How many calories should a 13-year-old girl eat?

In this article, we are going to answer how many calories should a 13-year-old girl eat, what should a 13-year-old girl eat, and how should I talk about body image to my 13-year-old girl. 

How many calories should a 13-year-old girl eat?

Teenage girls of 13 years old need about 1600 to 2,000 calories to keep growing. Calories in teenagers, especially girls, let them do normal activities of life such as breathing, walking, and laughing but are also an important part of keeping teens healthy when they have their first menstruation. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics needs for teen girls. 

AgeNot ActiveModerately ActiveActive
  • Not being active means only moving for daily tasks. 
  • Moderately active means daily activities, 1.5 to 3 miles daily or 30 to 40 minutes of activity.
  • Active means daily life activities, walking 3 miles daily or more or more than 40 minutes of physical activity. 

What should a 13-year-old girl eat?

A teen girl should eat a diet that includes all 5 food groups to prevent any deficiency. A general guidelines for teen girls of 13 year old include

  • 2 to 3 servings of fruits
  • 5 to 6 servings of vegetables
  • 3 to 4 servings of dairy 
  • 5 to 6 serving of whole grains
  • 2 to 3 servings of lean meats, nuts and legumes
  • Water is the best drink you can have
  • Try to avoid sweet drinks and juices
  • Alcohol should be avoided 

1 serving is 

1 piece of : AppleBananaOrangePear
2 pieces of:plumskiwiapricots
1 cup ofdices or canned fruit
½ piece ofPotatoSweet potatoCorn

½ cup cookedBrocoliSpinachCarrotsPumpkin
1 cup green leafy or raw salad
½ cup of Dried or canned beans, legumes or lentils
65 grams cooked lean beef, lamb, pork
80 grams cooked lean chicken or turkey
100 grams chickpeas or canned beans 
30 grams peanuts, almonds or nuts
1 slice of bread
½ cup cooked rice, pasta, noodles, quinoa or polenta, porridge
⅔ cup what cereal flakes
1 english muffin
¼ cup of muesli
1-2 teaspoons olive, canola rice oil 
1-2 teaspoons nut spreads
1 cup of milk or dairy alternative
2 slices of cheese
¾ cups of yogurt

Cakes, biscuits, chips, candy, take away food, ice cream and any food high in calories, sugar and salt is sometimes considered a food but it should not be prohibited because prohibition of these types of food can lead to eating disorders at this age. 

How should I talk about body image to my 13-year-old girl?

Body image has a huge impact on teenage girls. According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, about 1 in every 2 teenage girls will try to diet with the objective to change their body while more than 1 in every 3 girls will try to diet even if they are at a healthy weight. 

Body image disturbance can lead very easily to eating disorders. An eating disorder is defined as a psychological disorder that involves an extreme disturbance in eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. 

Eating disorders include

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge-eating disorders

Anorexia Nervosa

Is a condition where food is extremely restrictive or eating extremely small amounts of only certain foods. Common symptoms include

  • Extremely restricted eating
  • Extremely thinness
  • Unable to maintain a normal or healthy weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted image and low self-esteem 

Bulimia Nervosa

is a condition where there a recurrent episode of binge eating followed by the use of any of the following  

  • Laxative or diuretic
  • Fasting
  • Excessive Exercise
  • Combination of any of the above

Binge-eating disorders

Is a condition where they can lose total control of what and how much they are eating. This behavior is recurrent and it is not followed by a purging act such as in bulimia. Symptoms include

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time
  • Eating even if you are hungry
  • Eating really fast during those episodes
  • Eating until you feel stomach sick
  • Eating is done alone or in secret
  • Feeling guilty after you eat

Eating disorders are commonly started in the teen years or young adulthood and they can be caused by complex genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. 

Treatment usually involves psychotherapy, medical and nutritional care and monitoring, and in some cases medication. 

If you need more information about eating disorders follow this link. 


This article answered how many calories should a 13-year-old girl eat, what should a 13-year-old girl eat, and how should I talk about body image to my 13-year-old girl. 


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