From puberty through early adulthood, the body is in continuous change. They will grow emotionally, functionally, and intellectually, developing a sense of independence, identity, and self-esteem. To support proper growth and development, teens need a steady supply of calories and nutrients on a daily basis.

Your child’s level of physical activity and stage of development determines exactly how much nutrition they need. 

Why is healthy eating important for teens?

We need to eat a range of foods from across all food groups as they contain different nutrients, which your child’s body needs to grow and work properly.

If teenagers don’t take in adequate calories and nutrients, they can experience health complications like

Some teens try to lose weight by eating very little; cutting out whole groups of foods like foods with carbohydrates, or “carbs;” skipping meals; or fasting. These approaches to losing weight could be unhealthy because they may leave out important nutrients your body needs.

Nutrient recommendations for teens:

In order to support optimal growth and development, teens need to hit certain calorie and nutrient recommendations on a daily basis.

Nutrition needs depend on factors like age, sex, and activity levels.


A growing body needs a constant supply of energy. The foods you eat provide your body with calories from the three macronutrients; protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

AgeCalorie needs for moderately active adolescents
10Girls: 1,800, Boys: 1,800
11Girls: 1,800, Boys: 2,000
12Girls: 2,000, Boys: 2,200
13Girls: 2,000, Boys: 2,200
14Girls: 2,000, Boys: 2,400
15Girls: 2,000, Boys: 2,600
16Girls: 2,000, Boys: 2,800
17Girls: 2,000, Boys: 2,800
18Girls: 2,000, Boys: 2,800
19Girls: 2,200, Boys: 2,800


Macronutrients and micronutrients:
Protein, fat, and carbs are large macronutrients, or nutrients your body needs. Protein, carbohydrates, and fats in food serve as the body’s energy sources.


Micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals, are required in a small amounts. 

Adolescents tend to fall short of their daily quotas of calciumironzinc, and vitamin D. Unless blood tests and a pediatrician’s evaluation reveal a specific deficiency, it’s preferable to obtain nutrients from food instead of from dietary supplements.

Teens, parents, and caregivers should keep in mind that nutrient deficiencies are more likely to occur in teens who follow restrictive diets like vegan diets as well as in teen athletes, teens with certain medical conditions, and teens with eating disorders. 


Healthy food groups

Many teens need more of these nutrients:  Calcium, potassium, fiber, protein, iron, vitamin D, etc.

If your kids are in rush, they can at least have a healthy snack food: like trail mix, hummus and vegetables, cottage cheese, and nut butter with fresh fruit.

Healthy recipes for kids:

Follow us on Instagram for such healthy recipes and health tips: neev.nutrition

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