gut health. You can choose between an endless variety of yogurts to fill up when hunger pangs hit. Depending on your tastes and health requirement choose from Plain yogurt, creamy greek yogurt, low-fat yogurt, fruit-flavored/sweetened yogurt, and more.
4. Whole-grain crackers or bread
Whole grain crackers and bread are a good source of fiber and vitamins. Alternatively, look for bread that is made with whole wheat or another whole grain.
5. Canned tuna or salmon
Canned fish is a good source of protein and omega-three fatty acids. Omega-three fatty acids are good for heart health. They are extremely essential for overall growth and good health.
6. Granola bars
Granola bars are a good source of fiber and vitamins. Look for granola bars that are made with whole grains and have no added sugar. Remember to check the nutrient labels behind the packaging and go for bars with natural sweeteners like brown sugar, dates, honey, jaggery, or maple syrup.
7. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
A classic favorite, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches are a good source of protein and vitamins. Make sure to use whole grain bread and natural peanut butter. You can try other nut butters like almond butter or cashew butter as well.
8. Trail mix
A mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, trail mix is a good source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. You can buy trail mix or make your own according to your preferences.
9. Celery Sticks
A great source of fiber and vitamins, celery sticks can be eaten alone or with a healthy dip like peanut butter or hummus.
10. Carrot Sticks
Carrots are also a great source of fiber and vitamins. Chop up carrot sticks, and bake them crisp or eat them raw with a healthy dip like peanut butter or hummus (or just crunch on raw carrot sticks, they are sweet and juicy anyway).
Edamame beans are a rich source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. They make for a wonderful mid-day snack or a side dish. You can try consuming them in different ways.
Healthy snack ideas for weight loss
There are some snack options like the ones listed above that reduce hunger pangs in a healthy way. There are some others that can actively promote weight loss and help teenagers maintain healthy body weight. Try the following snacks to boost your metabolism and aid in burning off that extra fat:
Almonds are rich in healthy fatty acids and proteins that give the body’s metabolism a temporary kick. Enjoy 12-14 unsalted, whole almonds as a nutritious snack, or try spreads like almond butter on whole grain toast.
These crunchy, sweet, orange veggies are rich in fiber. Fiber is essential for digestion. Little wonder then that carrots keep your metabolic system in an active mode for a long time, all the while keeping you full due to their rich fiber content.
Chili peppers are thermogenic food(s). Thermogenics PubMed: Chili pepper as a body weight-loss food cause the body to naturally produce heat, which is a process that requires the body to burn more calories. So spice up a bowl of salad with fiery chili pepper and feel that unwanted fat melt away.
Red bell pepper
A cup of bell peppers contains three times the amount of vitamin C recommended for daily intake. The great news is vitamin C is fantastic at fighting belly fat, so snacking on these little red guys can be a great way to help with weight loss.
Eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids. They are a source of complete proteins. They also contain vitamin B2, which supports metabolic activity for a more efficient fat burn.
Studies have shown that three servings of low-fat yogurt a day can help decrease body fat. The probiotics in yogurt also aid in better digestion, helping the body to better absorb nutrients and burn more calories.
This calorie-free beverage is rich in antioxidants that help support a healthy metabolism by promoting fat oxidation. Skip your unhealthy snacks and replace them with cups of green tea. Sip on it throughout the day to reap its metabolic benefits.
Water is essential for proper metabolism function and it has literally zero calories. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help keep you hydrated and keep your metabolism working properly.
|Worldwide Obesity Stats: (WHO June 2021)|
|Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.|
|In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.|
|39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.|
|39 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2020.|
|Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.|
Nightcrawler snack ideas: Healthy late-night snacks
If you’re up late working on a project or studying for a test, you may need a little something to snack on. Or you might just be the kind who wakes up every night with hunger pangs. Either way, it’s important to have some healthy late-night snack options on hand so you don’t end up eating an entire pizza or a pint of ice cream. Here are some late-night healthy snack ideas:
Whole-grain cereal with milk
A bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk is not just an easy snack to fix, it is also a great option for a healthy late-night snack. The cereal is rich in healthy carbs that will keep you energized, and the milk will add some protein and calcium. Milk is also a good source of melatonin PubMed: Effect of melatonin-rich night-time milk on sleep and activity in elderly institutionalized subjects : the sleep hormone. So it’s an excellent snack for midnight hunger pangs.
Veggies and dip
Try chopping up a plate of veggies with a side of homemade hummus to satisfy your hunger without eating a lot of calories. Choose veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers. The dip will add some protein and healthy fats to keep you full until breakfast.
Grab a cup of popcorn if hunger hits you late in the night, but steer clear of the movie theater popcorn, which is loaded with unhealthy fats and calories.
A piece of fruit or a handful of berries can give you some late-night natural sugar-kick to help you stay energized. Unlike other sugary packaged snacks and drinks that give you empty calories, fruits will provide you with some much-needed vitamins and minerals.
Yogurt is a tasty and healthy late-night snack option. Choose a naturally sweetened version if you like your yogurt sweet. It will give you some protein and calcium, and it can also help settle your stomach if you’re feeling a bit queasy.
Quick and easy healthy eating tips for busy people
As a teenager, you are bound to feel that you are always short of time and that there is never enough time to focus on yourself. With school commitments, friends, and fun taking up most of your time, there is very little time left to devote to food, fitness, and health. If you are always hard-pressed for time, it can be hard to eat healthy. But with a little planning and effort, you can make healthy snacking a breeze. Here are some quick and easy healthy eating tips for busy teens:
- Keep healthy snacks with you: If you’re always on the go, it’s important to have healthy snacks with you so you don’t end up eating junk food. Carry a bag of nuts, a piece of fruit, or some veggie sticks with you so you always have something healthy to eat.
- Don’t skip meals: Skipping meals is a recipe for disaster. Not only will you be more likely to make unhealthy choices when you do finally eat, but you’ll also be so famished that you’re likely to overeat. Make sure you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, even if you have to grab something quick.
- Make time for breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure you take the time to eat it. If you’re short on time in the morning, try a quick and nutritious breakfast like oatmeal or a smoothie.
- Plan ahead: If you know you’re going to be busy, make sure you have healthy food with you or plan to stop somewhere healthy to eat. It’s much easier to make healthy choices when you have healthy options available.
Eating healthy as a teenager can be tough, but it’s not impossible. By following these quick and easy healthy eating tips, you can make healthy eating a breeze. So there’s no excuse not to eat healthy, even if you’re short on time!
|↑1||National Health Service: How many calories do teenagers need?|
|↑2||National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Probiotics: What You Need To Know|
|↑3||PubMed: Chili pepper as a body weight-loss food|
|↑4||World Health Organization: Obesity and overweight|
|↑5||PubMed: Effect of melatonin-rich night-time milk on sleep and activity in elderly institutionalized subjects|