How many calories should a teenager eat?

Adolescence is a time of increased growth and development, so young people should eat enough calories for their bodies to develop properly. Most of the calories consumed by teens should come from nutritionally valuable foods. Snacks and fast food provide a lot of energy, but they are not products that could be described as healthy.

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1. Teenagers' caloric requirements

The amount of calories recommended for young people depends on gender. Girls between 11 and 13 years old should consume 1,800-2,200 calories daily, and girls between 14 and 18 years old need 1,800-2,400 calories per day. In contrast, boys aged 11-13 years should consume 1,800-2,600 calories each day, and in the age range of 14-18 years a little more, i.e. 2,200-3200 calories a day. The range of recommendations regarding the caloric content of teenagers' diets is the result of a varied level of physical activity. Young people who lead a sedentary lifestyle need fewer calories than their physically active peers. Highly active teenage boys who play team sports in their spare time should consume up to 3,500 calories a day. Teenagers' energy requirements are also determined by their height and body build. If a young person is tall or strongly built, he should supply his body with more calories than a short and very thin peer.

2. How should a teenager eat?

In the nutrition of young people, not only the amount of calories consumed is crucial, but also their source. Every day, a teenager should eat 5-10 servings of grain products, 2-3 servings of fruit, 3-5 servings of meat or other protein-rich foods, 2-3 servings of vegetables, 4-5 servings of dairy, and 2-4 servings of fat. Sweets should appear in the diet of a teenager no more than 1-3 times a week, greater consumption of them reduces the nutritional value of the diet and may lead to weight gain. Overweight and obesity are definitely undesirable in adolescence, as unnecessary kilograms have a negative impact on the development and health of young people. Worse, excess body fat adversely affects adolescents' self-confidence, self-esteem, and well-being. To prevent weight gain, follow these tips:

  • Start each day with a nutritious breakfast - eat foods rich in nutrients.
  • Remember to eat lunch - it will give you energy during school activities.
  • Eat fruit, vegetables, dairy, and whole grains between meals.
  • Limit your consumption of sweets, choose healthy alternatives.
  • Don't eat late in the evening - you will not be able to burn all the calories and the excess of them will be deposited as body fat.
  • Eat small portions and don't force food into yourself when you feel full.
  • Make time for physical activity - moderately intense exercise will have a positive effect on your body's health and appearance.
  • You dare to check your weight once a week.

The increased energy requirements of adolescence are not a myth - many adolescents are able to eat an astonishingly large amount of food. As long as your caloric intake goes hand in hand with systematic physical activity, there is no need to worry. However, if the caloric diet is accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle, the recipe for obesity is ready. It is worth remembering this and motivating a teenager to take a healthy approach to nutrition.

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