Nutritional Needs for Teenager

Adolescence is a period of quick emotional, physical, social, and intellectual maturation. A good understanding of nutritional needs is important to ensure proper growth. During this time, your teenager needs extra calcium, calories, protein, and iron. Also bear in mind that your teenager's eating habits are likely to be influenced by media messages, peers, and body image issues. It is your responsibility to ensure they are eating healthy and are getting all the nutrients they need.

Nutritional Needs for Teenager

Eating enough and clean are two important things to ensure proper growth of a teenager. Work with your teenager and make a diet plan that provides them with all-important nutrients. Here is what your teenager should be getting from the food they eat.

1. Calories

Calories refer to amount of energy delivered by food. Your child needs more energy in the form of calories during early adolescence. At this time,

  • Boys should get an average of 2,800 calories/day
  • Girls should get an average of 2,200 calories/day
  • Teenagers who grow big and tall and are involved in physical activities are probably going to need more energy, even into late adolescence.

During late adolescence, girls are less likely to eat as much as they do in the early adolescence; in fact, girls eat 25% fewer calories/day than boys do by the time they reach late adolescence. It also means girls are more likely to be deficient in minerals and vitamins. Therefore, it is important to ensure your teenagers are getting enough as per their age.

2. Protein

Protein is important, especially considering the fact that 50% of our body weight is made up of this nutrient. Fortunately, you do not need to worry a lot about this nutrient because statistics show that teenagers in the U.S. get twice as much protein as they really need. Still, it makes sense to include a variety of protein sources in your child's diet. Some of the best sources of protein include fish, pork, turkey, chicken, beef, cheese, and eggs.

3. Carbohydrates

Found in sugars and starches, carbohydrates provide the body with fuel to handle day-to-day tasks. The body uses carbs to make the simple sugar glucose, which is the body's main fuel. When planning meals, it is important to keep nutritional needs for teenager in mind and focus more on complex carbs that provide sustained energy. Nutritionists believe about 60% of your teenager's caloric intake should be in the form of complex carbs – just try to go easy on simple carbs. Similarly, many starches are equally important because they provide your teenager with fiber and assorted nutrients too.

4. Dietary Fat

No more than 30% of your teenager's diet should be based on dietary fat. In the absence of fat, your body cannot digest fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, K, D, and E. Just avoid including too much of fat in your teenager's diet because it leads to obesity, especially when your teenager is not that active. Moreover, fatty foods have a waxy substance called cholesterol that can clog arteries, which in turn increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Dietary fact can be divided into three categories:

  • Monounsaturated Fat: Found in olive oil, peanut oil, cashews, peanut butter, canola oil, and walnut oil, monounsaturated fat is the healthiest kind of fat.
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: Found in sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, sesame-seed oil, and soybean oil, polyunsaturated fat is also important for a healthy body.
  • Saturated Fat: Found in meat and dairy products, such as butter, lamb, pork, beef, egg yolks, cream, palm oil, and coconut oil, it is loaded with cholesterol and should be consumed in moderation.

Ensure that your teenager is not getting more than 10% of calories from saturated fat, whereas the remaining 20% of daily calories should come from unsaturated kinds of fat.

5. Calcium

Your child is growing quickly during adolescence, so it is important to ensure that they are getting enough calcium every day. The fact that about half of all skeletal growth takes place during adolescence explains how important it is to include calcium-rich food in your teenager's diet. Be sure to include vitamin D rich food in your teenager's diet because it helps improve the absorption of calcium. Sardines, kale, raw milk, cheese, watercress, broccoli, and Bok Choy are some great sources of calcium.

6. Iron

Both boys and girls need more iron during adolescence. Boys need more iron because they put on muscle mass that requires greater blood volume. Girls, on the other hand, require iron because they lose a lot of it during the monthly cycle. Some common sources of iron include poultry, seafood, dried fruits, and dark green leafy veggies. Iron-fortified breads, cereals, and pastas are equally beneficial.

7. Zinc

Zinc is needed for healthy endocrine, immune, reproductive, and neurological systems. By triggering certain enzymes, it facilitates the process of cell division. It is also important for white blood cell, DNA, and protein synthesis. Some great sources of zinc are grass-feed beef, chickpeas, kefir, cocoa powder, pumpkin seeds, and chicken.

8. Vitamins

Without enough vitamins in diet, you simply cannot meet nutritional needs for teenager. The following table provides you with information about how much of different vitamins and minerals should be included in a teenager's diet:

Nutrient

Females (9-13 yrs)

Males (9-13 yrs)

Females (14-18 yrs)

Males (14-18 yrs)

Vitamin A (mcg)

600

600

700

900

Vitamin D (mcg)

5

Vitamin E (mg alpha-TE)

11

11

15

15

Vitamin K (mcg)

60

60

75

75

Thiamin (mcg)

900

900

1.0

1.2

Riboflavin (mcg)

900

900

1

1.3

Pantothenic acid (mg)

4

4

5

5

Niacin (mg NE)

12

12

14

16

Vitamin B6 (mg)

1

1

1.2

1.3

Vitamin B 12 (mcg)

1.8

1.8

2.4

2.4

Folate (mcg)

300

300

400

400

Choline (mg)

375

375

400

550

Vitamin C (mg)

45

45

65

75

Biotin (mcg)

20

20

25

25

Phosphorus (mg)

1250

1250

1250

1250

Calcium (mg)

1300

1300

1300

1300

Zinc (mg)

8

8

9

11

Iron (mg)

8

8

15

11

Iodine (mcg)

120

120

150

150

Magnesium (mg)

240

240

360

410

Chromium (mcg)

21

25

24

35

Manganese (mg)

1.6

1.9

1.6

2.2

Copper (mcg)

700

700

890

890

Selenium (mcg)

40

40

55

55

Helping Your Teenager to Form Healthy Eating Habits

It is important to understand the nutritional needs for teenager and make a diet plan accordingly. However, you should also take steps to help your teenager develop healthy eating habits. Here are some steps to take:

  • Be a good model. Have healthy eating habits to help you teenager follow the same. This tells your teenager that developing healthy eating habits is important.
  • Enjoy healthy meals together as a family. It helps develop a bond with your teenager and increase their interest in food and nutrition.
  • Maintain a healthy food environment in your home. Take your teenager with you for food shopping. Use their help with meal planning. Encourage them to prepare a healthy family meal a week.
  • Do not allow unhealthy food in your home. Processed foods are never going to help your teenagers. Just try to maintain a balance.
  • Help your teenager understand that they should eat when they feel hungry and stop as they become full. This ensures they do not start eating out of tiredness or boredom. 
 
 
Current time: 12/11/2017 06:27:56 am (America/New_York) Memory usage: 3225.54KB