Thursday, January 30, 2014

How Much Protein Should a Teenager Have Every Day?

The amount of protein that a teenager needs each day depends upon his or her physical activity and weight.
Active teenagers need more protein each day.
Serving a variety of foods rich in plant and animal protein for breakfast, snacks and dinner ensures that your teenager gets all the protein needed to stay healthy.

Protein Pointers 

Protein consists of 20 amino acids that the body needs for strong muscles and bones. Amino acids are also responsible for strengthening the immune system to ward off illnesses and heal injuries. An active teenager also needs protein for energy when playing sports and staying alert in school. Protein is instrumental for healthy skin and hair, which is always a concern of teenagers. In order for a teenager to get the recommended daily allowance of protein each day, he or she should eat a variety of plant-based protein like beans, nuts and rice, as well as animal protein from meat, eggs, poultry and dairy products.

Calculating Specific Protein Needs

You can multiply the average recommended daily protein by the teenager’s weight for a more accurate amount of protein needed each day. For example, for inactive teenagers, multiply .36 times the bodyweight to find the daily protein needed. Using this formula, a sedentary teen weighing 145 pounds would need 52 grams of protein each day. If the teenager is active and weighs 145 pounds, multiply the weight times .54, which equals 78. The active teenager needs 78 grams of daily protein.

Daily Protein Ideas 

A tablespoon of peanut butter with a banana adds protein, potassium, vitamin C and niacin for eye health and muscle strength. Greek yogurt with berries supplies protein, vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. Another protein snack is a handful of tree nuts. Oatmeal topped with walnuts gives 4 grams of protein for breakfast, while a whole wheat English muffin offers 3 grams of protein. Substitute white bread for whole grain pita for 3 grams of protein. A 3-ounce serving of meat, fish or poultry gives your teenager about 21 grams of protein.


Image: By Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia (Teenagers at Play  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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