We cringe at some of the things that we consumed on a regular basis during our teen years. A cinnamon raisin bagel loaded with cream cheese for breakfast, a giant soft pretzel and sugar-laden iced tea for lunch, a 32-ounce gatorade complete with chips and candy before practice…we’re on a sugar high just thinking about these diet disasters! Now that we are older and wiser, we’ve learned a few things about making some of our guilty pleasures a bit more nutritious, so we’re here to pass along a few ways you can amp up the nutrition and dial down the fat, calories, and sugar in some of your teen’s favorite foods. You might think they’ll turn up their noses, but you’ll be surprised how well-received these simple yet tasty tweaks will be!
When Dining Out:
1. Accessorize that pizza – Nudge them toward a large thin-crust cheese pizza slice topped with a few of their favorite veggies such as mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, and onions, then add a side salad. Make the salad the star of the show by chopping a smaller slice into chunks, like croutons, and use as a topping for a colorful salad dressed in a vinegairette.
2. Go extreme with a burrito – Stuff that whole wheat tortilla until it’s about to burst by loading on an array of healthy and flavorful toppings. Some of our favorites include crunchy lettuce, fajita veggies, fresh salsa, creamy guacamole, and fiber-filled black beans. Yo quiero extreme burrito!
3. Try a burger-less burger – Order a hamburger with cheese, but no burger patty, and add as many veggies as possible, plus ketchup and mustard. It’s like a veggie grilled cheese, and trust us, it’s a winner!
When Eating In:
4. Munch on new noodles – Shred fettuccine-like ribbons of zucchini and carrots, then steam or sautee in a little olive oil. Toss the strands with a small amount of whole wheat pasta and top with marinara sauce, fresh basil, and a sprinkling of parmesan for a lip-smacking bowl of pasta loaded with nutrients.
5. Give nachos a Grecian twist – Top multigrain pita chips (we love Stacy’s) with hummus, chopped tomato, and a bit of feta cheese for a light and easy meal that is perfect for the warmer weather.
6. Get artsy with mac ‘n’ cheese – Arrange a half-portion of semi-healthy boxed mac, like Annie’s whole wheat shells with white cheddar, in a bowl, layered with your kids’ favorite veggies such as broccoli, spinach, or cauliflower. All the taste of an old favorite, with much more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
For more tips on keeping your kiddos eating healthy and on the move, head on over to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at www.eatright.org/kids where you’ll find tips, tricks, recipes, and much more to keep you and your family on the road to good health! For an eating plan tailored specifically to the needs of you and your family, contact Family Food, LLC by phone, e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. Feel free to browse our Services page to find out more about our offerings – SIX FREE VISITS with our expert team of RDs could be covered by your insurance plan!