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How Many Calories Does a Teenage Boy Need?

by
author image Chelsea Flahive, RDN, LD
Chelsea Flahive is a registered dietitian nutritionist and licensed dietitian with a passion for health and wellness, weight management and disease prevention. She received a Bachelor of Science in human nutrition, foods and exercise from Virginia Tech and completed her dietetic internship through the University of Delaware. Flahive is completing a certificate of training in weight management through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
How Many Calories Does a Teenage Boy Need?
Teen boy eating spaghetti with maranara sauce in a restaurant Photo Credit mtreasure/iStock/Getty Images

Adolescence is a time of rapid growth, change and development. With obesity and chronic disease on the rise, teenage boys should eat a balanced diet to ensure proper growth but also to maintain their optimum weight. A teen’s calorie needs are based on many factors including body size, rate of growth and activity level.

Calorie Recommendations by Age

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends that boys between the ages of 9 and 13 get between 1,400 and 1,600 calories per day if they are sedentary; 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day if they are moderately active; and 1,800 and 2,200 if they are active. Recommendations for boys ages 14 to 18 are 2,000 to 2,400 calories if they are sedentary; 2,400 to 2,800 calories per day if they are moderately active; and 2,800 to 3,200 calories per day if they are active.

Getting the Right Amount

Calories should come from a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein. Carbohydrates, found in fruits, veggies, and grains, should make up 45 percent to 65 percent of a teenage boy’s daily calories. Protein, found in meat, poultry, fish, and beans, should make up between 10 percent and 35 percent of total calories. Teenage boys ages 9 to 13 need 34 grams of protein per day; ages 14 to 18 require 52 grams. The remaining 20 percent to 35 percent of daily calories should come from healthy fats.

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