How Many Calories Should a 14-Year-Old Eat in a Day?

Calorie requirements for anyone generally depends on a few factors, including the person’s height, weight and their level of physical activity. However, the nutritional needs, including the recommended amount of daily calories, needed for growing adolescents may be slightly different. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the average 14-year-old male needs about 2,200 to 3,200 calories per day, and the average female needs about 1,800 to 2,400 each day. Again, it’s important to remember variables such as height, weight and activity level need to be taken into account when determining the number of calories needed for teenagers. Caloric intake is important for managing body weight, which is crucial for teenagers who are struggling with obesity.

Recommendations for Males

Each teenage boy’s calorie needs differs according to their personal activity level. Males who are 14 and sedentary, which means they only do light activity necessary for everyday life, should consume 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day. Moderately active males who are 14, or those who walk quickly for about 1.5 to 3 miles each day, should consume 2,400 to 2,800 calories each day. Active males who are 14, those who play sports or walk more than 3 miles each day, should consume 2,800 to 3,200 calories a day.

Recommendations for Females

On average, females need fewer calories than males. The current USDA guidelines recommend that sedentary 14-year-old females consume at least 1,800 calories each day. Females who are 14 and are moderately active should consume 2,000 calories in a day. Active females who are 14 are advised to eat 2,400 calories a day, the same amount as a sedentary or moderately active male.

Be sure to discuss healthy eating habits with your teenage girl, as they are especially at risk for eating disorders. They may cut the amount of calories they eat daily or meal plan excessively to try and induce weight loss. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, many preteens who struggle with eating disorders are more likely to have other mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.

Overall Recommendations

It’s important to maintain a healthy diet that has enough calories to sustain you through the day. Calorie intake is especially important if your teen athlete is doing intensive workouts or is pulling long hours studying for classes. Dietitians and nutritionists generally recommend a balanced diet that features healthy foods like fibrous legumes, lean meats, vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, and plenty of whole grains for carbohydrates. Food with a lot of calcium, like dairy products, are also recommended to promote healthy bone development in teens. Try to limit your teens’ soda and fast food consumption to promote their overall well being and meet their caloric needs.

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