13 Healthy Weight Loss Tips For Teenagers

Improving diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help teenagers avoid many health issues.

Medically Reviewed by Madhu Sharma, RD
By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

A diet of fries, burgers, pizzas, and soda is typical for teenagers. That’s why it’s difficult for teenage girls to lose weight. The WHO estimates that 1 in 10 adolescents are obese or overweight due to poor eating choices and a sedentary lifestyle (1). There also is an increase in the risk of teenage diabetes, joint problems, heart disease, and high blood pressure (2). Teenage obesity may also affect their adulthood.

However, shedding a few excess pounds can take care of a host of problems. Here are 13 healthy weight loss tips for teenage girls to help them get healthier. Read on!

1.  Ditch The Soda

Sodas contain sugar that exceeds the daily limit of 25 grams (3). They cause obesity and  diabetes (4). Research group has also found pesticide residues in certain soft drinks/soda (5). Replace soda with homemade iced tea, lemonade, pulpy ice watermelon and berry juices with mint, lime, and a pinch of pink salt.

2.  Avoid Junk Food

Junk foods contain trans fats and saturated fats and are high in calories, salt, and sugar (6), (7). They can make you gain stubborn fat, which can get difficult to lose later. Hence, it is important to steer clear of junk food if you want to lose weight. Here is how you can start:

  • Switch to healthy snacking – Consume baked chips, fruit juices, baby carrots and hummus, cucumber, nuts, and plain popcorn.
  • Trade your cold drink for a bottle of detox water, iced tea, or freshly pressed fruit juice.
  • Have fruits instead of sweets. If you crave sweets, have fruits instead of ice cream. You can also have a square of dark chocolate (80% or more cocoa content). Low-fat frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruits can be equally tempting and satisfying.

3.  Consume More Fiber and Protein

Foods rich in dietary fiber and protein promote satiety and keep your hunger pangs at bay (8), (9). Dietary fiber also improves digestion by promoting the number and variety of good gut bacteria (10). Protein prevents lean muscle loss during the weight reduction phase (11). Here’s what to consume to get enough protein and fiber from food sources: 

  • Veggies– Spinach, carrot, asparagus, eggplant, okra, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, scallions, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, purple cabbage, bok choy, chard, peas, radish greens, bell pepper, parsley, and cilantro.
  • Fruits – Apple, banana, pineapple, peach, pear, orange, tangerine plum, blueberry, strawberry, watermelon, and muskmelon.
  • Protein – Egg, fish, tofu, mushroom, lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, black beans, blackeyed peas, garbanzo beans, sprouts, and edamame.

4.  Consume Good Fats

Not all fats are bad. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds are great for weight loss and overall health (12), (13). The oryzanol in rice bran oil helps lower bad cholesterol (14). Here’s a list of healthy fats you can consume and avoid:

  • Healthy fats to consume –Avocado, olive oil, avocado oil, rice oil, ghee (clarified butter), almonds, walnut, macadamia, pine nuts, pistachios, fatty fish, flax seeds, melon seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter (not more than 2 tablespoons per day), sunflower butter, flax seed butter, and omega-3 supplements (after consulting a licensed doctor).
  • Fats to avoid – Vegetable oil, butter, lard, cheese, chicken skin, pork fat, and margarine.

5.  Be Active

Being active is important, irrespective of one’s age. Teens have plenty of options to stay active, like playing a sport, learning to dance from YouTube, learning ballet, performing gymnastics, ice skating, running around with friends, rock climbing, walking dogs, riding a bicycle, going on treks and camping, etc.

You may also try these following body weight exercises:

  • Warm-up – 10 minutes
  • High knees – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Alternate standing cross kicks – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Lying leg raises – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Scissor kicks – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Crunches – 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Bicycle crunches – 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Rope jumping – 3 sets of 25 reps
  • Mountain climbers – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Spider climbers – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Jump squats – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Elbow plank – 2 sets of 30 seconds hold
  • Plank up-downs – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Lying ankle taps – 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Cool-down – 10 minutes

6.  Stay Hydrated

Dehydration leads to toxin build-up (15). This, in turn, can lead to inflammation-induced obesity (16). Drink at least 2-3 liters of water to flush out toxins and support weight loss. You may also consume water in the form of freshly pressed fruit juice (without added sugar), soup, fresh vegetables, delicious smoothies, and detox drinks.

