Translate | Text-size

Tips for Fit Teens

Eating well, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight during your adolescent years is a critical part of growing into a healthy adult. There are steps you can take now to avoid serious health complications later in life.

  1. Eat 5 servings of fruits or veggies a day.
    Have a piece of fruit instead of juice. It's more filling and has less sugar. Fruit can also be a good substitute for sweet snacks, such as candy and cookies.
  2. Don't spend more than 2 hours a day in front of the TV, computer, smartphone or tablet.
    Did you know you can sleep better when you turn off your screens before bedtime? The bright light of the screen stimulates the brain and affects hormones necessary for quality sleep. Try reading a book or a magazine before bed and don't send text messages right before you put your head down.
    Try logging the time you spend in front of a screen for a week. It might surprise you!
  3. Do 1 hour of physical activity a day.
    Walking with a friend or parent is a great way to socialize while being active. Have you ever wanted to try a new activity such as dancing or yoga? There are many free exercise programs available to youth throughout NYC. See "Get Tools and Resources" below for links to free fitness classes and adolescent sports programs.
  4. Drink 0 (that's z-e-r-o) sugary drinks.
    This includes soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, sweetened ice tea, and bottled coffee drinks. Did you know that fruit and sports drinks can have as much sugar as soda? Water, skim milk, seltzer, and unsweetened tea are healthy beverage options. Want more flavor in your water? Try adding fruit slices such as lemons or oranges.
  1. Set a specific goal.
    "I will eat a piece of fruit instead of chips from my afternoon snack on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday."
    "On my way home from school Monday through Friday, I will get off the subway two stops early and walk home from there."
  2. Plan steps for reaching your goal.
    "I will go to the YMCA tomorrow to sign up for a membership and pick two dance classes that I'll attend each week."
    "On Sundays, I'll go grocery shopping to buy healthy snacks for the week. Each night before school, I'll pack my apple in my bag. To help me remember, I'll set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pack my healthy snack."
  3. Enlist support.
    Tell a supportive family member or friend about your plan. Support each other! Partner with someone else who is trying to make changes for extra motivation and encouragement.
  4. Write it down.
    Write down your action plan and your reasons for making a change. You might find it helpful to keep your goal and motivation for change in a place where you can see it daily.
  5. Adjust your plan
    After the first week, ask yourself whether your plan was realistic and make any necessary changes. Identify any additional barriers and figure out how you can address them. Celebrate successes and create an action plan for your next goal.
  • Body Fat Calculator
    BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a way to estimate your body fat to see if you are at a healthy weight. Use the BMI Calculators to measure your BMI and see how it compares to other teens.
  • Fitness Apps
    Check out websites such as or other fitness apps to help you set an monitor your physical activity and weight goals.
  • Free Fitness Classes
    Did you know the NYC Parks Department offers free fitness classes such as yoga, kickboxing, aerobics, and Zumba throughout the five NYC boroughs? Check out their website for a schedule.
  • Teen Sports Programs
  • Farmers Markets
    Finding low-priced fruits and veggies in NYC is easier than ever. Surprise your friends and cook up something healthy!