Kids and Teen Nutrition and Health
Both younger kids and teens grow a lot. So they need quality food.
But when our children become teenagers, their taste
buds often change a little and start to point them in the direction of fatty, salty and
Probably because they need more calories at this stage in their life. But unfortunately what they don't think about is that it does matter where those calories come from.
And it is a bit ironic because this is a time in their life when they would really need to eat very well. Good food and a lot of greens for example. But instead they often start to experiment with junk food, especially if they haven't been eating it so much before.
Their friends drink soft drinks every day, right?
So why can't they have it at least once in a while?
That is what I have heard at home a few times this fall.
The fact that it destroys the teeth and weakens the bones sounds so unreal to them.
It might scare a 9 year old but not a 15 year old.
If your kids aren't teens yet, here you can learn how to get younger kids to eat healthy.
Teenagers need good home made dishes a few times a day, food that's full of vitamins and minerals.
Vegetables, potatoes, spinach, walnuts and other nuts (they are full of very healthy fats), fruits and berries.
Make soups, stews, and have healthy snacks around the house like good quality crackers and hummus.
A good idea is to smoothies and fruit salads a few times a week and put them in your fridge. Your children can then have some whenever they are hungry.
Here is a healthy smoothie I make every week for a family who hired me as their health coach and private chef:
2 bags of frozen strawberries
1 handful of fresh mint leaves (about 10 leaves maybe)
1 handful of fresh baby spinach leaves (about 5-7 leaves maybe, they are a bit bigger than mint leaves)
The juice of 2 oranges
1 teaspoon honey or agave (optional)
A few blueberries, maybe about half a handful.
If you use more the smoothie will be dark blue and also if you use frozen ones. And that's OK of course, but if you want to keep it pink, only add a few.
Let the strawberries thaw for a little while, for example in a bowl of warm water (they don't have to be fully thawed but at least a little).
Peel the pineapple and cut it into chunks.
Make the fresh orange juice.
Cut the banana into pieces.
Add everything to a blender - don't forget the spinach and mint leaves and of course the blueberries. Blend!
My son who used to love salads told me the other day that he doesn't like salad anymore.
Why would anyone like it, he said.
But a few days later he did have a large bowl though.
is that I give him a bowl of salad of mixed greens when I know he is
very hungry. Sometime I also give him a blended salad (to drink or to
eat with a spoon), like gazpacho. Raw soups are basically salads anyway, super healthy and so good.
If he is hungry he eats it without any questions or complaints, for example while doing his homework or reading a comic book.
But if I put the salad on the same plate as his main meal, then he will just leave it there. Same goes with cut up veggies like bell pepper etc. If they are on the same plate as the rest of the dinner, they are just left there.
I also try to make delicious salad dressings and add lots of nice ingredients, like sun dried tomatoes and avocado. You can also cut all the ingredients into small pieces, including the lettuce or spinach. It makes it easier to eat and they could even eat the whole thing with a spoon if they like.
Teen Nutrition - Shopping
We need help with carrying, but sometimes it could be better to go shopping alone, to avoid the shopping cart getting loaded with stuff we don't approve of. Other times it is nicer to have some company when we go food shopping.
A good idea when our children want unhealthy stuff when shopping is to say:
"Hey, let's try to make that at home".
Home made is always the healthiest anyway. If he thinks it sounds like too big of a project, just say that you will make it for him.
Like Asian noodles or even ice tea or whatever it is he wants.
I do that when I'm shopping with my son.
But sometimes I buy it for him though, because I realize I have to let him try some things. Because if he will feel like it will become too much of an issue you never know what he will buy after school on his way home.
He already knows why it is bad for him anyway, so I do trust that he will choose a healthier version in the future.
Here I wrote about teaching kids to read food labels, could be a good thing to do together.
But for the most part we buy all the ingredients needed and then either I make the dish for him or we make it together.
There is some junk that I will never buy for him though. For example chips. He knows that he only eats that with his aunt so he doesn't ask me. Also McDonald's.
And thankfully I've trained him well from the start, so he doesn't want to go there anyway.
Teen Nutrition - This website is full of kids and teens health and nutrition tips - hope you have loved the information I have shared so far!
A good substitute for regular chocolate with white sugar would be raw chocolate made with coconut sugar. Try many different brands to see which one fits your teenager's taste buds best.