Teens' caloric needs vary depending on their growth rate, degree of physical maturation or body composition and activity level. Males generally have higher energy requirements than females due to their larger proportion of lean body mass to adipose tissue. Each day, teenaged girls need about 2200 calories and boys need about 2500-3000 calories.
Proteins are the fundamental components of all living cells and are essential for building, maintaining and repairing body tissues as well as antibodies for the immune system.
1-1/2 gm protein per kilogram body weight should be consumed from diverse sources. Milk and its products, meat, fish and eggs the best representatives sources of protein, the other sources being legumes, pulses, dried beans, peas and nuts.
On a daily basis, 4-5 servings of milk and milk products, 2-3 servings of pulses/dry beans/peas and 8-12 servings of whole grains cereals together provides sufficient amount of proteins for growing children. Further addition of soy protein is a valuable tool as it has the capacity to significantly boost the nutritional value since Soy protein is the only complete protein from plant source/vegetarian source.
CARBOHYDRATES AND FATS
These two nutrients are essential sources of energy. It’s here that we need to equip our teens with knowledge and wisdom to choose them judiciously. Carbohydrates are of two types-the complex and the refined ones. The complex carbohydratess are powered with the artillery of dietary fiber thus providing a regulated supply of energy.
In comparison refined carbohydrates are sources of empty calories and if consumed in excess may lead to obesity. Whole grain cereals, vegetables and whole fruits contribute ample supply of complex carbohydrates.
Know your fats.
Contrary to what most teenagers believe, fat is also an important nutrient. It helps the body to grow and develop and is a great source of energy. It even keeps your skin and hair healthy. But be aware that some fats are better than the others for you. Limit your fat intake to 25 to 35 percent of your total calories intake each day.
Unsaturated fat sources like mustard, olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oils, fish, nuts like walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and cashews can all be part of a healthy diet––as long as you do not eat too much since it is still high in calories.
Limit intake of saturated fats like butter, full-fat cheese, whole milk, fatty meats, coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.
It can clog your arteries and raise the risk for heart disease later in life.
Limit consumption of Trans fat, which are worse than saturated fats when it comes to heart health. Trans fats are often found in: Commercially made baked goods like cookies, cakes, patties and doughnuts; snack foods like crackers and chips; vegetable shortenings used for making fried and baked goods crisp; burgers, bhujias and other namkeens; deep fried foods like samosa, tikki, cutlets and pakoras etc.
Make it a habit to look for words like “shortening,” “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” or “hydrogenated vegetable oil” in the list of ingredients on all food packaging since it is mandatory to for food companies to list any addition of trans fat.
Calcium is very important because the teenagers are growing, and their bones need calcium to be strong and healthy. By getting enough calcium now, osteoporosis (a disease that can cause bones to break), can be prevented later in life. Both girls and boys need approximately 1300 milligrams of calcium each day.
Calcium from milk products may even help you maintain your weight! Some low fat calcium sources include skim milk, low-fat yogurt, calcium fortified orange juice and green leafy vegetables.
While teenagers are still growing, both boys and girls need iron because of an increase in muscle mass and blood volume. Teenagers need about 12 to 15 milligrams a day. Dietary iron can be obtained by eating lean red meats, poultry, fish, and fortified grains such as breads and breakfast cereals. Adequate iron is also found in beans of all types, peanut butter, raisins, prune juice, sweet potatoes, spinach, and egg yolks. The iron in these foods is better absorbed if the meal also contains fruit juice or meat.