Food and Nutrition

10 Essential Nutrients Every Teen-aged Boy Needs

Neetu Ralhan
11 to 16 years

Created by Neetu Ralhan
Updated on Jul 18, 2013

10 Essential Nutrients Every Teen aged Boy Needs

Teenage is especially rough on our young boys, one may agree. With hormones playing havoc with their system, young men are often at the receiving end of daddy’s wrath resulting in their behavior under tight scrutiny. More often than not, In our society how a teenaged boy behaves in his adolescence is a confirmed preview of how he will fulfill his lifelong responsibilities; therefore our boys must be the epitome of responsibility and refined gentility at all times ? (we all know it is easier said than done).  

Perhaps if someone informed daddy that the sloppiness and the sleepiness is not our young lad’s disinterest in a meaningful life but only a nutrient deficiency no one knows about. Or if our anxious teen was told that the acne giving him sleepless nights is in fact the outcome of his dislike for all things that grow on plants. The world would probably be a less hostile place for our teens.

What Good Nutrients Your Teen Needs During Crucial Years

Let’s find out how and what nutritions impacts our young men in more ways than we understand.

*RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) - The quantity of a nutrient which should be consumed daily to maintain good health.
*Fortified foods – Processed foods to which certain nutrients have been added in order to improve their nutrient content.

#1. CALCIUM

The enormous appetite notwithstanding, teenaged boys are still prone to calcium deficiency. Since your teen will acquire most of his skeletal mass during adolescence, he needs a calcium rich diet on a daily basis, to help him build healthy bones and teeth for life.  

RDA: 9-18 years – 1300 mg/day 

Food sources: Milk, curd, cheese, almonds, ice cream, calcium fortified breakfast cereal, spinach and other leafy greens, kale, cinnamon, sesame seeds, flax seeds.

#2. PROTEINS

He wants to build muscle - he needs protein. An essential macronutrient, protein is the building block of life. Teenage is a time of rapid growth when young boys need a protein rich diet to build, repair and maintain body tissue. Protein is also the raw material for healthy muscle, skin and hair.

RDA: 9-13 years – 34 grams/day | 14-18 years – 52 grams/day

Food sources: Poultry, eggs, dairy foods, meat, fish, lentils, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, black beans, soy.

#3. ZINC

Your teen would probably lap onto a zinc rich diet if he knew that zinc deficiency can impact his height and weight and may also cause acne. Low levels of zinc can impair growth and immunity, and in severe cases, zinc deficiency may also hamper sexual development.

RDA: 9-13 years – 8 mg/day | 14-18 years – 11 mg/day

Food Sources: Beans, legumes, nuts, whole grains, milk, dairy products, kidney beans, chickpeas, oysters, red meat, poultry, crabs, fish, lobsters, fortified breakfast cereal.

#4. MAGNESIUM

Teenagers need magnesium for optimal physical and cognitive development. One of the most important functions of this trace mineral is to regulate blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Although rare, magnesium deficiency can lead to weakness, lethargy, hyperactivity and lack of sleep, sleepiness, learning difficulties, nausea, vomiting, irritability, confusion and rapid heartbeat.

RDA: 9-13 years – 240 mg/day | 14-18 years – 410 mg/day

Food sources: Bananas, green vegetables, whole grains, peanuts, peanut butter, coriander, cumin, basil, basil, cinnamon, almonds, cashews, apricots, soy, unprocessed flour, whole grains, peanut butter and whole wheat bread.

#5. POTASSIUM

Potassium works as the oil for your teen’s nerve and muscle machinery. An active teenager loses potassium through perspiration. Low levels of potassium can disrupt the body’s fluid balance, cause muscle cramps, fatigue and palpitations in young adults. Furthermore, potassium deficiency in teens has been linked to hypertension, heart disease, obesity and even depression.

RDA: 9-13 years – 4,500 mg/day | 14-18 years – 4,700 mg/day

Food sources: Dairy products, bananas, kiwi, orange, watermelon, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, strawberries, peas, beans, peanuts, raisins, almonds.

#6. VITAMIN A

VAD (Vitamin A Deficiency) is a common health problem in developing countries. Your teen needs Vitamin A for healthy hair, skin and vision. Low levels of Vitamin A can cause acne, poor bone growth, blurred vision and in severe cases, night blindness.

RDA: 9-13 years – 600 mcg RAE/day | 14-18 years – 900 mcg RAE/day

Food sources: Carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet potato, mango, papaya, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, orange and yellow vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals.

#7. CALORIES

Though many mums perceive calories as the bad guy, your teen needs about 2,000 calories every day to replenish the energy he loses in physical activity. While each gram of protein and carbohydrate provide 4 calories, the same amount of fat delivers about 9 calories. Therefore, one needs to ensure that the calories come from fresh, natural foods and not processed food.
At the same time, unburnt calories will cause your child to gain weight.

RDA: Approx. 2000 calories a day

Food sources: Vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy foods, lentils, peanut butter, vegetable oils, foods rich in proteins and carbohydrates.

#8. PHOSPHORUS

Phosphorus makes about 1 percent of your teen’s total body weight. It is as essential as calcium for the formation of healthy bones and teeth. It helps produces energy and maintains the body’s chemical balance. Low phosphorus can cause loss of appetite, weak muscles, joint pain, irritability and fatigue.
On the other hand, excessive phosphorus, a common ingredient in carbonated drinks, and in some cases may deplete the body’s calcium content.

RDA: 9-18 years – 1,250 mg/day

Food sources: Milk, dairy, apples, bananas, oranges, potatoes, garlic, grains, lentils, kidney beans, almonds, peanuts, poultry, fish.

#9. B VITAMINS

B Vitamins is a group of 8 vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12. Although required in small quantities, these micronutrients support critical functions such as formation of red blood cells, brain development, renewal of skin and hormonal balance. Lack of B vitamins may reveal itself as skin problems, lack of energy, numbness and impaired physical and cognitive growth.

RDA: Different for each B vitamin.

Food sources: Dairy products, poultry, fortified breakfast cereals, whole grains, green vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, fruits, rice, nuts.

#10. IRON

Although the increased need of iron in teenaged girls is much emphasized, young boys need an iron rich diet just as much. Iron deficiency can impact your teen’s performance at school, cause dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite and mood swings that may take you by surprise.

RDA: 9-13 years – 8 mg/day | 14-18 years – 11 mg/day

Food sources: Green leafy vegetables, beetroot, tomatoes, oatmeal, lentils, cereals, whole grain bread, nuts, soybeans, kidney beans, chickpeas, chicken and fish.


Nutritional deficiencies are a common occurrence in growing children. Understanding how food impacts our children’s day-to-day behavior is perhaps yet another step towards Pro-parenting !

 

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| Sep 30, 2017

it is useful information for me. thanks alot

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| Sep 30, 2017

it is useful information for me. thanks alot

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| Dec 16, 2016

my younger one who is 12 yrs short to his age. can any one advice some tips for him to grow height. i have seen few ayurvedic medicines for height growth. is it reliable??

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| Dec 16, 2016

diet chart for my kids

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| Sep 21, 2016

nice information

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| Aug 01, 2016

Thanq for the information. Will help the Moms

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| Jul 04, 2016

Very informative. Thanks a lot.

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| Sep 23, 2015

Thank for the important information. My son doesn't want to eat eggs but after reading this he agrees to take them daily. Thanks again.

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| Jun 09, 2015

The diet chart is very helpful indeed. Thanks a lot....

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| Dec 18, 2013

Dear Neetu, Indeed very important informations.... thanks!

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