4 Essential Nutritional Requirements For Teenagers


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Does your teenager eat nothing but junk food? Is he or she choosy when it comes to food habits? As a parent it is your duty to make your teen understand about the importance of consuming nutritious diet. Adolescence is the phase when your child undergoes rapid changes in his body. It is said that 20 percent of adult height and 50 percent of adult weight is gained during teen years.

Nutritional Requirements for Teenagers:

1. Calories:

A teenage body demands large amounts of calories. An average teenage boy requires 2800 calories per day; while an average teenage girl, 2200 calories. However, if your teen is hyperactive and involved in many physical activities then the calorie intake should definitely be more. Calories can be acquired from eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy products and lean meat.

2. Proteins:

In order for the body to grow and maintain muscle strength, it is very important to consume proteins. On an average, around 45-60 gm of protein i

s required. Consuming non-vegetarian food can easily make your teen obtain protein from meat and fish. Whereas, vegetarian food supplies protein from pulses, beans, soya, etc.

3. Iron:

Improper intake of iron can lead to anaemia and fatigue. Basically iron is responsible for oxygen supply to muscles, proper brain functioning and developing immune system for fighting diseases. A teenage boy requires 12 mg of iron, but a teenage girl requires at least 15 mg iron to make up for menstrual losses. Foods like green leafy vegetables, whole grain, meat, nuts, etc, are enriched with iron.

4. Calcium:

Deficiency of calcium leads to weak bones and osteoporosis in later stages of life. You teenager should get 1200 mg of calcium from the food he/she consume every day. Include calcium rich foods like dairy products, cereals, leafy vegetables, etc., in your teen’s diet. Besides, it is advisable to reduce the intake of soda drinks and overly sugary foods that tend to suck up calcium from the bones.

Be Attentive About Teenage Nutrition:

The above mentioned nutrition list will ensure healthy development in teenagers. But over and above this, you should become cautious of the below mentioned things that need attention in course of your teens’ development:

1. Obesity in Teenagers:

When the energy consumption is high and there is less or no physical activity, young adults are slowly headed towards excessive weight gain or obesity. And obesity in the long run can prove fatal as it leads to various diseases.

2. Eating Disorder in Teenage Girls:

Research has proven that adolescent girls have become highly conscious about their appearance and body weight. This is leading them to become victims to life threatening conditions like anorexia nervosa or bulimia. In case of anorexia nervosa, teenagers avoid food on purpose and starve their body so to appear thin. Bulimia is a disorder where teenagers tend to consume plenty of food and later vomit the same to avoid gaining weight. Both are equally dangerous.

3. Junk Food:

Because of the tempting taste, teenagers simply cannot resist eating junk food. However, junk food is full of unhealthy fat and other harmful ingredients. Also this unhealthy binge triggers obesity and other heart related diseases in later stages.

4. Alcohol:

A teen should never involve in or get addicted to alcohol. It is believed to affect the functioning of brain. Apart from this, such a habit affects not only a teenager’s health but psychological and physiological aspects as well.

5. Sedentary Lifestyle:

Physical activity is as important as healthy diet for balanced development in teens. Your teenager should indulge in physical activity for at least 60 minutes a day. Lack of exercise can lead to long term illnesses and unhealthy body. You as a parent can easily become a role model for your teen to inculcate healthy eating habits in him/her. It is vital to start early in order to avoid any complicated issues that arise further due to negligence.

Hope this article on nutritional requirements for teenagers will help you meet your teenage nutrition needs. Do share your comments below.

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