How many calories should a 14 year old girl eat? This is a common question as it seems that teenage girls are constantly hungry. However, to remain healthy, they need to know how many calories are in the food that they eat and make sure they stay within a particular range of this amount. The USDA recommends an allowance of 2,600 calories per day for girls aged 14-18. There are also further age specific guidelines if you would like to read them.
Counting Calories For Teenagers
Counting calories may at times be helpful for adults, to lose weight, help manage a disease, or to build healthier awareness and overall eating patterns around food.
However, most teenagers are in the stage of life where they should be developing healthy eating habits. They shouldn’t be extremely-focused about what and how much they are eating.
Typically, I don’t recommend teenagers count calories. It could become an obsessive habit and turn into an unhealthy focus on food and amounts. Tracking food and calories can be beneficial and informative on occasion, by helping to learn an appropriate calorie level depending on growth and health goals, and to get an idea of trends and habits, but I wouldn’t recommend it long-term.
It’s best for teenagers to learn to eat an appropriate amount of food and nutrients at appropriate times throughout the day. A good balance of food and meals will supply all the nutrients they need.
Best Apps for a Teenager to Count Calories:
In the few cases where a teenager should count calories, as recommended by a physician or registered dietitian nutritionist, there are several ways to do it. You can use an app that scans bar codes and calculates your nutrient totals once you search for the foods you eat.
You can also keep track of the food and amounts you eat on a food log and then input the data into a calorie calculator. Unfortunately, many food tracking apps have age restrictions of age 18 and older.
Be careful of what apps you do let your child use. Some food tracking apps for kids and teens are actually diets in disguise. They can lead to unhealthy eating habits, teach stressing about food choices, and overall they just want your money (e.g. I’m not really a fan of the new Kurbo Weight Watcher’s App for kids. It has some of these factors and criticizes food choices).
How to Raise Healthy Teens – Tips for Parents:
The Role of Parents: The parents should establish healthy habits and be good examples at home for their teens. They are the most influential examples to teaches healthy eating habits and demonstrate behaviors of having positive relationships with food and weight.
If teenagers have poor examples at home (family members that are constantly dieting, complaining about their weight, restricting food, etc.), they could suffer from poor eating habits, low self esteem, an unhealthy relationship with food, and disordered eating problems.
Body image is a concern for teenagers as they start to care more about the way they look. It is common for teenagers to have an unhealthy relationship with food. 20 percent or more teenagers are obese, and many teenagers have an eating disorder.
Here are a few tips that are important for parents to practice at home to build healthy eating habits for their teen and for the whole family:
- Regular Check-ups- Check in regularly with the doctor to monitor your teen’s growth and trends
- Create a Positive Atmosphere at Home – Establish positive eating changes for the whole family. If one child needs to focus on weight, the whole family should eat healthier- not just one child.
- Responsibility of Parents- The parent is the “gate keeper” and decides what foods are available at home and what foods are offered and when.
- Make Healthier Foods Easily Accessible- Your teen is more likely to go for the quickest ready-to-eat snacks. Store cut up fruits and veggies in the fridge with dips and keep other quick ideas on hand like yogurt with granola and fruit, whole grain crackers and cheeses, whole grain cereals, dried fruit and nuts, etc. Limit highly processed snack foods in the home and offer many varieties of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
- Set Rules for Snacking- Your teenager probably stays near the fridge or pantry whenever they are home. Don’t allow “grazing” all day long and set some rules for snacks. I have a lot of good snack ideas here.
- Be Active as a Family– Plan fun physical activity as a family. Limit screen time and set rules for TV, computer, and phone use.
- Eat Together- Strive to have regular family meals at home. It is extremely helpful for adolescents to be able to connect with their parents and families over the dinner table and have positive conversation around food. Be supportive and talk with your kids. Have your kids help you plan and prepare some of the foods.
- Be a Positive Role Model- Avoid dieting in front of your children and talk about yourself positively. Having a positive body image will be one of the best examples you can give your children.
- Don’t Make Weight a Big Deal- If weight is a problem for a teenager, do not comment on their weight or physical appearance or complain about their food choices. Parents who restrict food can actually cause their child to be heavier in the long run.
There’s a lot of things to think about. Chances are you aren’t perfect and that’s OK! Choose one thing to work on as a family and be a little better today than you were yesterday.
How many calories should a teenage girl eat a day?
Teenage girls, especially girls between the ages of 14 and 18, tend to save calories. On the contrary, during adolescence, calories are needed to maintain the energy, development, and maturity of adolescence. It is difficult to know which is better. How many calories does a 14-year-old girl need to eat?
