If you live with a teenager, you have inevitably heard, ” There’s nothing to eat in this house!” You may do the grocery shopping and most of the cooking, but allowing teenagers to help prepare foods too actually decreases the likelihood that they will eat unhealthy fast food or unbalanced meals when they become responsible for their own food choices (Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, CLT). To help your teen prepare and cook foods, you can stock your kitchen with these staples.
Popcorn satisfies the craving for crunchy snacks. Popcorn is a whole grain, plus it is loaded with fiber for a healthy digestive system. Three air-popped cups deliver nearly four grams of fiber. Watch out for kettle corn which is packed with sugar as well as butter and other additives which can make popcorn less healthy.
Canned Beans can be a quick meal, perfect for burritos, mashed on a tortilla or added to canned soup for extra protein.
Nut Butters such as peanut, almond and sunflower butter aare no-fuss foods for any teen. Spread on French Toast or a wheat english muffin with sliced bananas or make a tasty dip for apples and celery.
Eggs are an ideal food for teen cooks, with a prep and cook time of less than five minutes, eggs are an easy addition to any meal. They are a great source of protein, vitamin D, vitamin B 12, choline, and phosphorus; all essential nutrients for teens. There are also a variety of ways to prepare them!
Prepped vegetables are easy snack foods. Baby carrots and grape tomatoes are great for snacks and frozen edamame and peas are easy to add to pasta. Diced tomatoes can even be added to chili.
Cooking whole grains such as quinoa, instant brown rice, and whole-wheat couscous take less than 15 minutes from start to finish. For a quick meal, teens can toss cooked whole grains with microwaved frozen vegetables and season them with reduced-sodium soy sauce. For a little bit of a kick try chili garlic paste or sriracha.
With these easy to prepare and cook suggestions, teens can learn basic culinary skills. Before you know it, your teen may be telling you what’s for dinner.