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Wholesome  Nutrition for  Active Teens

Are you watching out for your teen?

Nutritional needs vary throughout a person’s life depending on their stage of growth and development. For teens, this means an almost insatiable appetite as they experience their growth spurts because of all the energy and nutrients required to build muscle, bones and skin. But, is your teen getting the right nutrition?

Being occupied with school, extra curricular activities,sports, after school jobs, family responsibilities and socialising with friends often leads teens to resort to compromising behaviours such as skipping meals eating from vending machines at fast food restaurants or snacking on foods high in sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats.

Parents can help their teens establish positive identities and healthy lifestyle habits by being role models and encouraging them to eat wholesome nutritious foods. Here are some of the findings in this area of nutrition along with helpful tips on how to work with your teen to help them become their very best.

The important difference between  a nutrient-dense and energy-dense food for teens nutrition.

  Whilst all foods provide some nutrients and calories, nutrient-dense foods are best for the body because they provide more nutrients than calories. Examples include whole grains, lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables. Conversely, energy-dense foods, such as refined carbohydrates, sweets and soft drinks, are typically poor food choices because they provide calories but very little nutrition. As you can imagine, too much energy-dense food will lead to excess calories,weight gain and loss of energy.

It is therefore important that growing teens get their energy and nutrition from nutrient-dense foods. Their high rates of growth, increased needs for calories and protein mean that more micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) are also needed to help metabolise the food into new cells and tissues. Without these micro-nutrients, their bodies may not have all the ‘ingredients’ they need to use the energy and protein consumed to make or repair cells.

Nutrients and micro-nutrients of specific concern for this age group include fibre, calcium, vitamins B and D, iron and folate. However, because of poor eating habits, skipping breakfast and high intakes of fast foods, the average adolescent does not consume enough vitamins A, B, C and E, zinc or magnesium. In fact, only 17% of males and 14% of females meet current vegetable intake recommendations (US)1!

Europeans are not consuming enough vitamins and minerals either, according to a recent study of eight European countries. It found nutritional deficiencies across all age and gender groups.2

Eating a varied diet of nutrient-dense foods is the best way to ensure that the body gets all the nutrients and micro-nutrients it needs to build skin, hair, bones and muscle during adolescence.

Pro Vitality+

For everyday energy! Pro Vitality+ provides a wide spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals to help bridge the dietary gap for young bodies. It also provides whole grain extracts, carotenoids from fruit and vegetables and all eight omega-3 fatty acids from fish.

What is the role of these  micro-nutrients in the body?3



Vitamin A

Contributes to the maintenance of normal vision, normal skin and normal function of the immune system. it has a role in the process of cell division.

Vitamin B6

Contributes to normal red blood cell formation and normal protein and glycogen metabolism.


Contributes to normal amino acid synthesis, helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Vitamin B12

Contributes to normal functioning of the nervous and  immune system.

Vitamin C

Contributes  to normal collagen formation and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. it contributes to the normal function of the immune system and increases iron absorption.

Vitamin D

Contributes to the absorption/utisation of calcium.

Vitamin E

Contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.


Needed for the maintenance of normal bones.


Contributes to normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin and therefore to normal oxygen transport in the body. it also contributes to normal cognitive function.


Contributes to normal protein synthesis and energy yielding metabolism. it also contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.


Contributes to normal DNA synthesis, to normal fertility and reproduction and to normal cognitive function.

Give ‘em the best

What growing teens need

to be their best


Build strong bones for a strong body

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 90% of peak bone mass is accrued by the age of 18 in girls and 20 in boys. 3  As it is important for females to build their bone mass during adolescence, the body actually exhibits its greatest ability to absorb calcium around menarche, with rates decreasing from then on. 4 The same holds true for males,

they have peak calcium absorption during puberty and will in general accrue more bone mass than females.

A number of factors influence the development of bone mass, but diet and behaviour are at the top of the list. A diet that provides an adequate intake  of calcium,phosphorous and protein as well as vitamin D and magnesium is essential for adolescents because bones are composed largely of and by these materials.

A recent double blind, placebo-controlled study found that supplementation with vitamin D provided musculoskeletal benefits in adolescent girls. 5 As even moderate insufficiencies leads to significantly weaker bones and hinders the attainment of peak bone mass and final height, 6 the Endocrine Society

Kal-Mag Plus D Each serving provides:

450 mg calcium, 225 mg magnesium and 5 ug Vitamin D.

recommends at least 600 IU/day in order to maximise bone mass and supplements for those who do not get this from dietary sources or who do not spend enough time in the sun. 7

You need it too! Calcium and vitamin D intake–important for adults too!