A moderately active 14-year-old girl needs 2,000 calories a day. Teenagers need 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day, depending on their level of exercise and other important factors.
Calories are important, but their source is more important. The diversity of food types is essential for young people to obtain the nutrients they need at this important stage of life. Proper diet and regular exercise can help 14-year-old girls feel refreshed and healthy without restricting their intake.
Read on for tips on how much food a 14-year-old should eat and how to stay healthy and happy.
Daily Calorie Diet Recommendations
Calories are energy. Without calories, 14-year-old teenage girls will not be able to perform daily activities. Calories help to breathe, walk, run, laugh, draw blood, etc.
The following Nutrition and Nutrition Institute table from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics can help you or your teenager determine the correct amount of calories to eat each day.
Food Group Recommendations for 14-Year Olds
The picture below shows the latest nutrition guidelines for teenagers. A 14-year-old who exercises moderately needs about 2,000 calories a day.
- 2 1/2 servings of vegetables
- 2 servings of fruit
- 6 servings of grain
- 3 servings of dairy
- 5 1/2 servings of protein foods
Remember that a 14-year-old girl needs about 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day. Eating a variety of foods from each food category can help you get a nutritious diet. It is more important to pay attention to a balanced diet including a variety of foods. Eat instead of calories.
It is important to note that added sugar, salt, and saturated fat are not listed in the table. Although small amounts of these foods are allowed, it is important to monitor intake, as large amounts can cause serious health problems.
Pick Low-Fat As an alternative to No-Fat
Growing 14-year-old girls may worry about being overweight. However, many body functions require fat. Choosing low-fat dairy products will provide you with some fat and many important nutrients such as protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.
Dairy products are a good choice for teenagers because they contain many different nutrients in an easy-to-consumable beverage or meal. Choose low-fat dairy products whenever possible.
The following options provide the benefits of fat or dairy products and no extra calories:
Vegetable or plant oils (i.e. olive, canola, sunflower, safflower)
- Low-fat dairy
- String cheese
- Low-fat yogurt
- Soy milk, yogurt, and calcium-set tofu
Sufficient vitamin supplements (fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K) are needed for optimal fat absorption. Fat is a great choice for teenagers! At the moment, they seem to be important, but in the long run, proper brain and body functions are even more important.
Choose protein-Rich foods
Usually, teenagers, especially athletes, need to grind protein powder to build muscle. In fact, eating a lot of protein in your diet is equally effective. This is easy, and most teenagers can get enough protein without sticking to a normal diet.
Try to feed these proteins to yourself or your baby:
- Lean meats (i.e. chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef or pork)
- Beans and peas
- Canned chicken
- Ground turkey
- Nuts butters and nuts
Specific Nutrients for 14-Year Olds
It seems difficult to calculate how many servings of each food you need to eat each day. Sometimes, it is the healthiest to consider what nutrition you need or what food you lack and start working from there.
The following are some nutrients to pay attention to when you are 14 years old:
Take fiber as an example. If you want to increase your fiber intake in your diet, instead of strictly following the size of each serving, then just focus on adding some high-fiber foods instead of low-fiber foods.
The following is a list of healthy foods and food groups that naturally contain fiber:
- Whole grains (i.e. quinoa, brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain crackers)
- Vegetables and fruits
- Beans (canned beans can be a great pantry staple)
Vitamins and Minerals
Fruits and vegetables are just the best sources of vitamins and minerals. Whole fruits and vegetables and 100% juice are the healthiest choices. Fresh, frozen or canned varieties are rich in nutrients, making food preparation easier.
The most popular plants:
- Frozen berries
- Melon slices
- 100% orange juice
- Baby carrots
- Sliced apples
- Sliced peppers
- Frozen peas
- Leafy green salads
Iron Consumption is important:
Among other things, 14-year-old girls need to know their iron content. Due to increased menstrual volume and blood volume during puberty, 14-year-old girls have an increased risk of iron deficiency anemia.
Combine the risk of anemia with a calorie-reducing diet, and you have a recipe for disaster. Since the diets of vegetarians and vegetarians are mostly plant-based, girls on this diet may need iron and B vitamins.
Iron is essential for immunity and many bodily functions, making it a major nutrient at this stage of life. Foods containing vitamin C (such as citrus fruits, 100% orange juice, grapefruit) consume iron sources will increase iron absorption, while too much calcium will reduce iron absorption.
