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No Sugar Added, Whole Nutrition for Active Teens

May 11, 2016

Teens often participate in extracurricular activities, either at school or on their own time. Some teens join teams outside of school, or spend a lot of time skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and a whole host of other activities with their friends. A lot of teens gravitate toward school-based team sports because sports are a great outlet for energy as well as a way to learn the value of hard work and discipline. Plus, many sports players that play on school teams have a better chance at being accepted to college. If you are the parent of an active teen, you may be concerned about their nutrition and their eating habits. Most teens are known for chowing down on junk food, but they need to make sure they get their share of whole foods in if they want their activity performance to be at the optimum level.

We want to educate parents on the calorie needs of active teens, as well as recommended nutrition for both active boys and girls. If your teens want to stay active, they need to stay healthy.

Very active boys, such as those participating in sports full-time, or who get some kind of exercise several hours each day, need between 2,800 calories and 3,200 calories. Boys who are moderately active, such as those who exercise on their own for one or two hours per day, need between 2,400 and 2,800 calories. These numbers seem high, but it’s due to the fact that boys grow significantly between the ages of 14 and 18. They need more calories to ensure healthy physical growth, including healthy muscle development.

Very active girls need 2,400 calories, especially girls who participate in team sports or other forms of exercise for two or more hours per day. Moderately active girls, including those who exercise one to two hours per day, need 2,000 calories per day. These numbers are lower than those for boys because girls go through less physical development between the ages of 14 and 18 than boys do. Many girls are done growing by the time they are 16. Girls also have different hormones than boys do, and estrogen can cause weight gain in girls, where teen boys have to worry less about the issue of weight gain during the same age range.

Active teen girls need about 3 servings of fruit per day if they are on a 2,400 calorie diet, and 4 servings of vegetables, where active teen boys need about 4 servings of fruit per day on a 2,800 calorie diet, five if they are on a 3,200 calorie diet, and 5 servings of vegetables.

You can read more about sport nutrition for young adults on the government’s National Institute for Health website, which discusses the roles of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and macronutrients needed for healthy teen athletes, as opposed to fruit and vegetable servings.

Now, even 3 servings of fruits or vegetables sounds like it may be a bit much to get your teen to eat, especially at the height of their junk food cravings. However, a standard serving is less than you may think. A standard serving of vegetables is equivalent to one cup of raw, leafy greens; one-half cup of other vegetables, raw or cooked; or ¾ of a cup of vegetable juice. One standard serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium apple, banana, orange or pear; a half cup of canned or chopped fruit; or ¾ of a cup of 100% fruit juice.

You can see that it could be easy to get teens to consume the correct amount of servings per day, if they could get some of those servings in a way that they enjoyed. For instance, many teens enjoy protein shakes, smoothies, or fruit juice. It is easy to put both fruits and vegetables in a smoothie without negatively impacting the taste, and the same goes for many fruit juices. Protein shakes taste much better with fruit than without.

Still, if your teen is struggling to get the right amount of fruit into their diet, consider buying them one of our Froozer frozen fruit smoothie bars. Our fruit bars are 100% natural, non-GMO, low in calories, and contain a full serving of fruit (minimum) per bar. (Read more about GMOs in our article What Does Non-GMO Mean for Your Frozen Fruit Smoothie?) Froozer bars are a delicious snack or dessert that contributes to your active teen’s dietary needs. They’re guaranteed to love it, so look for our products at your local grocery store, or buy Froozer on our website or in a store near you!