Life with teenagers can be a roller coaster ride; one day they think you are the greatest, next day they think you don’t know anything. Gone are the days when they cry when you drop them off at school and you worry whether or not their friends will play with them at recess. Fast forward to the teenage years and now you worry how they will do on their math exam, will their face clear up before the weekend and obviously, are they eating properly.
I know from personal experience feeding picky teenagers can be a challenge. If my daughter had it her way she’d eat pasta or pizza every night. How do I ensure she is eating properly?
Here are some of things that have worked in my house:
1. Ask your kids for a few meal options and include them in your weekly rotation.
2. Prepare the foods they like but with slight variations:
a. We have pasta once a week but we prepare it differently each time. A favourite of ours is pesto.
b. We have Mexican food once a week but we rotate between black beans and pinto beans, tortillas and tacos to keep it interesting.
c. We have tofu once a week but vary the vegetables and sauces we use.
3. Get your kids involved in the preparation as kids who cook a meal are more likely to eat it.
4. Stock the fridge and pantry with foods you know they like and that they can munch on. This way you know they are eating nutritious snacks and not consuming empty calories from chips and chocolate bars.
Some good options include:
. hummous and pita
. corn chips and guacamole
. plain yogurt and fresh fruit
. homemade trail mix with dried nuts and fruit
5. Respect your kid’s food choices but encourage them to try new things. Don’t give up getting them to experiment. Keep at it!
6. Take your kids shopping with you and let them choose what they’d like to eat. Hold your tongue and let them throw in a few not-so-healthy items here and there. Remember the 80/20 rule.
Last but not least, be a good role model.
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