Foods high in iron include:
- Leafy green vegetables
Enriched grains also contain iron, but whole foods usually provide the best nutrition. If you or your teenager want to know the iron content, please report your concerns to the nutritionist and health team. An appropriate treatment plan or supplement has been suggested.
How Many Calories Should A 14 Girl Eat
The teenage years are crucial times of development and growth, as well as the time to build healthy lifestyles and nutrition habits. 14-year-olds are usually right in between that stage of childhood and adulthood, going through puberty, building muscle, growing taller, becoming more independent, and learning important skills.
Many teenagers don’t eat enough, some eat too much, and many don’t have adequate access to healthy foods. When possible, it’s extremely important that 14-year-olds eat enough calories each day to support their growth, learning, and daily activities.
14-year-old teenage females need an average of 2,000 calories per day and 14-year-old males need an average of 2,400 calories per day. Active teens may need even more calories each day, depending on activity level.
Interested to learn how to help your teen eat better and eat the right amount of food each day for optimum growth and nourishment? Keep reading to find some of the best tips for feeding a 14-year-old.
How Much Food Should a 14-Year-Old Eat?
I often use these calorie recommendation tables from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. They give calorie estimates for teenagers based on age, gender, and activity level.
Individual needs may vary, but this chart can get you started in the right direction. Its not usually necessary for teenagers to strictly track calories, but it can be helpful to log food every once in a while to notice habits, trends, strengths, and areas for improvement.
Check out my post: “Should a Teenager Count Calories?“ for when it is appropriate and recommended for teenagers to log their food intake regularly.
Recommended Calorie Intakes for Teenagers:
Female Calorie Recommendations:
|Age||Not Active||Moderately Active||Active|
Male Calorie Recommendations:
|Age||Not Active||Moderately Active||Active|
From the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020
- Not Active – Minimum activity, just daily movements (walking, stairs, chores, etc.).
- Moderately Active – Standard daily activities plus 30-40 minutes of physical activity.
- Active – Standard daily activities plus 40+ minutes of physical activity.
How Many Calories Does a 14-Year-Old Need Per Day?
So the average, moderately active 14-year old male needs around 2,400-2,600 calories per day, and 14-year old moderately active females need around 2,000 calories per day. Again, that’s just a rough estimation (but probably pretty close for many teens). More or less calories are needed based on physical activity amounts per day.
What 2,000-2,400 calories looks like in a day:
Most 14-year olds should divide their calorie recommendations between about 3 meals and 1-3 snacks per day to keep up with their calorie and nutrient needs. Meals should be about 500-700 calories each and snacks should be about 100-300 calories.
I made one-day sample menu plan ideas so you can get an idea of what that amount of calories looks like in a day from a balance of healthy and favorite foods.
Here’s a Sample Meal Plan For a 14-Year Old Girl at 2,000 Calories:
Breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal made with 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 1 tablespoon peanut butter, plus 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 1 cup of 1% milk. 534 calories.
Lunch: Chicken pesto wrap, 1/2 cup cucumbers, 1/2 cup pretzels. 511 calories.
Snack: 1/4 cup hummus, 6 whole wheat crackers, and 1 cup celery sticks/baby carrots. 190 calories
Dinner: 2 slices veggie pizza, 1 cup green salad with 1 tablespoon dressing, orange slices, and 1 cup of 1% milk. 599 calories.
Snack: 8 oz lowfat Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup mixed berries and 2 tablespoons granola. 173 calories
Total: 2,007 calories, 126 grams of protein
Sample Menu Plan For a 14-Year-Old Boy at 2,400 Calories:
Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 cups fruit/veggie smoothie, and 2 slices of whole wheat toast with avocado. 561 calories.
Lunch: chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat bun, 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, and 1/2 cup grapes. 630 calories.
Snack: PB&J sandwich. 350 calories.
Dinner: 1 cup meat and veggie lasagna, 1 slice garlic bread, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup skim milk. 705 calories.
Snack: Small handful of trail mix and dried fruit. 173 calories.
Total: 2,419 calories
What Should a 14-Year-Old Eat in a Day?
The right diet for a 14-year old teenager includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy or dairy alternatives, protein foods, and healthy fats. It’s also important for adolescents to follow a diet high in nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, fiber) and low in added sugars, salt, and saturated fats.
A Healthy, Balanced Diet for Teenagers Includes:
- Fruit and Vegetables: Choose 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. A serving size is about the size of your fist or 1 cup. Choose a variety of colors, types, and textures.
