Stay at Home Tips: Healthy Eating Tips for Teens

See more Extension Stay at Home Tips from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension

 For reliable information you can trust about COVID-19 go to


Healthy Eating for Teens

For teens

Your nutritional needs haven’t changed suddenly, but now that you’re at home more you may have time to think about the choices you make about what you are eating or drinking.  Here are some ideas to make sure your choices are healthy and helping to prepare you for whatever may be next in YOUR life:

  •  Eating out or at school with friends may have been a big part of your life, and the occasion may have been more important than the food.  Eating at home gives you the chance to think about whether you are including these important foods in your diet to keep yourself healthy: Fruits and vegetables, whole grains with fiber, protein foods (meats and fish, eggs, or beans and legumes), and dairy or other foods that give you vitamin D and calcium. Soda provides a lot of calories and sugar without other nutrients.  If you drink a lot of soda, try substituting a glass of water or milk at meals.
  •  Make sure to eat breakfast, whenever you get up in the morning.  Breakfast will help you focus on school and provide energy so your day starts off well.  Here are some ideas for healthy breakfasts.
  •  You might be closer to the kitchen then you would normally be.  It can be easy to slip into mindless snacking on foods high in sugar, fat or salt – especially if up late at night. If you’re hungry for a snack, try some healthier options: pita with hummus, fruit, popcorn, low-fat yogurt with fruit or granola, trail mix, or baked tortilla chips and salsa.
  •  Your parents may appreciate some help in the kitchen.  Offer to help plan or even prepare one dinner each week.  If you have the ability, you might arrange for including friends or families in a meal using technology.
  •  You may find you are less active because of a hold on school or team sports, or just because you are spending more time indoors. Look for other ways to stay active . You might go for a jog or a bike ride, walk the dog, or look online for at-home workouts.  Getting moving is good for your body and mind!

Check out this information for more Ideas on how to be healthy.

 For parents of teens

As parents, you can encourage good nutrition by having healthy food in the house, and eating well yourself to be a good role model.  Here are some ideas to keep your family, including your teen, eating well:

  • Provide structure to meals while allowing the flexibility and choices that teens need.  Later sleep schedules of teens might mean leaving breakfast choices they can eat later: whole grain bagels and peanut butter or cheese, or whole grain cereal or yogurt and fruit are all good choices.  Lunches can be the traditional sandwiches along with veggies and dip, but can also be leftovers vegetables and chicken in a wrap. Let your teen be creative in coming up with healthy meals.
  • Calcium and iron are especially important for your teens as they continue to grow and build strong bones and muscles. Click here for more specific information on nutrition for teens.
  • Make healthy snacks available for your kids. Leave a bowl of already-washed fruit on the kitchen table or have them help you slice up raw vegetables to keep in baggies in the fridge. If healthy options are readily available, they are more likely to be chosen.
  • Ask your teen for help selecting recipes and planning meals.  When choosing packaged foods, have them tell you what they find on the nutrition facts panel or ingredient list. You might spend time together making a meal or baking, teaching your teen valuable cooking skills as well as responsibility.
  • Plan for dinners where the whole family sits together at the table, with no TV or cell phones. Engage your children in conversation – talk about what they are learning, or their plans when they are able to gather again with friends.
  • Here is information to help keep your family active and safe. Plan a family bike ride once a week, take a daily walk after dinner, or have them help with yardwork.  If you are keeping in touch with family using technology, have a dance-off.  You can be a role model for physical activity, as well!


Know the basics about COVID-19

FOR RELIABLE INFORMATION YOU CAN TRUST, about staying safe and what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms, go to

What are the symptoms? Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms. For many, symptoms are mild, with no fever. It is important to know that you can still spread (transmit) the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms. Two to 14 days after exposure, people may experience:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What should I do if I develop symptoms?

If you become ill, stay home and call your doctor if you feel you need medical care or advice. If you are having an emergency, call 911. 

  • Each day, write down your symptoms so you can share accurate information with your doctor.
  • Make sure a family member or friend knows that you are unwell and ask them to check on you by phone or video chat every day. Even mild illnesses can quickly take a turn for the worse.
  • Practice good self-care. Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.

How can I lower my risk of getting COVID-19?

  • Stay home as much as possible to protect yourself and others.
  • When possible, shop for two weeks of groceries at a time to expose yourself less often.
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after touching door handles, keypads, pens, and other frequently used surfaces.


  • Call the National Disaster Distress Helpline to speak to a trained crisis counselor
    • 800-985-5990
    • 800-846-8517 (TTY)
    • Or text:  TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Access information and resources to help you meet your immediate needs
    • Call 2-1-1
    • Contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center
    • For more ideas, visit the Resilient Wisconsin website.

See more UW-Madison Division of Extension Safer at Home Tips 


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