Looking and feeling good is largely a reflection of your lifestyle – taking regular exercise, getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet. A healthy diet means eating a variety of foods that will ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs. The FSA (Food Standards Agency) Eatwell Plate provides a good template of what a balanced diet can look like. 'Milk and dairy foods', which includes cheese, is one of the five food groups of the Eatwell plate.

During the teenage years the majority of bone growth takes place. Calcium is needed to help build strong bones and teeth. Total calcium requirements are greater during adolesence than at any other time in life.  Milk, yogurt and hard cheese are all sources of calcium.

Cheese is also a source of:

  • Protein for growth and development
  • Vitamin B12 for red blood cell formation
  • Phosphorus for bones and teeth

How much calcium do I need per day?

The government recommends boys, aged 11-18 years, consume 1000mg of calcium per day and that girls, aged 11 - 18 years, consume 800mg of calcium per day.  Consuming milk, hard cheese and yogurt everyday can help you meet your calcium requirements:

  • A 30g (matchbox-size) piece of hard cheese provides 225mg of calcium.
  • A 200g pot of low-fat yogurt provides 324mg of calcium.
  • A 200ml glass of semi-skimmed milk provides 248mg of calcium.

Other foods can help towards your calcium intake including white bread, cereal foods, green leafy vegetables and canned fish.

For those teenagers that want to get more cheese in their diets why not try these easy cheesy snack suggestions:

  • Cheshire and sliced tomato sarnie
  • Cheese on toast with a dash of tomato ketchup or Worcestershire sauce
  • Baked beans on toast topped with grated Cheddar and black pepper
  • Tomato soup with small pieces of crumbled Stilton
  • Cheddar cheese with crackers and chutney
  • Toasted muffin pizza with ham, tomato and your favourite cheese – grilled
  • A baked potato topped with grated Double Gloucester
  • Pitta bread stuffed with grated cheese and salad
  • A piece of cheese on its own as an afternoon snack with an apple or grapes