You asked

What foods do tweens and teens need most during puberty?

During puberty, extra nutrients are needed to cope with the body’s increased need. During the rapid growth of puberty, the body needs extra calories and nutrients, in particular iron and calcium.
 
Iron has many different roles within the body including: 
  • Transport oxygen to the muscles
  • Helps with brain function
  • Helps the immune system fight disease
Menstruation increases a girl's need for iron. Therefore it’s important to choose iron- rich food sources which can keep your body working optimally.Your body will absorb more calcium from the foods you eat during puberty due to an increased need for skeletal growth. However, many tweens and teens don’t eat enough calcium rich foods to meet their growing needs.
 
Foods that are rich in iron include:
  • Red meat
  • Egg yolks
  • Dark, leafy greens (such as spinach, savoy cabbage)
  • Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
  • Iron-enriched cereals and grains 
Foods that are rich in calcium include:
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Sardines
  • Dark leafy greens like spinach
  • Fortified cereals 

More questions

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Nutrition is necessary for good health at every stage, but is particularly important during puberty.
Good eating habits are learned behaviours, they’re not instinctive. So what your child has learned at home from early in life will stick with them well into adulthood.
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