Nutritional Needs of a Teenager

Development and growth are extremely rapid in teenagers, and it is this stage that requires utmost care when it comes to nutritional needs. Not meeting the required nutrient levels in a daily diet can affect a teenager or child’s mental and physical development.

It is extremely important to make sure that your child restricts the intake of junk food and this can be done by encouraging him/her to eat food at home. Adding the nutrients to meals that your child’s body requires is not a challenge; the challenge is whether your child will eat all the required nutrients or not. One of the best ways is to plan out an interesting meal chart that suffices the nutritional needs of your child and at the same time excites your child.

The body of an adolescent demands more calories. Teenage boys require about 2,800 calories per day and teenage girls require an average of 2,200 calories per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let us have a look at the important nutrients you must include in your child’s meal for his/her overall development:

Protein

One of the most important nutrients that a child’s body needs is Protein as it plays a major role in a child’s growth and development. A teenager’s body needs a nutrient to build, repair and maintain the tissues in the body, and protein is one such nutrient that caters to all these needs. Generally, it is advisable to give at least 45-60 gm of protein to a teenager.

Some of the foods that are a rich source of protein are eggs, chicken, fish, cheese, legumes, beans, peanut butter, kidney beans, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts etc. Parents can include these foods in the daily diet to ensure intake of protein.       

Calories

Calorie intake is extremely important in both teenage boys as well as girls. A teenage boy involved in normal activities requires at least 2000 calorie while a teenage boy who is hyperactive might need up to 2800 calories a day. A teenage girl involving in normal activities needs about 1600 calories while a hyperactive teenage girl requires a minimum of 2200 calories per day. Parents must make sure that if their child is hyperactive and is a part of numerous physical activities, his/her calorie intake should be more. Foods like vegetables, whole grains, fruits, lean meat and low-fat dairy products should a part of the daily diet of teenagers.

Calcium

Another important nutrient that a child’s body requires is calcium. Ensure that your child’s plate includes foods like cereals, dairy products, leafy vegetables etc., which are a rich source of protein. A teenager must get 1200 mg of calcium per day from the diet he/she is having. Also, consumption of foods high in sugar and soda drinks must be minimized.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy. The two forms of carbohydrates available are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are available in vegetables, fruits, milk and milk products whereas complex carbohydrates are available in foods like oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, Pumpkin etc. Parents must ensure that their teens eat more of complex carbohydrates and go easy on simple carbohydrates.

Iron

Deficiency of Iron can lead to fatigue and anemia. Intake of Iron is extremely important as it is responsible for activities like proper functioning of the brain, supply of oxygen to muscles and development of the immune system. Foods like whole grain, green leafy vegetables, nuts and meat are high in iron. A teenage boy must have at least 12 mg of iron and a teenage girl must have 15 mg of iron.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are important to increase teens immunity. Foods like cheese, milk, carrots, yogurt, peaches, sweet potatoes, leafy vegetables, kiwi, egg yolks, bananas, mangoes, spinach, papaya etc. are rich sources of vitamins and minerals.

As a parent of a teenager, make sure you too follow a balanced diet to ensure that your children follow your footsteps and consume a diet packed with all necessary nutrients.

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