Health Library
Adolescent Nutrition

What Nutrition Should You Give an Adolescent?

Adolescence is the second-fastest growth stage in life after infancy. The adolescent’s growth spurt during this period creates an increased need for many nutrients. Eating right assures an adequate amount of key nutrients: calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and D. Some teens have a need for even more nutrients if they are active in sports, following a special diet, have an eating disorder or are pregnant.

Healthy Eating During Adolescence − Recommendations

  • Parents / caregivers should set a good example in food/beverage choices and exercise.
  • Make healthy foods, snacks and fluids available: fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins, water and sugar-free drinks.
  • Make time for family meals.
  • Avoid more than two hours a day of TV, computer and video games.
  • Encourage your teen to participate in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking.

Eating Out

Teens make food choices based upon hunger, appeal for food, time and convenience. Encourage healthy choices when eating out. Visit websites which offer nutrition facts and eating-out recommendations.



Dieting is a common concern during adolescent years. Diet trends can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as restricting intake, skipping meals, taking diet pills or purging after a meal. Contact your child’s healthcare provider if you have concerns about these or other eating behaviors.

Last Updated 04/2021

Reviewed By Jordan Bierman, RD

Visiting Cincinnati Childrens.

Cincinnati Children’s has primary care services at locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.