- Whole Grains and Starchy Foods: Choose 6-8 servings per day. A serving is equal to 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of cooked grains, etc. Choose whole wheat breads/pasta/crackers, sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice, quinoa etc.
- Dairy Products: Choose 2-3 servings per day. A serving size is about 1 cup. Choose low-fat dairy products (skim or 1% fat) of milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, etc. Fortified dairy alternatives are also appropriate.
- Protein foods: Choose 4-7 servings per day. A serving is equal to 1 ounce of cooked meat, 1 egg, 1/4 cup cooked beans, 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter, or 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds.
- Also, limit sugar, sodium, and saturated fat: Teens should limit highly processed foods and foods with too much sugar, salt, and fat, such as dessert, treats, candy, cakes, and sugary drinks. These foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. They should be the “sometimes foods” in a teenager’s diet, consumed in moderation, not consumed regularly.
Tips for 14-year-old Teenage girls and their parents
Here are some tips for teenage girls trying to understand food choices and calories:
- Advance an action plan for eating disorders. Unfortunately, teenagers often develop unhealthy eating habits or relationships with food. The National Eating Disorders Association Service Hotline can help you or your teenager have an eating disorder or idea. Ask for help! This is the job of nutritionists and other health professionals.
- Build trust and positive relationships, not rules-based on constraints. An overly strict set of rules (such as no candy at home) will prevent young people from practicing valuable skills. In fact, knowing that your teenagers will make healthier choices than healthy and happy choices will make them more confident in making good decisions outside the home.
- Learn more about nutrition labeling. The nutrition information label on the food packaging changes from time to time. Keep up with the latest changes.
- Build a positive model. Parents can simulate positive eating habits and provide a healthy diet for their family members to illustrate responsible eating conditions.
Example of a meal plan for a 14-year-old girl with a calorie content of 2,000:
Breakfast: 1 boiled egg, 1 whole wheat bagel, 1 tablespoon of nut butter and 4 slices of strawberries, and 1 cup of low-fat milk (or a substitute for calcium-fortified soy or nut milk products). 548 calories.
Snack: 2 tablespoons of hummus with 1/2 cup chili flakes and 6 graham crackers 170 calories.
Lunch: canned tuna and mayonnaise, add 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 1 medium apple, 1/2 cup of celery sticks, 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes and 30 grams of pretzels. 585 calorie
Snack: 8 ounces of lean Greek meat. High-fat yogurt (or dairy-free yogurt) contains 147 calories of 1/4 cup of mixed berries.
Dinner: a bowl of chicken corn with lime and cilantro: 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1/4 cup black beans, 1 cup green leafy vegetables, 300 g diced chicken, 1/4 cup chickpeas, 3 tablespoons coriander 30 grams of sauce and lime, grated cheese and 1/4 medium avocado, 548 calories.
Total: 1,998 calories, 126 grams of protein, 234 grams of carbohydrates, 62 grams of fat.
Health Benefits of Low Calorie Diet
1. Helps with weight control.
One of the most important parts of losing weight via a low-calorie diet is eating less food than you need i.e. consuming fewer calories than you burn up daily. The average woman requires up to 2000 calories daily to maintain the same weight while an average man needs about 2500 calories daily to remain in the same weight range. A low-calorie intake helps you achieve this goal of weight loss since it involves eating a limited amount of calories daily meaning your body is using more calories daily than it is getting, thus resulting in weight loss.
2. Helps You Stay Healthy
A lot of people go on diets because they want to lose weight. A low-calorie diet can help you achieve this goal by helping you actually lose weight, thus improving your health. In addition, when done right, a low-calorie diet often involves eating a balanced diet everyday which is an important part of healthy living. Low calorie diets usually comprises of quality fibre, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean protein to ensure you get the sufficient amount of nutrients your body needs to run daily, regardless of calorie reduction.
3. Boosts mood and wellbeing
Low calorie balanced diets often contain essential nutrients and minerals which are important to ensure the body functions normally. These minerals also help ensure that you get enough sleep at night as well as making sure you have the required energy to take on your daily tasks. This large amount of nutrients and minerals also help you stay healthy and boost your immune system.
4. Improve Blood Sugar Levels
When dieting, most people tend to avoid foods containing a lot of sugar or carbohydrates because these sugars eventually become calories and if taken can render the whole dieting exercise futile. Avoiding sugary and carbohydrate foods are beneficial to your health because it helps regulate your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can put you at a high risk of diabetes and heart disease so it is important that it stays in a healthy range.