Whilst the majority of your bone mass is accrued during adolescence,it is never to late to ensure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients to maintain the bone density you created, Adequate calcium, magnesium and vitamin D are necessary for the maintenance of normal bones.

Don’t skip it!

Eating breakfast supports a healthy body weight.

Studies have shown that a regular eating pattern is important in obesity prevention. However, recent data suggests that up to 60% of young people consistently skip breakfast. According to a population  based study of 4,000 adolescents conducted by the University of Eastern Finland, those who consumed five regular meals a day ( breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks)  were associated with a reduced risk of overweight and obesity in both male and female teens as well as areduced risk of abdominal obesity in boys. 8

The researchers measured the effect of meal frequency on genes linked to obesity, specifically the presence of markers on obesity susceptible sites on DNA. What they found was that regular meals diminished the ‘BMI increasing’ effect of these genetic variants. Furthermore, they observed that skipping breakfast was associated with excessive weight gain and waist circumference.

Several studies have shown that having a well-balanced and nutritious breakfasts readily available in your home every day is vitally important.

What makes a nutritious breakfast?

According to researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a breakfast that is high in protein. The study was the first of its kind to look at the impact of eating breakfast on appetite and snacking in young people. 9

Participants who normally skipped breakfast were given a high protein  or a normal protein breakfast, they then underwent a brain scan using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) just prior to dinner  to evaluate the brain signals associated with food motivation and reward-driven eating behaviour. What they found was that those who ate protein rich breakfasts were less likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks later on in the day.

Thus, starting the day with a healthy breakfast not only sets your teen up  for a successful day but also a nutritious one. For teens who complain about not being hungry in the morning, researchers from this study say that it only takes about three days for the body to adjust to eating early in the day.

NeoLifeShake is pro-teen. Each delicious serving provides:


Protect your girls!

Iron intake is important for all teens.

One of the most common nutritional deficiencies in adolescence is that of iron. Both male and female adolescents  must consume  enough iron to meet the expanding blood volume that accompanies their growth spurt, although for females, this need increases due to the loss of blood through menstruation. Aside from its role in oxygen transport, iron contributes to the normal function of the immune system and to normal cognitive functions. Getting enough iron may also improve your teens performance in school. 10


Perfect anytime snack for the whole family. NeoLifeBar is full of whole grains, nuts, seeds and mixed berries.

Each bar provides:


  1. CENTERS FOR Disease  Control and Prevention. Youth Behavior Surveillance–United States, 2011 MMWR 2012,6 (No 4)
  2. Mensink GBMet al. Mapping low intake of micronutrients across Europe. British Journal of Nutrition, Oct 2013.
  3. Matkovik V et al. nutrition influences skeletal development from childhood to adulthood. A study of hips, spine and forearm in female adolescents. J Nutr2004; 134:701S-70SS.
  4. Whiting S J et al. factors that affect bone mineral accrual in the adolescent growth spurt. J Nutr.2004; 134(3) 696S-700S
  5. El-Hajj Fuleihan G, Naulsi M. Tamim H et al. effects of vitamin D replacement on musculoskeletal parameters in schoolchildren: a randomised controlled  trial. J. Clin Endocrinol Metab.2006;9(2).405-412
  6. Kremer R, Campbell PP, Reinhardt T, Gilsanz V. Vitamin  D status and its relationship to body fat, final height and peak bone mass in young women. J. Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94(1)67-73
  7. Holick MF, Brinkley NC, Biscoff-Ferrari HA et al. evaluation, treatment and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: anEndocrine Society clinical practice guidline. J Clin Endocriol Metab 2011; 96(7):911-1930
  8.  Jaskelainen A et al. meal frequencies modify the effect of commmon genetic variants on body mass in adolescents of the northern Finland cohort 1986. PloS One. 2013 September 10,8(9) :e73802.
  9. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetite, hormonal and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese ‘breakfast skipping’ late-adolscent girls.
  10. Bruner AB. Joffe A. Duggan AK. Casella JF. Brandt J. Randomised study of cognitive effects of iron supplementation in non-anaemic iron-deficient adolscent girls. Lancet, 1996;348(9033):922-996.