Adolescent Nutrition is defined as the period of life when nutritional needs are highest. We can therefore let our teens “devour” while ensuring the balance of their meals.
Between the age of 13 and 19, nutritional needs are at their maximum level, linked to a phase of rapid growth. During puberty, the body acquires about 15% of its final size (a gain of 7 to 9 cm per year) and 50% of its weight as a young adult.
Description of Adolescent Nutrition
Girls stop growing up 3 to 4 years after their first period, usually around 15. However, their body composition continues to evolve into adulthood with a physiological increase in fat mass.
On the other hand, boys experience a later growth peak, around 13 and a half, but grow and acquire muscles until the age of 19.
The Energy Need for Adolescent Nutrition
The recommended energy intake depends on the stage of growth, genetic factors, and the level of physical activity. It varies between 2,100 and 2,900 kcal per day for girls and 2,400 and 3,500 kcal for boys.
As an indication, here are the recommended intakes for an average level of activity:
– Girls from 13 to 19 years old: 2,400 kcal
– 14-year-old boys: 2,700 kcal
– 17-year-old boys: 3,000 kcal
For 30 minutes of walking per day and 2 to 3 hours of sport per week.
Carbohydrates, one of the critical nutritional contributions for adolescents
They are mainly present in starches and sugars. They turn into a simple sugar that is the primary fuel of the body. It is glucose. A teenager’s diet should include foods containing complex carbohydrates and limit simple carbohydrates.
It is suggested that adolescents consume no more than 20-30% fat in their diet. Fats provide energy and absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. However, if the young person consumes more fat than is advised, he will gain weight even if he does sports.
Nutrients to Watch Out For
Three minerals are essential in our diet. These are calcium, iron, and zinc. Indeed, they are directly linked to growth.
Therefore, the adolescent’s diet should contain foods that contain these minerals in reasonable quantities. Milk, clams, red meat, nuts, dark chocolate, sesame seeds, lamb meat, and oysters are mineral-rich foods.
Essential Micro Nutrients
Puberty allows you to acquire 40 to 45% of bone mass. It is why the recommended intake of calcium, a significant component of the skeleton, is set at 1,200 mg per day until 19 years of age. To achieve the given figure, Recommending to consume four daily dairy products. These foods simultaneously provide good quality protein for growth.
Girls are particularly concerned as soon as they are settled since any blood loss causes a loss of iron, located in the red blood cells. But boys also need this trace element because of the increase in their muscle mass. The iron of animal origin, meats, offal, and seafood, is much better assimilated. If teens eat little of these foods, it’s a good idea to make sure with the family doctor that they don’t run out of iron by doing a blood test.
Importance of Vitamins in Adolescent Nutrition
To meet the nutritional requirements of adolescents nutrition, the intake of vitamins must not be unkempt. For example, vitamin A is involved in cell growth, differentiation, proliferation, and reproduction. As for it, vitamin D is necessary for the process of calcification of bones.
Vitamins B12, B6, B9 riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine are involved in energy metabolism.
Therefore, it is essential to consider all these nutritional values to ensure adolescents a balanced diet.
A conjugate deficiency of vitamin D and calcium may limit the increase in bone mass in adolescence. To achieve the recommended intake (5 mg per day), consuming 1-2 times a week fatty fish is desirable.
The supplement is present in eggs, cheeses, offal. It is wise to opt for milk enriched with vitamin D. When a teen lives in a low-sun area, it is possible to consider a drug supplementation of vitamin D with the doctor.
Essential for the production of new cells, vitamin B9 is vital during the growth phases. The concentration in green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, salads.), oleaginous dried fruits (almonds, hazelnuts.), cheeses, eggs.
Remember that by setting an example and accompanying them, our children will learn to adopt and maintain a good diet at the different stages of their development. A healthy life translates into multiple benefits, so it makes sense to make the necessary efforts at this crucial stage of a child’s development.