By Raising Children Network
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Daily dietary guidelines for children 14-18 years

A range of suitable foods and serving sizes
  • Teenagers need a wide variety of healthy foods from the five food groups. How much food teenagers need depends on body size and activity levels.
  • Teenagers aged 14-18 years should aim for 2 serves of fruit; 5-5½ serves of vegies; 3½ serves of dairy; 7 serves of grains; and 2½ serves of lean meats, nuts and legumes. 

  • Teens need lots of water – the cheapest, healthiest and most thirst-quenching drink. They need more water on hot or humid days and if they sweat a lot. Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, flavoured milk and water, sports drinks, energy drinks, tea and coffee.

Food groups: daily serves of fruit, vegetables, cereals and grains

Fruit, vegetable and cereals serving sizes
  • Fruit: 1 serve = 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear; or 2 small plums, kiwi fruits or apricots; or 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar). Offer 2 serves a day.

  • Vegetables: 1 serve = ½ a medium potato (or sweet potato or corn); or ½ cup cooked vegies (broccoli, spinach, carrots, pumpkin); or 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegies; or ½ cup cooked, dried or canned beans, legumes or lentils. Offer 5-5½ serves a day.

  • Cereal and grains: 1 serve = 1 slice of bread; or ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, noodles, quinoa or polenta; or ½ cup porridge; or ⅔ cup wheat cereal flakes; or ¼ cup muesli; or 1 crumpet or small English muffin. Offer 7 serves a day. Wholegrain is best.


Food groups: daily serves of dairy, protein and ‘sometimes’ foods

Dairy, protein and 'sometimes' foods serving sizes
  • Dairy: 1 serve = 1 cup (250 ml) milk (reduced fat or calcium-fortified soy); or 2 slices cheese; or ¾ cup (200 gm) yoghurt; or ½ cup ricotta cheese. Offer 3½ serves a day.

  • Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes: 1 serve = 65 gm cooked lean beef, lamb, veal or pork (weekly max. 455 gm); 80 gm cooked lean chicken or turkey; or 100 gm cooked fish fillet; or 170 gm cooked tofu; or 2 large eggs; or 1 cup cooked lentils, chickpeas or canned beans; or 30 gm (1½ tablespoons) peanuts, almonds or sunflower seeds. Offer 2½ serves a day.

  • ‘Sometimes’ foods: avoid foods with high levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt (cakes, biscuits, chips and fried foods). You can include a small amount (14-20 gm) of unsaturated fats – for example, 1 tablespoon of nut butter and ¼ of an avocado. Children under 18 years should not drink alcohol.
  • Last updated or reviewed 12-12-2016