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Healthy Eating/Physical Activity - Teens

Top 5 tips to help your teen eat well

  1. Allow youth to make decisions around their food choices.
    • Sometimes the decision a teen makes about the food they will or will not eat are more about asserting their independence from parents than about food.
    • Set up reasonable boundaries when giving your teenager control over their own food choices.
  2. Try to make mealtimes as pleasant as possible:
    • Family meals provide a chance to talk to each other about the day’s events or about topics that are interesting to your teen.
    • Try to save conflict issues or major discussions separate from meal time.
  3. Keep healthy foods around and easily accessible.
  4. Involve your teen in planning and preparing meals.
  5. Be a good role model by eating well yourself.

Tips to help your teen be physically active

  1. Make the activity fun.
  2. Be active all year round including the winter.
  3. Replace time on the Internet, in front of the TV, or playing video games with outdoor play time or sports like, soccer, hockey or playing Frisbee.
  4. Break the 60 minutes up into 10 minute chunks so not to overwhelm your child.
  5. Lead an active lifestyle with your teen:
    • walk to the store together
    • take the stairs
    • garden
    • dance to music
    • rent a canoe or kayak for an afternoon
    • go bowling
    • walk around a museum
    • bike on trails

For more information please refer to the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (aged 5-17): An integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep.

What the Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines for Children and Youth Say:

Youth aged 14 - 17 years should:

  • SWEAT: Get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day. In addition:
    • Vigorous physical activities and muscle and bone strengthening activities should be incorporated at least 3 days/week
    • More is better!
  • STEP: Have several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activity every day
  • SLEEP: Have 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night with consistent bed and wake up times
  • SIT: Have no more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time. This includes:
    • Limited sitting for extended periods


Moderate physical activity will cause youth to sweat a little and breathe harder. Activities like: bike riding or playground activities.
Vigorous physical activity will cause youth to sweat and be “out of breath”. Activities like: running, basketball, soccer and swimming.
Parents: remember to think of safety at all times and ensure that your youth are wearing the appropriate sports equipment such as helmets, knee, elbow and wrist pads, etc.

Adapted from Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

The benefits of being physically active

Being active for at least 60 minutes daily can help youth:

  • Improve their health
  • Do better in school
  • Have fun playing with friends
  • Improve self confidence
  • Feel happier
  • Learn new skills

Check the Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter  and the Participaction website for more great ideas.

For more information please refer to the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (aged 5-17): An integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep.
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Quick and Easy Snack Ideas:

  • Baked eggroll or samosa
  • Cereal and milk
  • Cold veggie pizza slice
  • Grilled veggies on a small piece of naan
  • Handful of nuts and fresh fruit
  • Homemade trail mix made with high fibre cereal, dried fruit, unsalted pretzels
  • Leftover fajita or burrito
  • Low fat yogurt sprinkled with chopped nuts
  • Plain popcorn sprinkled with shredded cheese
  • Small bowl of noodles with shrimp
  • Smoothie made with yogurt, milk and fruit
  • Vegetables with hummus
  • Whole grain bread with peanut butter
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