Diet for Adolscents

This is the period of the largest appetites; it is next to impossible to overfeed a healthy young adolescent. The amount of food required is very great because growth is very rapid, and because of the amount of energy used up by school, games and other activities. The rate of growth becomes, at twelve with girls, fourteen with boys, double what it was at ten.

Regularity of meals remains as before a prime virtue; otherwise hunger becomes ravenous, and over-feeding results. The foods recommended before are still the most valuable. Just at this period saltwater fish, cod liver oil and other foods containing iodine (e.g. iodized salt) are specially necessary, to supply the thyroid gland, which is very active. Sufficiency of food is most important; it is calculated that a child of twelve requires as much food daily as a normally active adult, one of fourteen at least a third more than the adult.

If packed lunches are taken to school, they should be considerable in bulk; otherwise the tendency is to eat an overwhelming quantity and unwholesome variety at tea. But mere bulk, of course, is a secondary matter; it is the nutritive value of the food which counts. Avoid substitute foods – e.g. custard or egg powders.