Being a teenager can be tough. You and everyone around you are going through different stages of growth and development and it can be hard to not compare your growth to your friends’. While there are some general patterns that teenagers follow, everyone’s development and growth is going to be slightly different!
The average height of a 15-year old girl is 62.9 inches and the average height of a 15-year old boy is 67 inches. By 15 years old, many girls are the height they will be into adulthood, while boys usually continue growing until age 16. A healthful dietary pattern, adequate sleep, stress management, and appropriate physical activity can all help promote growth and help you get taller, but ultimately, a lot of it is just up to your genetics!
Read on for more information about teenage growth spurts, nutrition needs for growth and development, what you can do to get taller, and more!
When Do Teenagers Stop Growing?
Teenagers will all follow slightly different timelines with their growth, but in general, most girls will stop growing in height by age 15, while most boys will stop growing by age 16. Remember, this isn’t a hard and fast rule- some people just have a growth spurt later on!
Getting taller is very closely tied to sexual development. The start of puberty can come on at different times, usually sometime between 8 and 13 for girls and 10 to 13 for boys. So if you find that you are comparing your growth to the growth of others around you, you might just have to exercise some patience and wait for your body to do its thing!
It is important to keep tabs on your growth and development with your pediatrician because they can monitor things and make sure everything is going okay. Find a pediatrician that you can have a good relationship with and one that will be responsive to all of your questions and concerns. Your pediatrician should always treat you with respect and work with you as a team to make sure you are your healthiest self!
What is the Best Thing to Eat During a Growth Spurt?
One of the biggest signs that you are having a growth spurt is an increase in hunger. Growth and development takes a lot of energy, so it is no wonder that you are feeling more hungry.
Wanting to eat more doesn’t mean something is wrong. In fact, fluctuations in your appetite should actually be expected. It is important to not ignore those increases in appetite. Don’t worry, as long as you are listening to your body, you won’t be eating too much- even if it seems like more than normal.
The best thing for teenagers to eat during a growth spurt is a balanced diet with adequate calories to meet your nutrition needs. There is no magic diet to follow for growth spurts- it really is just that simple.
Here are some quick ideas of nutrient-packed foods to eat during a growth spurt:
- dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese
- green leafy vegetables
- orange vegetables and fruits
- meat, poultry, fish
- beans, nuts, and seeds
It can be helpful to follow-up with a dietitian and your pediatrician to make up for any deficiencies in your diet, especially if there are certain foods you don’t like or are allergic to.
While all nutrients are important at this stage of life, there are a few that should be emphasized:
- Calcium This nutrient is super important for healthy bones. Your bones get to their peak strength during your teenage years and early 20’s meaning that is the most important time to be consuming adequate calcium. Milk and other dairy products are a great source of calcium!
- Iron Many girls will start menstruating around 8-13 years old which increases their iron needs because of extra blood loss. Red meat is a good source of iron, but it is also found in legumes and green leafy veggies. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron better!
- Protein We often think of protein as being important for muscle growth (which it is) but did you know that protein is involved in TONS more than just that! Protein should be consumed in moderate amounts regularly throughout the day, rather than eating huge amounts all at once. Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, legumes, milk, greek yogurt, etc.
How Can Teenagers Get Taller?
Are you hoping to get taller? I have some good news and not-so-good news for you. The not-so-good news is that your height is mostly determined by your genetics so there is only so much you can do.
The good news is that properly taking care of your body can help you grow to your full potential! The healthy habits that you follow every day is something you do have total control over and establishing healthy habits will also help you feel your best and improve your overall quality of life.
What Can I Do to Get Taller as a Teenager?
If you want to get taller, focus on the simple things and make sure you are supporting your body’s needs so that it has everything it needs to be able to grow. If you have no idea where to start, here are a few ideas:
- Don’t skip meals. Yep, that means you need to be eating breakfast! Even if you aren’t super hungry, it is important to make sure you are at least eating something. If eating is a challenge for you, try something like chocolate milk, a smoothie, or applesauce.
- Eat a fruit and/or a vegetable with every meal and snack. If that feels like too much, just start with adding a fruit or vegetable to one meal.
- Eat from all the food groups. There is no need to cut out foods or restrict- all foods can fit in a healthy diet. Avoid diets or eating patterns that encourage cutting out certain foods or entire food groups as these can actually cause nutrient deficiencies!
- Try new foods. Each food has a different nutrient profile and gives your body different benefits, so try mixing up your routine and experiment with new foods!
- Give yourself plenty of rest. Rest days and sleep are all important for growth. Make sure you are getting to bed at a decent time and prioritizing your own rest!
- Manage stress in healthy ways. Yep, it is more than just eating properly! Stress can be really hard on your body and elevated stress levels are not good for proper growth. You might try meditation, therapy, or a new hobby that is relaxing!
- Eat a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat each time you eat a meal or a snack. Each of these macronutrients play a role in growth and development, but eating them together is also important in helping balance your blood sugars, give you sustained energy levels, regulate your appetite and more.
- Eat regularly throughout the day. Your body needs fuel frequently to stay energized and have everything it needs. During a growth spurt you might need to be eating even more frequently than normal! You will likely need to eat something every 3-4 hours (at least!). Use balanced snacks to help you get from one meal to another!
- Practice mindful eating. That probably means you will have to stop and check-in with your body regularly throughout the day until it becomes more natural. Listen to and follow your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. If you are just not feeling hungry, continue eating regularly throughout the day and hopefully your hunger cues will eventually come back!
- Eat foods that you enjoy! Some very active teenagers can have a hard time getting enough calories in the day and at times it can feel like a chore- especially during a growth spurt where nutrient needs are increased even more. Keep mixing things up with your eating routine and choose foods that you enjoy and will look forward to eating!
How Tall Will I Be As an Adult?
You can ask your doctor to check your growth chart for predictions of how tall you will be at age 18 (which is when you stop growing and the height you’ll be the rest of your life). It can be a pretty good gauge of how tall you will be when you stop growing. But nothing is totally certain, I was projected to be about 5’0” as an adult and I am 5’7” now! So there is always hope, especially if you are eating well to provide your body lots of nutrients for growth, sleeping well, and getting exercise.
You might not grow to be a 7 foot NBA player, but there are some simple things you can do to support the growth that is appropriate for you. Focus on providing your body with a variety of nutrients by eating lots of different foods from all of the food groups.
Eating regularly and balanced throughout the day will help ensure you are eating enough calories to support your growth. It is always good to have someone else like your doctor and a dietitian keeping tabs on your growth as well to make sure you are developing as you should. They can also keep tabs on how much you are eating and help you make any needed adjustments!
The best thing you can do to help your body grow to the appropriate height is focus on fueling your body. That means developing a good relationship with your body and with food so that you know what your body needs, when it needs it, and how much. It takes practice to become a mindful eater, but it will be so beneficial in the long run!
- How Can You Get Taller as a Teenager? Tips to Exceed Height Expectations
- How Can a Teenager Make a Healthy Meal Plan?
- The Right Way to Lose Weight for Teens
- What is a Normal Weight for a 19-year old?
Gavin ML. Growth and your 13- to 18- year old. Kidshealth.org. Reviewed June 2019.
Kuzemchak S. How to feed your teens’ growth spurt. Parents.com. Updated December 20, 2022.
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