Growing Teenage Years


Being a teenager can be a tricky time.  It’s all about becoming more independent, finding yourself and working out want you want to do or become. It can also be stressful. 

As a teenager you have to cope with changes in body shape and size, changes in sexual maturity, relationships with family, friends and the opposite sex.  You have to take on more responsibility, deal with exams and finding a career path and becoming more independent.

How Can All This Change Affect What You Eat?

Most teenagers have their highest energy and protein needs between the ages of 14 and 18. This the time when you are rapidly growing. It’s also the time when your body starts to mature.

At the same time many teenagers start to experiment more with food. Maybe you have started to help prepare family meals or maybe you’re “going it alone” with the food you eat or have decided to become a vegetarian.

Tastes for different foods also develop and you might find yourself eating foods you disliked when you were younger.

Taking on a part-time job or becoming fully employed or moving away from home for the first time perhaps to college, can all mean more independence and starting to fend for yourself. It could include shopping, choosing, preparing and cooking your own foods.

And as you reach 18 you’ll be legally able to drink. It’s normal to experiment with alcohol but take care as drinking too much can be dangerous especially if you are not used to the effects of alcohol.

Worried About Your Body Shape?

If you are worried about your body shape then you’re not alone. Many other people your age worry too. If you are already on the slim side, it’s important not to lose too much weight. Although it may be trendy to be slim, keeping yourself too skinny can be bad for your health.

Growing more and high energy needs do however provide a great opportunity for overweight teenagers to “slim down” a little. Regular exercise alongside regular healthy meals will help:

  • Improve your fitness.
  • Tone up your muscle.
  • Help you achieve a healthier shape.
  • Make you feel more confident and better overall.

Whether you feel you need to gain or lose weight, get advice from those around you including parents, guardians, tutors, trainers or your family doctor.  If you are working you might have access to an occupational nurse who could also offer advice. Whatever you decide to do, support really helps.

You’ll also find lots of advice, tips and support on this website. 

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