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14 yr.old runner needs advice on good nutrition

8/17 9:09:50

Question
Hi, my daughter is 14 years old and is running cross country at her high school.  she is very thin & always has been ( 73lbs and 5 ft. tall).  We need a good diet so she doesn't lose weight while she is running 5 miles every day.

Answer
Hi Melissa,
your daughter will need approx 1800-1900 calories per day for her age/weight/height and activity level (very active).  To prevent losing mass, and to help put on lean mass, she needs to make sure that she consumes complex carbohydrates at every or most meals throughout the day.   I recommend 5-6 meals per day--3 meals and 2-3 snacks.  You are looking at roughly 300-350 calories per meal, consisting of complex carbohydrates, lean protein source, and vegetables (steamed, cooked, raw, etc).  Also make sure she eats a good fat like 1 tablespoon olive oil (salad dressing) per day, or flax seed oil (great for omega 3 fatty acids), or 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter.   Each meal should have about 35-45 g of complex carbs (1 cup of whole grain rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, 2slices of ww bread, 1 cup of beans/legumes).  Her protein per meal should be 3 oz lean meat, fish, or 1/2 cup cottage cheese (low salt).   Protein shakes are a great way to replace one of the meals, but you probably want to use 1/2 at a time, since many of them have 40 g of protein per serving.   I would like to see her consume 15-20g protein per serving only.    Veggies are unlimited, so is water.  Make sure she gets plenty of these as well!    If you keep the diet healthy while she is young, you will instill good eating habits, and prevent unnecessary fat deposits as she grows older.    She will thank you for this!
Good luck!
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