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Teenage Athlete Nutrition: Is your teen getting enough calories?

I love the Pediasure TV Commercial with the kids trying to play soccer in costumes of what they have been eating (ie. french fries), and on the sidelines their moms' commenting that the kids 'are what they eat.' It is so true for both kids and adults; while exercising we often feel the effects of what we have been putting into our bodies and it can greatly affect our performance. However, with athletic kids and teenagers, it is even more complicated as in addition to supplying the nutrients for their active lifestyle and sporting events, their bodies need even more calories, vitamins and supplements for their growing and changing bodies.  Cue Lance Armstrong's amazing website,, for help on this subject. It is easy as parents to prepare for your children what you would eat yourself for dinner and snacks. But, with an athletic teenage girl needing up 3,500 calories a day, parents need to make sure they are supplying their kids with not just healthy food, but enough of it to supply the calories needed to sustain an active lifestyle. "Active teenagers require more calories due to their increased activity levels.  The University of Illinois notes that athletic teens may require up to 5,000  calories daily. In comparison, teens who are not active typically require only  3,000 calories daily. Adequate calories not only fuel performance, but also  support growth in young adults, according to TeensHealth.  Activity level, age  and weight all influence calorie needs. Therefore, is it important to consult a  registered dietitian for the exact calorie needs based on those factors (" TeensHealth recommends a variety of healthy foods to provide necessary fats,  protein, and carbohydrates for active teenagers. Protein is required for healthy  growth and maintenance of the body's tissues. Healthy proteins for teenagers  include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and nuts. Carbohydrates are  important for athletes because they provide a source of energy, according to  TeensHealth. Whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, rice, pasta and oatmeal  are recommended carbohydrates over white bread and candy bars. A variety of  fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, berries and green leafy vegetables  also provide good sources of carbohydrates and nutrients. TeensHealth reports  that dietary fat is also necessary for young athletes because fats provide fuel  for active muscles. Unsaturated fat founds in vegetable oils and nuts are  recommended over saturated and trans fats. However, fats should not be consumed  before physical activity because it can slow  digestion (! I'm not sure if any of this type of food is served in a school cafeteria these days, so helping your teenager pack their own lunch and snacks can better control their diet and ensure proper nutrition that is needed for their activities.  Childhood and teenage growth can be sudden and occasionally difficult to predict and manage. Add soccer, basketball, and lacrosse practice five days a week and games all weekend, we're talking a lot of activity for a body that is already going through natural changes. Help aid this transition with proper nutrition and enough calories to help gain optimal performance in sport and health! And as always, visit for the right apparel to fit kids, teens, and adults of all growing sizes! Read more on how to guarantee proper nutrition for your growing athlete here: