From growing bones to adventurous attitudes, tweens live in a special phase of adolescence. It's an age of discovery and development, usually spanning the ages of 9 and 13, where awkwardness at school, blossoming relationships and newfound freedoms rule.
It's important to keep kids on track nutritionally at this time, both to fuel their growth and to foster healthy attitudes toward personal wellness. As tweens become more independent - spending more time with friends and less at home with the family - they also become more susceptible to outside influences.
Help your child stay healthy and confident by modeling optimal eating behaviors and feeding them the nutrients they need most. With this list of top 5 foods for tweens, you can arm yourself with the knowledge and power it takes to raise a healthy eater!
Top 5 Foods for Growing Tweens
- Calcium-fortified non-dairy milk alternatives and organic dairy – While calcium is an important nutrient for children of all ages, it is especially important for tweens, as bone mineral deposition—the process that makes bones dense and strong—increases during puberty. This is a key time, with children adding 45 percent to their skeletal mass during adolescence and developing 90 percent of their overall adult bone mass by age 17. Including dairy and/or dairy-free milk alternatives in the diet alongside leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, sesame seeds and beans will ensure that your tween meets his or her daily-recommended calcium intake. For dairy-free options, try calcium-fortified almond milk, hemp milk, organic soymilk, flax milk, rice milk, or coconut milk.
- Sweet Potato – Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, the precursor for vitamin A and a key antioxidant nutrient that supports eye health, cellular growth and healthy skin. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin B6, which plays a role in maintaining brain health and carbohydrate metabolism. For a delicious, energizing and surprisingly dessert-like Blast, extract baked or steamed sweet potatoes with cinnamon, banana, a handful of leafy greens, and some almond milk or coconut water.
- Carrots - Another carotenoid superstar, carrots contain the A-vitamins alpha and beta-carotene, which are known to support healthy growth and development. Vitamin A has also been shown to help reduce the production of acne-causing sebum in hormonal tweens, so loading up on carrots might help calm those pesky breakouts.
- Black Beans – Muscular and cellular growth requires protein and black beans provide 7 grams per half cup serving! Black beans are also high in antioxidants and contain iron, which is important for all tweens, but especially for girls as menstruation becomes more regular.
- Sunflower Seeds – There is no doubt that the seeds from this radiant flower contain beneficial properties. The sunflower seed is a great source of plant-based protein along with antioxidants vitamin E and selenium. Seeds are calorically dense and house several B vitamins necessary for the increased energy needs of growing tweens.
Include these foods and more in a daily NutriBlast or nutrient-packed dinner. Enjoy them yourself, too, to set a good example and start benefiting from all the nutrients nature has to offer.
Want an easy way to get more fiber into your tweens' diet? Try SuperFood SuperKids, a blend formulated to help growing bodies get the nutrients they need, all from 100 percent natural sources. Mix it into a delicious NutriBlast smoothie or add it to their morning oatmeal or pancakes. The possibilities are endless!