According to WebMD, an average man should consume about 2400 calories per day and the average woman should consume about 2000 calories per day,
But what about us, teenagers? How should our nutritional intake be? I asked my most trusted source, Google. But Google left me confused rather than giving me a solid and concrete answer. Frustrated, I decided to go in the pursuit of the answer to my question.
I met up a few nutritionists and here is what I learnt:
We, as teens, go through a lot during the day. We go through emotional stress, physical stress and mental stress. We are always on the go, we don’t mind being under the sun the entire day as long as we are with our friends. Our bodies are changing. It honestly needs energy to be a teen.
According to a nutritionist at Mumbai’s Hiranandani Hospital an average teenage girl needs atleast 2,200 to 2,400 calories per day, while an average teenage boy requires about 2400 to 2600 calories per day. It is important to focus on what goes into a teenager’s body during his/her teens, because it sets pace for their future.
A growing teen should ideally consume a balanced diet, which is full of protein for repair of muscle, wear and tear, calcium for bones, iron for maintaining good blood and vitamins and minerals. Apparently, most teens lack the necessary quantities of essential vitamins, omega3, calcium and iron. That is probably why we feel lethargic and inactive all the time.
Another nutritionist, Dr. Kalpana Singla said that most teens lack physical activity. In today’s day and age, when everything is being controlled by technology, teens are not getting the right kind of physical activity they need. They are sleep deprived because they stay up late into the night, engaging in useless prattle and usually have to wake up early for school or college. They also lack enough stamina which results in a lack-luster personality, lethargic behaviour and lower motivation to succeed.
The next question that arouse in my mind was, ‘what should be consumed in order to get the required nutritional intake?”
Ideally, a teenager should eat atleast 2 fruits a day. They should consume lots of green leafy vegetables which are rich in calcium and protein. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, soya beans, tofu, spinach and kale are very good sources of calcium and they should be consumed atleast thrice a week. One must eat a lot of lentils like dal and rajma. To beat the summer heat, one must drink coconut water and fresh fruit juices and not the packed ones, which have a high sugar content.
Essentially, what must be avoided includes foods high in sugar content, fizzy drinks, salty food and food items that have too much oil or are deep fried.
Although, fast food items like burgers and pizzas make us happy, they should be consumed in limitation. “There are various other things that are healthy and are directly associated with happiness,” elicits Dr. Singla.
The foods you consume has a lot to do with your mental health and emotions. However, in Dr. Singla’s opinion, food and emotions play a side by side role, as too much of junk would make one lethargic and it would effect ones emotional intelligence. “A malnutritio child would always be depressed and unhappy. So, having a healthy diet would produce happy results,” she said.
It is essential to know that the repercussions of not eating the right kind of food can be adverse. This does not mean that we have to deprive ourselves of our favorite food, but it is just that we have to make a concious and wise decision as to what goes into our body.
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