7.  Never Skip Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you are used to skipping it every day, think again. This could very well be the reason behind your weight gain.

Have your breakfast within 60-120 minutes of waking up in the morning. A good breakfast should have a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy carbs. This can help kick-start your metabolism, helping you lose weight faster. Healthy breakfasts curb your hunger pangs and keep your brain active throughout the day.

8.  Say No To Fast Foods

Fast foods, like fried chicken, burger, and pizza, are unhealthy and loaded with bad fats and carbs. As a teenager, replacing fast foods with whole foods could be a challenge. But it is important to make that decision as the trans fats in fast foods could elevate bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.

9.  Practice Portion Control

Consuming too many calories will not help you lose weight. Teenage girls need 1400-2400 calories per day, and boys need 1600 – 3000 calories per day, depending on the activity level (17). Instead of fanatically weighing your food, practice portion control.

Eat in a smaller plate. Half of your plate should contain veggies/fruits, one-fourth of the plate should contain protein, and the rest one-fourth of your plate should contain whole grains. Have a square of dark chocolate or one serving of baked chips. These are better alternatives to fried foods coming directly from the bag. .

10. Try Yoga

Yoga is one of the best methods for weight loss, and this holds true across generations (18). It gives you the power to combat other changes in your body and life. It is the best way to attain a calm mind, body, and soul. Moreover, it channelizes more energy into your body and helps regulate your metabolism. If you find regular yoga boring, try aerial yoga, or do a mixed workout that includes yoga.

11. Don’t Take Exam Stress

It’s easier said than done, especially when you are in high school and will be going to college soon. This is where you, as a young adult, need to learn to train your brain. If you are well-prepared, teach a fellow student. It will help in your revision. And if you have not studied, do it. Worrying and cribbing will only make you eat more (emotional eating) and increase the risk of obesity and prediabetes.

12. Sleep Well

Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain (19). You may feel lethargic all day, and this may compel you to skip your daily exercises and other activities. Stick to a sleep schedule. Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.

Also, never fall asleep with the TV on. The light disrupts your sleep pattern and prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep.

13. Write Your Goals

It is one thing to set your goal and another to achieve it. Write down your weight loss goal. Don’t just wish for it; work towards it. Set a realistic, short-term goal. For example,  “I want to lose 1 pound in 7-10 days” is a realistic, achievable goal. Stick weight loss motivation quotes in places you are bound to notice. Do not opt for fad diets to lose weight fast. You will regain the weight as quickly as you lost it.

 These are the 13 ways in which you can lose weight. In addition to following these tips, here are a few points you should keep in mind.

Points To Remember

  • Eat healthy. Have 5-6 small meals a day (every 2-3 hours).
  •  Avoid fad diets.
  • Do not take weight loss pills.
  • Avoid energy drinks.
  • Learn self-control.

To lose weight as a teenage girl, you need to change your lifestyle and diet if you are leading a sedentary lifestyle and making poor food choices. To simplify the process, follow certain effective diet tips such as cutting down on soda, avoiding fried or heavily processed foods which are generally very high in trans fats, and incorporating more vegetables and fruits in your meals. In addition, drink more water and incorporate exercises into your daily routine. Planks, mountain climbers, rope jumping, high knees, and bicycle crunches are effective exercises that can help tone your muscles and shed excess fat. Above all, accept yourself just the way you are and take your journey to fitness one day at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best diet for a teenage girl?

The best diet for teenage girls must contain 1300-2300 calories, depending on the activity levels. It must include protein, dietary fiber, and healthy fats. Working out for 5 days a week can have additional benefits.

How many calories should a teenage girl eat to lose weight?

This depends on the current weight, target weight, activity level, medical history, and current medications. Talk to a doctor or registered dietitian for the best advice.

What is considered fat for a 13-year-old?

Check your BMI to know whether you are overweight or obese. Your doctor will be able to help you and advise you on how to reduce calorie intake and lower your BMI.

How can a teenage girl lose lower belly fat?

Following a balanced, nutritious diet and working out is the best way to lose lower belly fat for teen girls. Here is a list of foods you can consume and lower belly exercises you may do. Talk to a doctor to know what should be your daily calorie intake.


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Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

Madhu Sharma

Madhu Sharma is a member of the National Executive Committee of IDA. She has been associated for almost three decades... more