Teen boys have incredible growth spurts, as you probably already know if you're a parent of one who seems to eat everything in sight. During these periods of rapid growth, boys require plenty of protein to support proper development. Knowing how much protein your 15-year-old teen son needs each day is one way to protect his health.
1. Recommended Daily Requirement
Teen boys between the ages of 14 and 18 should consume 52 grams of protein per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That amount is for the average teen boy, however, so your 15-year-old might need more if he participates in athletics, exercises vigorously or lifts weights. The Harvard School of Public Health says a person needs "about 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight."
2. Why Protein is Essential
Protein is needed to make many components of the body, so it's an essential part of everyone's daily diet. Proteins are made up of different amino acid combinations. Individual amino acids link together to create the proteins needed to support many functions, for example, immune response, hormone regulation and respiration.
3. Food Sources
Meat and seafood are among the top sources of protein. A 3-ounce serving of beef, pork, chicken, turkey or fish supplies about 21 grams of protein. If your son eats meat and seafood on a regular basis, he's likely getting all the protein he needs to maintain his health. Dairy foods are a healthy source of protein, as well. A cup of milk contains about 8 grams of protein and an 8-ounce serving of yogurt supplies 11 grams. A cup of beans or lentils provides between 16 and 18 grams of protein. Legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs and cheese are additional sources of protein.
4. Tips and Considerations
Most Americans get more protein than they need, according to the CDC, so monitor your son's protein intake to help support his health. Limit how much of his protein comes from red meat, because it tends to be high in saturated fat and thus could raise his cholesterol and risk of heart disease if he consumes too much. He should eat lean cuts of meat, fish, egg whites, low-fat dairy foods, nuts and seeds for the bulk of his protein intake. If your teen son is a picky eater and doesn't like many of these foods, speak with his pediatrician about what you can do to ensure that he's getting the protein he needs to grow normally.
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