Teenage boys grow rapidly and gain weight rapidly throughout their adolescent years. For some, it seems impossible for their weight to catch up with their height; they may feel too lean and be sensitive about the lack of mass. For others, prepubescent weight–added to the additional weight gain of the adolescent body–can become too much; they may exceed a recommended weight for their height. Even for teenage boys who walk a middle line between the two weight extremes, eating a health diet is a very important part of good adolescent growth.
The basic diet for all body types is the same; more or less weight gain can be dealt with simply by adjusting amounts of particular food types. Regular exercise is also an important component of any good diet.
To Gain Weight
The extra-lean teenage boy should consume a wide variety of foods, plus more fat and protein than the average adult needs on a daily basis. The bulk of the diet should be fruits, vegetables and whole grain starches such as brown rice, whole-grain cereal and bread, and pastas. That important, according to the UK’s National Health Service.
It’s very important that teenage boys get enough fat and protein, but they need to get it from good sources. Gorging on hamburgers and fries does not a healthy teenage diet make. Healthy fats from oils, nuts, nut butters, and seeds–as well as from full-fat dairy products–are a better way to go than greasy foods which can cause all sorts of unhealthy side effects. Protein can come from lean cuts of meat, dairy products, beans, and legumes.
Eating more often than three times a day is a good idea; snacks and frequent meals provide a continuous supply of energy to a growing body. A teenage boy’s metabolism works on hyper-speed. He should be allowed to eat often and to eat big portions. Simply steer away from junk food.
To Lose Weight
The teenage boy who wants to lose weight should also consume a wide variety of foods. Dieting is not the answer for teens who want to lose weight; it puts them at risk of consuming adequate nutrition for their bodies to continue healthy growth.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases, a better plan is to include fruits and vegetables that are important for the vitamins and nutrients they provide. Include whole grain starches, low-fat dairy and lean cuts of meat.
Lower-fat dairy products will provide calcium and protein sources without the additional fat, and lean cuts of meat are the best option for good protein without additional bulk. Limiting junk food is essential. Those empty calories add to the fat stores without providing muscle mass or nutrients for growth.
To Maintain Healthy Growth
When the height-weight ratio is fairly normal, a healthy diet for a teenage boy includes that same wide variety of food. It is important to include a good amount of protein and some additional fat. However, a teenage boy shouldn’t consume fat in excess. It’s important that teens learn to find good food choices for snacks, according to the FDA. This will help him maintain a good weight, build muscles and have adequate nutrition without gaining excess weight. The FDA also states that teen boys also need at least 12 milligrams of iron daily, which they can get from those lean meats and fish. They also need lots of calcium, which is easiest to consume in dairy products.