As most parents will tell you, convincing a teenager to eat a healthy diet can be a real challenge. Listed below are the four main sources than can help influence a teenager’s daily eating habits.
1. School lunches and snacks
2. Peer pressure from friends and classmates
3. Eating habits of their own family
4. Fast food commercials they see on TV every day
Healthy nutritional foods are essential for a teenager’s proper growth, but most teens do not get the recommended nutritional requirements that their bodies need on a daily basis. Some teenagers have the unhealthy habit of skipping breakfast every morning, which is the most important meal of the day. They also rush through family meals and they snack on too many high fat foods, such as potato chips, cookies and candy.
Parents, it is very important that you take the time to talk with your teenager about good nutrition. Tell your teen how eating healthy foods can help to improve his or her personal appearance and also their academic skills. By discussing the positive benefits of good nutrition with your teen, you have a much better chance of convincing him or her to change their daily eating habits.
Although you cannot control what your teenager eats outside the home, you can keep nutritional snacks on hand for when they are at home. Following are a few healthy snack recipes that your teenager may enjoy.
Mini Vegetable Pizza
1/2 whole-wheat English muffin
2 tbsp. tomato sauce
1 tbsp. grated vegetables of your choice
2 tbsp. grated low-fat Mozzarella cheese
Place muffin half on a small cookie sheet. Spread on the tomato sauce; then add the grated vegetables and cheese. Place pizza under the toaster oven broiler until cheese melts completely.
Bite-size Ham and Cheese Sandwich
2 slices whole-wheat bread
low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise
1 slice lean ham
1 slice low-fat cheese
Cut each slice of bread with a cookie cutter in shape desired. Spread a small amount of mayonnaise on one slice of bread. Add the ham and cheese; then place the other slice of bread on top.
low-fat or fat-free yogurt
fruit of your choice
non-sweetened fruit juice
Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth.
Other Healthy Snack Ideas
Raw vegetables (celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, green peppers) with low-fat dip.
Fresh fruits (apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, grapefruit, peaches, pears, plums, melons, strawberries)
Dried fruits (apples, raisins, apricots)
Fresh garden salad with low-fat or fat-free dressing
Non-sweetened Cereal with 2% or Skim Milk
Low-fat or fat-free Yogurt