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Teens

Teens

Make healthy choices as you grow.

During the teenage years, you’re beginning to make your own decisions – and that’s pretty awesome! One of the ways you can make smart choices is in the foods you eat. We get it, life is busy between school and friends, but starting with small changes now will not only help keep your mind and body growing healthy, but it will also help set you up for success later on.

Learn What You Need

Do you know what foods and amounts are best for YOU? Get your personalized MyPlate Plan to learn your food group goals. 

Before making any major changes to the way you eat, make sure to talk with a parent, caregiver, or a healthcare provider.

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Eat a Variety of Foods

Make choices from all food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy and fortified soy alternatives—every day. Each group gives you different nutrients and you need all of them.

Eating a variety of healthy foods can have many benefits, including more energy, stronger bones, and healthier skin.

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Make Healthy Choices on the Go

Life is busy and you may not always be home when hunger strikes. If you have afterschool activities or work, stock your backpack with healthy snacks like apples, baby carrots, whole wheat crackers, or unsalted nuts. Check out Healthy Snacking with MyPlate for more ideas.

Grabbing a bite to eat with a friend? Learn how to choose healthy menu options if you’re getting takeout or eating at a restaurant.

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Explore Ideas in the Kitchen

Now is a great time to start learning how to do more on your own in the kitchen. Keep it fun by inviting a friend over to try a recipe together. Check out MyPlate Kitchen for lots of great ideas. Even if your first attempt is a fail, it can make for a good story! Share photos of your creations with friends and family.

Keep Water Handy

Water is a healthy and refreshing drink choice. Keep a reusable water bottle in your bag and skip the sugary sodas, fruit drinks, coffee drinks, and energy and sports drinks.

For something different, try flavoring water with fruits or vegetables (like lemons, oranges, or cucumbers), and mint or other herbs. Check out other ways to make better beverage choices.

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Be Active

Squeeze in some physical activity between homework, going out, and other activities. Here are some ideas:

  • Try morning stretches or yoga
  • Walk the dog
  • Ride your bike or skateboard with a friend
  • Do an online workout or dance video
  • Sign up for an active after-school program or rec center class
  • Put on your favorite podcast or playlist and go for a walk or run
  • Organize a pick-up soccer, basketball, or kickball game with friends

MyPlate Tips on Alexa

Get MyPlate nutrition information straight to your home on your Amazon Alexa smart speaker, or on your phone or tablet via the free Amazon Alexa app. For more information, visit our MyPlate Alexa page.

Below are some of the many tips available for teens and their parents and caregivers. And just like the MyPlate.gov website and MyPlate tools, all of the information provided by MyPlate on Alexa is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.

Beverages

Perk up plain water or seltzer water with lemon, lime, or orange slices. Maybe even add some fresh mint leaves or a few fresh or frozen berries.

Healthy Eating

Take a look at your current eating routine. Pick one or two ways that you can switch to choices today that are rich in nutrition..

Sodium/ Salt

Go easy on the sauce. Be mindful of how much sauce, gravy, salsa, ketchup, soy sauce, marinade, or dressing you're using. The sodium from these can add up quickly.

Protein

Enjoy a healthy snack of raw veggies and hummus. Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from blended chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Hummus is rich in protein, dietary fiber, and several important minerals.

Calcium

If you skip dairy, get calcium from fortified products like soy beverages, tofu, and some breakfast cereals and orange juices. Dark-green leafy vegetables like collard greens, spinach, and kale are sources of calcium, too..

Added Sugars

Pick lower-sugar options. Choose packaged foods that have less or no added sugars such as plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, or canned fruit packed in its own juice or water.

Dietary Fiber

Take fruit on the go. Fruits like oranges, bananas, and apples are great portable snacks. You can also bring along a can of mandarin oranges or pineapple chunks packed in water..

Grains

Switch up pizza night. Create individual, homemade pizzas on whole-wheat English muffins or tortillas. Or, make a traditional pizza using a pre-made whole-wheat flour. Don’t forget the veggie toppings.

Dairy/ Fortified Soy Alternatives

Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy milk or yogurt, or lactose-free dairy or fortified soy versions.

Fats

In place of foods higher in saturated fat, look for foods like nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like tuna, salmon, trout, and mackerel. These foods are high in unsaturated fats and are healthier choices.

Resources

Help teens make their own healthy choices with these resources and tools.

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Healthy Eating for Teens Tip Sheet

English    Spanish

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screenshot of the MyPlate Plan that says the words: Get Your MyPlate Plan and then also has a Start button to click or tap

Get Your MyPlate Plan

English     Spanish

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Take Charge of Your Health:
A Guide for Teenagers

English    Spanish

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Food & Fitness for Teens

English    Spanish

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MyPlate Tip Sheets

English    Spanish

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More Print Materials

English   Spanish

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Shop Simple home screen on a phone

Shop Simple with MyPlate

Find savings in your area and discover new ways to prepare budget-friendly foods.

Learn more

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Alexa Speakers and Devices

MyPlate on Alexa

Get MyPlate nutrition tips on Amazon Alexa devices or the free Alexa app.

Learn more

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Start Simple app on phone and watch

Start Simple with MyPlate App

Build healthy eating habits one goal at a time! Download the Start Simple with MyPlate app today.

Learn more

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logo for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

MyPlate.gov is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025