Teens who want to gain weight may find themselves tempted by the assortment of supplements available on the market. As your body grows, your weight gain may fluctuate, because your body has not completed its growth. Before you purchase costly supplements, make sure your diet meets your nutritional needs. Supplements may provide extra substances that your body does not need and may be harmful.
Teen Caloric Needs
The Dietary Guidelines for America, 2005, show that teen males between 14 and 18 years old require 2,200 to 2,800 calories per day, depending on their activity levels. Teen females require 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day. It is important that these caloric needs are met through meals and snacks, and if the teens are more active, they will need more calories in order to both nourish their bodies for growth and fuel them for sports and exercise.
Teen Protein Needs
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, also recommends that teens consume approximately 100 g protein per day. The Mass General Hospital shows that weight-lifting teens need approximately .6 to .75 g protein per pound of body weight. This increase of protein should be sufficient in providing for the extra protein needs for muscle repair and growth. The typical American diet, with meat consumed at most meals, is usually sufficient in meeting your protein needs. If you follow a low-protein or vegetarian diet, then be sure that you eat legumes, grains, soy, and quinoa products, which provide vegetarian protein in your diet. Milk, nuts, meat, whole grains, and legumes are good sources of protein.
Ergogenic Aids and Teens
Sports supplements are marketed towards teens as quick ways to build muscle and gain weight, but many supplements are banned from official sport competitions. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration does not necessarily monitor production and marketing of the products, and some products may provide substances that are not labeled or monitored for safety, according to the Teens Health website. The effectiveness and safety are not proven for supplements, and most of the benefits shown for the supplements are shown in adults, rather than adolescents.
How to Gain Weight and Muscle
The Teens Health website shows that teens should be sure to eat adequate protein and adequate meals in order to properly fuel their bodies. Choose foods that are lower in fat and packed with vitamins and minerals. Be sure to eat breakfast every day, and eat a snack about one hour before exercising so hunger does not distract you. Eat lean protein, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and legumes in as many meals as possible. Drink water or milk rather than coffee, soda pop, or energy drinks in order to provide your body with necessary, but not excessive, nutrients. Consult your health care provider if you feel you need to gain more weight than diet and exercise can provide.