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A teenager's body is growing rapidly

Eating a balanced and varied diet will provide all the nutrients you need to support that growth. Here are some tips to help you eat healthily:

Stay hydrated

You need plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated. Water and milk are best.

Sugary drinks and energy drinks contain a lot of calories and sugar but provide little to no nutrients. They should not be consumed regularly.

Tea, coffee, energy drinks and some sugary drinks contain caffeine. It’s true that caffeine increases alertness, reaction times and ability to think clearly, but too much caffeine can make you irritable and jittery. Limit the number of cups of coffee you drink to 1-2 per day.

Find out more about the best drinks.

Look after your bones

You need more calcium and vitamin D as a teenager to help your bones to develop.

Teenagers need five portions of milk, cheese and yoghurt each day.

Here are some tips for getting more dairy into your diet:

• Have milk or yoghurt with cereal for breakfast
• Include a slice of cheese in your sandwiches
• Have a yoghurt with your lunch
• Drink a glass of milk with dinner
• Have a milk-based dessert, e.g. rice pudding

Vitamin D helps you to absorb calcium from the foods you eat. Find out more about how much Vitamin D you need and where to get it.

Eat plenty of iron

You need it for energy and to support growth. Have iron-rich foods every day. Teenage girls are especially at risk of low iron.

Lean red meat and liver are the best sources of iron. Other good sources are white meat, fish, eggs, green vegetables, nuts, pulses (like peas, beans or lentils) and fortified breads and breakfast cereals.


Rapid growth, sports and activities and study can leave you ravenous! Healthy snacks are a great way to satisfy hunger and give you all the nutrients you need.

We have lots of healthy snacks ideas.

Energy drinks 

Our research shows that a 500ml energy drink can contain up to 17 level teaspoons of sugar and 2 espresso cups worth of caffeine. Energy drinks are not suitable for teenagers because: 
•    High doses of caffeine can result in dangerous side effects and can cause anxiety.
•    Energy drinks contain large amount of sugar and calories with no nutritional value.
•    Sugary energy drinks can cause weight gain and contribute to obesity.

You can check the sugar and caffeine content of popular energy drinks below. 

Compare sugar & caffeine in energy drinks

Check before you choose

Energy drinks have become popular with teens, but consuming too much caffeine and sugar brings many unwanted side effects.

The facts about your energy drink

Icon blocked Energy drinks are not suitable for:

  • Children under the age of 16 years of age

  • Rehydration after sport or exercise

  • As a mixer with alcohol

  • Pregnant and breast-feeding women

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