How Do My Child’s Nutrition Needs Change as They Become an Adolescent?

How Do My Child’s Nutrition Needs Change as They Become an Adolescent?

If you thought you had family mealtimes all worked out, your child’s teenage years might come as a surprise. Suddenly, your teen is eating more ― a lot more. Or, you may be concerned that your teenage child isn’t eating enough.

Your teen raiding the fridge for midnight snacks and showing an overall increased desire for independence can make it a parenting challenge to ensure that your teenage child’s dietary and nutrition needs are being fully met.

At Dr. Soos Pediatrics, we offer a full range of adolescent care services from convenient Dublin, Georgia offices. Dr. Gyula Soos and his team can advise you and your teenager about emerging dietary issues and nutritional needs.

Diet comes up a lot with teenagers, from aesthetic worries like weight and skin care, to parental frustrations around skipped vegetables and unbalanced food choices. Let Dr. Soos and the Dr. Soos Pediatrics care team help you and your family out with this complex transition into your child’s adulthood.

Changing adolescent food needs

Your teenager’s body is growing and changing rapidly, and needs sufficient nutrition to stay strong and healthy. Teenagers will crave the additional calories that their bodies need for healthy development. In fact, the daily caloric needs of teenagers are actually higher than those of adults. 

Boys will need an average of 2,800 calories per day, while girls need an average of 2,200 calories per day.

Other factors can also impact your teen’s nutritional needs. Growth spurts bring on extreme hunger. All of a sudden, your child might be larger and taller than you’d anticipated! Teen athletes have a whole other range of dietary and caloric needs.

Maintaining a healthy balance

Your teenager needs sufficient protein, carbohydrates, and fats from food to power that endless energy.

Most teens in the US get plenty of protein, from sources like poultry, red meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and soy.

Complex carbohydrates are a great fuel for growing teens, and should form about 50%-60% of your teenager’s diet. Simple carbohydrates are typically tasty, but don’t give as much energy, and shouldn’t form too much of your teen’s diet.

Make sure that dietary fat doesn’t form more than 30% of your teen’s diet to maintain a healthy body weight and low cholesterol levels. Plant oils are a healthier source of fat than saturated fats like those derived from meat and dairy.

Getting enough nutrients

Teens also need a full amount of all essential vitamins and minerals. Teenagers might end up short on nutrients like calcium, zinc, iron, or vitamin D. Fortified foods and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of the vitamins and minerals your teen’s body craves.

In the US, teenage girls are more likely to suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, due to a lower overall calorie intake than seen in most teenage boys.

If you’re concerned about your teen’s nutrient intake or dietary needs, talk to the adolescent care experts at Dr. Soos Pediatrics. We encourage teen patients to take an active role in their primary medical care, with offerings including nutritional counseling, eating disorder treatment, specialized sports support, and more.

Schedule your adolescent care appointment at Dr. Soos Pediatrics today. You can call to book, or request an appointment online.

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