Feeding a baby and feeding a teenager are not that dissimilar. Like babies, teenagers are always hungry and it can sometimes be a mystery what to feed them. I buy healthy food, but I’m never sure that my boys are getting enough variety or if they’re eating too much of one thing. I was lucky enough to get all of my nutrition questions answered by Dr. Tanya Altmann at a recent event for Stonyfield Organic Baby Yogurt.
I asked Dr. Altmann about my boys who are 12 and 14. They are both growing like crazy and eating a lot because they’re active and always hungry. My older son will eat 3 apples or two containers of blueberries and a couple of bagels with cream cheese in one sitting. I asked her if that’s okay – if he’s hungry should I just let him eat until he’s full? And then let him eat again?
“Active teenagers do need lots of calories,” she said. “Often they’re burning thousands of calories” during the day at school and after school when they’re participating in sports.
“As long as your child is otherwise a healthy weight and there are no other medical issues, I usually say don’t limit good healthy food.”
You can’t eat too many fruits and vegetables, she said adding, “You’re not really going to overdose on blueberries or zucchini.”
Another burning question of mine was how to get my boys to eat a larger variety of foods – more vegetables and a variety of grains.
“As a parent you are your child’s best role model. You want them to see you eating fruits and vegetables,” she said. “See if you can get them involved. Plant some vegetables in your backyard. Take them to the farmers market.”
I used to be so good about that when my kids were younger. We would go to the farmers market and they would pick out something interesting. But it’s hard with work and all of their activities to find the time. She suggested making smoothies, which we often do and it makes me feel good because they’re healthy – with yogurt, fruit and sometimes vegetables – and it makes them full.
Which brings me back to yogurt. Stonyfield invited a group of bloggers to Claudine Artisan Kitchen and Bakeshop in Encino to chat about nutrition and Stonyfield’s organic yogurt. Claudine was amazing and had delicious baked goods as you can see from the pictures below.
One thing that has always bothered me about some yogurts marketed to kids is the amount of added sugar in the kids yogurt. I was happy to learn that Stonyfield has plain baby yogurt and is introducing YoBaby yogurt with no added sugar. Mango is the first flavor and it will come out in the next couple of months.
Dr. Altmann also talked about the Eleven Foundation Foods Every Baby Needs that can also work with growing teenagers. She recommends the following foods be introduced between 6 and 12 months of age:
- Eggs – a healthy source of protein, fat and other nutrients
- Prunes – prunes help keep things moving and they have vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
- Avocados – they’re high in potassium, fiber and healthy fats
- Fish – good for the brain and a natural source of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids
- Dairy – dairy products pack a powerful punch of essential nutrients including calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin D
- Nuts – nuts and nut butters are a great vegetarian protein option and have healthy fats
- Chicken and Legumes – chicken and beans are a healthy source of iron, protein, zinc and fiber
- Berries and Citrus – these fruits contain vitamin C and antioxidants
- Green Vegetables – great way to deliver vitamins and minerals
- Whole Grains – oats, quinoa and barley are a great source of energy and fiber
- Water – it’s important to start healthy habits early and drinking enough water is good for everyone
Disclosure: MomsLA was not compensated for this post. I was provided brunch and Dr. Altmann’s book for review.
Disclaimer: The content in this post is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice for your physician before or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.