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Even though the brain has completed most of its growth by adolescence, it still continues to make vital connections. Second to infancy, adolescence is the most critical time for nutritious eating. This is another window of opportunity for brain growth when a healthy diet is important. However, adolescence is generally a time when there is a lack of essential omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. There are several reasons for this deficiency: Adolescents tend to eat a lot of saturated fat foods and foods that contain hydrogenated fats. Also, due to pressure to please their peers and compete in athletics, teens often restrict their fat intake in order to keep fit and trim. When they cut out fat in general, they also cut out healthy fats, such as the omega 3's found in cold water fish, like Salmon. During teenage growth spurts, adolescents need extra calories, and they should be nutritious ones. Most teens are over fed and undernourished, teen brains need more fish and fewer fries. Here are some tips to improve the growth and performance of your teen.
This form of teaching uses the principle of “relevance.” In order for a message to sink in, teens must believe the nutritional message has specific reference to them. Be specific. Tell them how it is going to affect their growth, their looks, their emotional feelings, their sports performance, or whatever seems to be the most important to the teen during that particular week. Besides, "grow foods" call nutritious foods: "soccer foods," "football foods," or whatever she's into. Since omega 3's contribute to healthy skin we call salmon "pretty skin food" for the appearnce-concious teen.
Here are the specific extra nutritional needs of your teen:
Finally, avoid the Barbie Doll syndrome. Teen magazines can be hazardous to your children’s emotional and nutritional health, leading them to feel that they can never measure up to the perfect body and perfect skin on the perfect model shown in the magazine. Many teens equate their self-worth with what they look like – an unhealthy perception that is fostered by the unrealistic photos and messages in publication targeted to adolescents.
One of the ways that we have shaped the tastes of our adolescents is to have frequent one-on-one “dates” or “sport outings” with our teens. Either Martha or I take our teen to one of their favorite restaurants with the condition that it must have an exciting and nutritious salad bar. Watching how we carefully select a variety of fruits, grains, and vegetables will, we hope, have a lasting effect on the eating habits of our teens.