Nutrition for Teens' Life: Teen Nutrition (WO1011)


November 17, 2015 - Author: Beth Olson

Energy Needs

Each day, teen girls need about 2200 calories and teen boys need about 2500-3000 calories. Your calorie needs are going to be greater if you are active and less if you don’t take part in many physical activities.


Calcium is very important because you are growing, and your bones need calcium to be strong and healthy. By getting enough calcium now you can prevent yourself from getting the osteoporosis (a disease that can cause bones to break) when you are older. Both girls and boys need about 1300 milligrams of calcium each day. Calcium and milk products may even help you maintain your weight! There are many food choices that contain calcium that are also low in fat such as skim milk, low-fat yogurt, orange juice that has calcium, and green leafy vegetables.


While you’re still growing, you need iron because of the increase in muscle mass and blood volume. Girls need more iron in their diet because of their period. Teenagers need about 11 to 15 milligrams a day. You can get iron by eating lean red meats, poultry, fish, and fortified grains such as breads and breakfast cereals.

Eat a Variety of Foods

It is important for you to eat a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, as well as low fat dairy and meats. Using the Food Pyramid (MyPyramid) is easy and can help guide you in eating a healthy diet. Visit this website and go to Inside the Pyramid to learn about the Pyramid servings and how to have a healthy diet.

Eating Healthy When Out

Eating out is part of your social world. There are many ways eating out can be fun and healthy. Here are a few tips to use:

  • Ask for dressings and sauces on the side so you can control the amount that ends up on your food.
  • Try splitting a meal with a friend.
  • Try salsa or mustard to spice up your meal instead of mayonnaise and oil.
  • Order foods that say baked, broiled, or grilled. Try to skip fried foods.
  • Try a baked potato or a side salad instead of french fries.
  • For dessert, try frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.
  • Don’t super size your meal at fast food restaurants.
  • Order a small hamburger, bean burrito, grilled sandwich, or a salad.

Healthy Snacks

You just had a long day at school, you are starving, and only have time to grab a bag of chips before heading off to work or practice. Sound familiar? Healthy snacks are just as easy to make. If you don’t have much time to prepare something, try making your snacks the night before and put them in the fridge for tomorrow.

Here are a few good snack ideas:

  • Pita with hummus
  • Popcorn
  • Piece of fruit
  • Low-fat yogurt with fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Glass of low-fat chocolate milk
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins
  • Bagel with pizza sauce and low-fat cheese
  • Low-fat breakfast bar or granola bar
  • Baked tortilla chips with salsa

Further Information

Take Charge of Your Health: A Teenager’s Guide to Better Health

Food and Nutrition Information Center
Go to: Lifecycle Nutrition under “Subject,” then go to: Adolescence


Tags: food & health

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Food & Health

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