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Can I get a diet chart for my 12-year-old son?

Q: Can I get a daily diet chart for a 12-year-old school going son?

A:Congratulations, your school going boy is about to become a teenager. The daily requirements are significantly increased at this time. It would not be practical to provide a daily fixed chart knowing so little about him but here are some general tips: Calories Boys aged 12-14 need 2200 a day, about the same as an adult. This big need for calories explains why teens, especially boys, are always starving. But it's better to let them fill up on calorie-rich, nutritious foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruits rather than junk. A bowl of muesli with semi-skimmed milk, for example, is a better snack than a packet of crisps or a chocolate biscuit. Protein Boys especially need good protein intake, because they are developing muscles, and usually growing to be taller, larger and stronger than girls. Make sure they have protein every day, from lean meats and poultry, fish, dairy products, nuts and pulses, eggs. Fats steer clear of the unhealthy trans fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils found in so many manufactured products. A healthy diet for teens must include some fat, so make sure you use healthy oils like olive, sunflower, vegetable and groundnut, in dressings and cooking. Serve fish a couple of times a week as well. Eat more of these foods: leafy green vegetables; nuts and seeds; fish; fresh fruits; dahi (no sugar added or with fresh fruit); and coconut water or chaas instead of sodas. Teenagers need a lot of energy: Be careful where the calories come from: fatty snacks like chips and carbohydrate-rich aerated drinks contain very little nutrients per calories they have. Calcium and iron are two essential nutrients for teenagers because they help build strong bones when the bone growth is going on very fast. Iron helps to supply kids with energy. Weakness and fatigue in teenagers can be signs of a shortage of iron.

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