Teenagers are at an awkward age where they’re starting to take on more responsibilities for their own health, but not completely.
Luckily, you as their parent or guardian can help. From knowing which vitamins are best for them to helping them with their skin health, we cover all bases in this guide.
In this article, you’ll find out about
Getting to grips with nutrition
Before we get started on vitamins and minerals, it’s important to ensure your teen’s diet is as good as it could be first.
Your teenager will be going through a lot of physical and emotional changes, which is why it’s vital to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need during this time.
What does a healthy teenage diet look like?
There are multiple components that make a healthy teenage diet. These include:
- A hearty breakfast – packed with wholegrains, fruit, yoghurt and healthy fats to provide them with energy for the whole morning.
- Nutritious snacks a few times a day – while crisps, sweets and fast food can be tempting, it’s best to stick to nutritionally balanced snack, think apple slices with peanut butter!
- Balanced lunch and dinner – much like breakfast, teens shouldn’t skip on lunch or dinner either. Instead, these meals should be a balance of a good source of protein, unrefined carbohydrates, vegetables and healthy fats.
- Plenty of water – it’s easy to overdo it on sugary drinks, so staying hydrated with water is the best course of action.
4 healthy snack ideas for teens
Low sugar flapjack – while these flapjacks are low in added, refined sugars, they do have a sweetness to them, thanks to the bananas!
Banana and coconut bread – for something a little more indulgent (without the processed ingredients) why not try baking a banana and coconut bread?
Frittata muffins – if sweet treats aren’t their thing, you could have a go at these savoury frittata muffins for a healthy dose of protein and vitamins.
Tahini, sea salt and manuka snack balls – for a healthy snack packed with quality ingredients, try your hand at making these raw snack balls for your teens to enjoy.
The lowdown on vitamins
Understanding which vitamins to take as an adult can get pretty complicated, so knowing what’s best for your teen is no easy feat.
So to get you started, we’ve listed all the different vitamins that may be beneficial, and why, below.
Which vitamins should teenagers take?
It goes without saying that teenagers need the same vitamins and minerals as the rest of us, but there are some that may be particularly key to take during puberty. These include:
- Vitamin D – this is essential for growing children and teenagers, as it supports the growth of healthy bones as well as controls the level of calcium in their blood.1
- Vitamin C – this is another key vitamin for growing teenagers, as vitamin C is used by the body to create collagen which is a protein that givesstructure and elasticity to our bones, muscles and skin.2
- Vitamin B6 – with many potential benefits for teens, this particular B vitamin plays an important part in regulating emotional health and supporting the function of the immune system.3,4
- Vitamin B12 – this is especially important if they’re vegetarian or vegan, as it’s mainly found in meat and dairy.
- Calcium – this mineral is super important for maintaining strong bones and teeth – but also supporting nerve and muscle function too.5
- Omega 3 – these essential fats help with sleep disturbances in under 18s, as well as supporting heart and brain function.6
Does gender affect this?
Teenage girls may require more iron supplements than teenage boys, due to the loss of blood during their period.
But other than that, dosage and requirements are roughly the same for boys and girls.
Supporting skin health
We were all teenagers once, and many of us can probably recall having issues with our skin. So what can you do to help?
Encourage them to stick to a simple skincare regime, a healthy diet and to prioritise relaxation.
Why is a skincare routine important?
A simple skincare routine in the morning and a night is a great way to help your teen keep their skin happy.
This will consist of a gentle cleanser, a moisturiser and an SPF (to use in the morning).
A routine like this is key for cleaning their skin of excess oils, dirt and makeup if they wear it, keeping it hydrated and protected from the sun’s UV rays.
Common causes of skin issues in teens
- Blemishes – these are often caused by overactive oil glands, plus a build up of oil, dead skin and bacteria7
- Cold sores - it’s common for teenagers to develop cold sores as the HSV-1 virus can lay dormant in their system until their hormones start to change8
- Excess sweating – otherwise known as hyperhidrosis, this can often happen in teens and is sometimes caused by stress9
10 skincare tips for teenagers
If they have blemishes, try using skincare products tailored to skin prone to blemishes to help keep breakouts under control.
Use skincare gels specifically created for spots on angry pimples to try and calm them.
Avoid picking! While it may be satisfying to pop a zit, it only makes them worse as it can spread bacteria.
Cleanse skin every morning and night, and after any intense exercise and sweating.
Use a non-comedogenic moisturiser to keep skin soft without clogging pores.
Use SPF every morning after moisturising, even in winter.
Avoid the use of products that is not suitable for their skin type. Find out what their skin type may be using this questionnaire.
Never go to bed with makeup on as this can lead to breakouts.
Try not to let them touch their face, only do so with clean hands when necessary.
Remember that consistency is key with a skincare routine.
Prioritising quality sleep and relaxation
As an adult, we understand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep every night.
It helps us function the next day, improves our mood and allows our body to restore and recover – and the same goes for teens.
Why is sleep so important for teens?
In fact, some experts believe that sleep may be even more important for teenagers.
This is because these years are a formative period, meaning that the brain and body are still developing.10
The National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep recommend that teenagers get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night – but many don’t stick to this.11
Sleep is super important for teens, as proper physical, mental, social and emotional development needs sleep of high quality.12
5 tips for aiding sleep and relaxation
Allowing 8 hours or more for sleep, every single night.
Creating and sticking to a bedtime routine, whether that’s 30 minutes of reading, a quick shower or some relaxing yoga before they hit the sack.
Limiting caffeine from energy drinks to the morning and early afternoon.
Not going on electronic devices for half an hour before bed, and keeping their phone on silent mode throughout the night – extra points if their phone isn’t within hands reach.
Creating a cool, calm sleep environment with comfortable bedding and nightwear.13
The final say
Looking after your teen’s health can seem pretty impossible, but with a little perseverance and support you can help them to become the best version of themselves – so don’t give up.
Got little ones in the family too? Learn the 21 signs of stress in children and how to help today.
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Last updated: 4 April 2022