An essential nutrient for healthy body growth, development and maintenance, protein can be found in a range of animal and plant products. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teens in the United States frequently overconsume protein. Ensure your teenage boy has enough protein to maintain healthy growth and development, but not so much that he gains weight.
The recommended dietary allowance of protein for a 15-year-old boy is 52 grams per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. This comes out to roughly 0.39 gram of protein for every pound of body weight each day. Or, following the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, a teen boy of this age needs roughly 6 1/2 ounces of protein each day. However, individual needs may differ based on illness, growth spurts and whether your teen engages in high-intensity physical activity.
Requirements for Athletic Teens
If your teenage boy is engaged in intensive physical activity, you need to make sure he increases his protein consumption. According to registered dietitian Pamela M. Nisevich in "Today’s Dietitian," athletic teenage boys need between 0.45 to 0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. Thus, a 15-year-old athletic boy weighing 125 pounds would need between 56 and 85 grams of protein each day, depending on the length and intensity of his physical exertion.
Choosing the Right Protein Source
The USDA recommends choosing a range of protein foods, including seafood, poultry, eggs, lean meat, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds, to meet your teenage boy's daily protein requirements. Similarly, choosing low-fat sources of protein, meaning foods that have a low saturated and trans fat content, will keep him healthy. The USDA recommends substituting seafood, such as fish or shrimp, for some red meat or poultry choices and eating a minimum 8 ounces of seafood each week.
Incorporating Protein Into Meals
To make sure your teenage boy gets as much protein as he needs, aim for roughly a third of the daily requirement -- about 17 to 18 grams of protein -- at each meal, accumulating to a total of 52 grams per day. To ensure there is enough variety in your protein sources, consider making the protein source of one meal each day non-animal-based, and two to three times each week, use seafood as the protein source for a meal.
- HealthyChildren.org: A Teenager's Nutritional Needs
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- U.S. Department of Agriculture ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Protein From the Protein Foods Group Is Required?
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes -- Macronutrients
- Today's Dietitian: Sport's Nutrition for Young Adults
- U.S. Department of Agriculture ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is It Important to Make Lean or Low-Fat Choices From the Protein Foods Group?