Why is my teenage son always hungry?

Is your teenage son always hungry? Here's what you need to know about growth spurts and your teen's growing appetite.

It’s no secret that teenagers, especially active teenage boys, eat a lot.

Parents of teenage boys know the drill. It’s just an hour after your son’s last meal and he’s already famished. He is eating you out of house and home! His appetite is akin to an African elephant and you can’t fill the fridge up quickly enough.

If your teen is constantly complaining of being hungry, you might wonder what the cause of this is and whether it’s normal. When in doubt, never hesitate to consult with your child’s doctor to rule out a health issue as the cause of his constant hunger.

Diet and eating habits of teen boys

As boys enter puberty, they frequently feel hungrier and consume more food. This is because their bodies undergo a significant growth surge throughout adolescence. Extra food provides your child with more nutrients and energy to help growth and development.

In addition to growth spurts, teens may be continually hungry due to bad eating habits, such as skipping meals, according to Leaving the house without eating breakfast might cause adolescents to remain hungry all morning, perhaps leading to overeating later or prompting your teen to nibble throughout the day without ever having a real meal.

If you send your teen to school with a packed lunch from home, they won’t need to buy tuckshop snacks. Packing a prepared lunch allows you to control what your teen son eats and ensures that the food they consume for lunch will supply them with the energy they need to go through the afternoon.

When it comes to supper, consistency is key. If your son knows they’ll be eating supper at the same time every day, they’ll be less tempted to munch on unhealthy snacks and junk food. Although teenagers like junk food, there are healthier options. Serve oven-baked fries instead of fast-food french fries that are deep-fried in oil. Grilled chicken can also be used in place of fried chicken or processed chicken nuggets. Most importantly, whether it’s a crisp green salad or steamed broccoli or cauliflower, always add a vegetable as a side dish.

How much should teen boys eat?

Teenagers (boys and girls) should consume three meals and two snacks daily. Feed your teen extra if he still appears hungry after eating the recommended amount. Keep healthy foods on hand and provide well-rounded meals. A bowl of yoghurt or a handful of almonds are healthier snacks than a chocolate bar if your teen is feeling peckish.

What should your teen son be eating?

A surge in appetite is common in boys, especially during the growth spurt of puberty. What exactly are growth spurts? Children grow in predictable patterns. While each child is unique and will develop at their own speed until reaching physical maturity between the ages of 15 and 20, growth spurts are common during puberty (typically between ages nine and 15).

A word on calories

Calories are the measurement used to express the energy delivered by food. The body demands more calories during early adolescence than at any other time of life.

  • Boys require an average of 2,800 calories per day.
  • Girls require an average of 2,200 calories per day.

Children who participate in physical activity may need additional calories.

Parents may find the below chart useful when determining how many calories their teen son needs:

Age Not Active Moderately Active Active
13 2,000 calories 2,200calories 2,600 calories
14-15 2,000 – 2,200 calories 2,400 – 2,600 calories 2,800 – 3,000 calories
16-18 2,400 calories 2,800 calories 3,200 calories
19 2,600 calories 2,800 calories 3,000 calories



I'm an experienced writer, sub-editor, and media & public relations specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the media industry – across digital, print, TV, and radio. I earned a diploma in Journalism and Print Media from leading institution, Damelin College, with distinctions (Journalism And Print Media, Media Studies, Technical English And Communications, South African Studies, African & International Studies, Technology in Journalism, Journalism II & Practical Journalism). I also hold a qualification in Investigative Journalism from Print Media SA, First Aid Training from St John’s Ambulance, as well as certificates in Learning to Write Marketing Copy, Planning a Career in User Experience, and Writing a Compelling Blog Post.
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