Balanced Diet for Teenagers

Updated March 23, 2017

Encouraging wise eating decisions during the teenage years can be challenging for parents. At a time where teenagers are demanding more independence, their nutrition needs are still very important. Teens that aren't paying attention to diet might be missing important nutrients, like iron or calcium.

Healthy Foods for Teens

According to the BBC, a teenager's diet should be equipped to provide plenty of energy. Make sure he is getting a minimum of five fruits and veggies each day, and two servings of lean protein, such as eggs, meat or beans. Also, limit foods that are high in sugar, like sodas and sugary snacks. Fatty foods should also be limited, which can form bad habits and cause weight gain. Fluid consumption is also important; teenagers should drink a minimum of eight glasses of fluids daily, and more with increased physical activity.

Iron Intake for Teens

According to an article published by the Discovery Channel, iron is extremely important during the teenage years. Make sure that teens are getting plenty of iron rich foods, such as whole grain cereals, breads and beans during the teenage years. Boys need 12 mg of iron, and girls need 15 mg of iron.

Calcium Consumption for Teens

According to the BBC, as many as 25 per cent of teenagers aren't consuming enough calcium. This can cause future health concerns, such as osteoporosis, and a lack of vitamin D.

During the teenage years, 800 mg to 1,000 mg of calcium should be consumed daily. Encourage your teen to eat three servings of dairy each day, which can include: low-fat milk, yoghurt or cheese.

Calorie Requirements for Teenagers

According to the Riley Hospital for Children, males ages 11 to 18 should consume 2,500-3,000 calories, up to 59g of protein, 12 mg of iron and 15 mg of zinc. Females, ages 11to 18, should consume 2,200 calories a day, up to 46g of protein, 15 mg of iron and 12 mg of zinc. However, children who are highly active may need more calories. Talk with your child's doctor to discuss his specific calorie and nutrition requirements.

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About the Author

Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.