How Many Calories Should a Teenager Eat?

Foods and drinks contain energy that can be measured in kilocalories (kcal) or kilojoules (kJ). They are simply called calories. You have to pay attention to how many calories you eat to make sure nutrients intake and also keep your body weight in a healthy range. The calorie intake is even more essential for teenagers because their bodies are still growing. You need to give your teenager nutritious foods during the age of 13 to 19 to help him/her become taller and gain weight as well. The foods sources contain protein, vitamins, essential minerals and others. Then how many calories should a teenager eat? It depends on many factors actually. Let's find out more about it.

How Many Calories Should an Average Teenager Eat?

Your teenager between the age of 13 and 19 should get 1600-3200 calories. The variations depend upon age, gender, growth rate, body size, and activity level of teens. Check the following table to find how many calories your teenager needs to eat.

Gender

Age

Sedentary

Moderately Active

Active

Male

13

2,000

2,200

2,600

14

2,000

2,400

2,800

15

2,200

2,600

3,000

16

2,400

2,800

3,200

17

2,400

2,800

3,200

18

2,400

2,800

3,200

19

2,600

2,800

3,000

Female

13

1,600

2,000

2,200

14

1,800

2,000

2,400

15

1,800

2,000

2,400

16

1,800

2,000

2,400

17

1,800

2,000

2,400

18

1,800

2,000

2,400

19

2,000

2,200

2,400

  • Sedentary: It means your teenager engages in very light physical activity in daily life.
  • Moderately Active: It means your teenager walks about 1.5-3 miles a day at the rate of 3-4 miles per hour or does something of similarintensity.
  • Active: It means your teenager walks more than 3 miles a day at the rate of 3-4 miles per hour or engages in other activities of equal intensity.

What Should Teenagers Eat?

Now you must have got your answer to "how many calories should a teenager eat?", then you may wonder what my teenager should eat to get these calories. Here are some suggestions:

1. Grains

Teenagers' diet should include whole gains because they provide B vitamins, fiber and enough calories. They may not like eating whole grains, but you should ensure that at least half of their bread is wholegrains. Depending on their age, they usually need 6-11oz of grains a day.

2. Fruits

Teenagers should eat fruits everyday which provide them with minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Give them at least 3-4 medium pieces of fruits a day to add balance to their diet. Fruit juice is good but eating whole fruits is the better choice considering the amount of nutrients they have. The fruit types had better to be diverse.

3. Veggies

How many calories should a teenager eat and what should be included in a healthy diet? A healthy diet is incomplete without vegetables because they are a great source of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Teens should have at least five servings of veggies a day–a serving is about half cup of veggies.

4. Protein Foods

Fish, lean meats, poultry, beans, and nuts are all high-protein foods that also provide teenagers with essential minerals. Iron is important for teenage girls because the blood loss through menstruation may lead to iron deficiency. Lean red meats are the best source of iron. Teenagers need at least 6oz of protein a day.

5. Calcium Foods

Consuming enough calcium-rich food is important for teenagers to have stronger bones. You should give them low-fat milk products such as cottage cheese, cheese, and yogurt. Fortified soymilk and tofu are also some rich sources of calcium. Four servings of milk products will meet the daily calcium need.

Tips for Healthy Eating

When trying to maintain a balanceddiet for your teenager, there are other things to consider except "how many calories should a teenager eat" and "what to eat". The following tips will help your teenager to develop heathy eating habits which are beneficial for a lifetime.

  • Ensure that your teenager never leaves the home without having a nutritious breakfast because it provides him/her with energy to stay active throughout the day.
  • ŸHelp limit the intake of carbonated drinks by making your teenager drink fresh fruit or vegetable juices. Encourage him/her to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Ensure that your child does not gobble food and takes his/her time to finish their meals. It is important to chew the food properly to promote proper digestion.
  • Make sure that your teenager does not talk much during meals. Do not let him/her watch TV while eating because this contributes to obesity.
  • Help your child understand the perils of eating fast food. Junk food does not provide any nutrition and has high calorie content as well. Regular consumption of such food will lead to obesity. Overweight teens can develop serious health problems early in their lives.
  • Help your teenager plan things in a better way if he/she will not be home for meals. You can prepare packed lunches or healthy snacks.
  • Set a good example for your teenager to follow by keeping a healthy diet.
 
 
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