How Many Calories Does a Teenage Boy Need?

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

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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.