Teenage girls usually hit puberty between 8-14 years and boys a little later at about 10- 13. This is a time of a lot of changes. Sexual maturity of the body happens along with a spurt in height. Needless to say, this special time requires special care from parents like you. Extra nourishment of the body is also required so that your teen can develop optimally.
Let’s take a quick look at how you can support your teen’s growth spurt -
Nutrition is the first block facilitating the optimal growth of teenagers. The other blocks are sleep and play.
Sleep: All teenagers need 8-9 hours of sleep every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation, America. This is because our pineal or master gland produces growth hormone during this time. And exposure to maximum quantities of growth hormone is crucial if you want your child to grow optimally and not remain stunted. Less sleep usually means less exposure to the growth hormone and less height than was written in your child’s DNA. However, you must also know that puberty causes a change or shift in your teen’s sleep- wake cycle. This means that he or she will usually go to bed late and wake up late too. The thing to do is to let your child sleep longer.
Food and nutrition: All praises sung for good nutrition during puberty will still not be enough. Teens, as we know, love to eat junk food these days. They love processed foods, hate greens and veggies and the scary part is that this could throw a spanner in their growth.
And these ‘Growing’ foods are:
It’s not scientifically right, however, to ply your teen with proteins. Why? Because it will not help her grow, but may actually leave her dehydrated.
If your teen eats enough foods containing calcium and vitamin D, her bones will be strong for a lifetime…
So, make sure your teen has enough of the above in her daily diet.
Your teen, thus should eat three square meals per day without skipping a meal. Snacking is not bad, as long as it’s healthy. ‘Growing’ foods like nuts and seeds can be consumed.