A big thank you to Dania Trapani for these teen-friendly ways to eat healthily. Dania is a health coach and nutritional therapist; you can find out more about her below.
Do you wince when you see what your teen has eaten? Are you worried that they are not getting the right nutrients?Or maybe whatever you feed them is never enough!
It’s easier when they are young, but as they start venturing out on their own, spending more time with friends and buying their own food and snacks, you can quickly lose track of what they are consuming.
Growth and development are rapid in teenagers. Did you know teenagers need more sleep and calories during the teenage years than any other time of life? It’s natural then that teenagers can have enormous appetites, so you want to make sure they are getting all the nutrients to support this process.
If you have brought them up on a balanced diet of home cooked, nutritious food, then trust that the foundation for a healthy relationship with food is there, even if it seems the opposite.
I don’t believe in diets and don’t agree with talking to teens about them. What you want to encourage is a healthy, sustainable relationship with food, eating a balanced diet composed of complex carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables and healthy fats.
Teens need carbohydrates for energy, protein for their muscles and healthy fats for cardiovascular health and brain health.
To help, I have put together a selection of nutritious breakfast, lunch/dinner, and snack recipes I think your teenager will love.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as you want to have energy and vitality for the rest of the day. Here are 3 easy nutritious and delicious recipes:
400ml almond milk
1 scoop vanilla whey protein
1 banana, sliced
In a small pan, bring the almond milk to the boil. Stir in the oats and cook over a low heat for 5-7 minutes stirring constantly to avoid sticking. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the protein powder until well combined.
Divide the porridge between 2 serving bowls and top with the sliced banana and walnuts. Serve immediately.
Cottage cheese pancakes
250g cottage cheese (you can also use ricotta)
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 tbsp. of coconut sugar
3 heaped tbsp. flour
Place the cottage cheese into a bowl, add egg yolks (keep the whites separate) and crush everything with a fork. Add the flour, and mix thoroughly.
Whisk the egg whites and sugars into a stiff foam and add to the cheese mixture, gently combine the ingredients.
Heat a dry, non-stick pan and fry the pancakes (about 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake) in batches, for about 3 minutes, until the bottom is slightly browned. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes.
Avocado on toast
This is a classic favourite. Pair it with a poached egg or scrambled eggs and it’s the perfect breakfast.
1 ripe avocado
½ a lemon
2 slices of sourdough bread or bread of your choice
Cut the avocado and remove the stone. Scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl. Add he lemon juice, olive oil and mash with a fork.
Toast the bread and top with the avocado. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on the chilli flakes.
You can add poached, boiled or scrambled eggs.
Lunch and dinner recipes
Baked salmon tray with rice and tomatoes
Salmon is packed full with healthy fats and is not an expensive fish.
4 salmon fillets
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 slices of lemon + 2 tbsp. of lemon juice
200g jasmine rice
150g cherry tomatoes
A handful of basil leaves
4 tbsp. natural yoghurt
2 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. curry
1 tsp. oregano
Pinch of chilli flakes
Rinse dry and place the salmon fillets in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, curry, paprika and oregano. Add the soy sauce, honey, 2 tbsp. of oil and the lemon juice. Mix everything together and cover the bowl.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packaging. Once cooked, drain and transfer it into an oven dish and spread the rice over the whole surface of the dish.
Place the salmon fillets on top of the rice , add the cherry tomatoes and basil leaves, then sprinkle with chilli flakes.
Top the salmon with lemon slices, drizzle over the remaining marinade and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serve with yoghurt and enjoy.
Pesto pasta with tuna and almonds
Every teen loves pasta! It’s super easy and versatile and there are so many delicious sauces you can add. This recipe has protein, healthy fats and vegetables.
300g fusilli or penne pasta
400g green beans
240g tinned tuna in water drained (2 tins)
30g roasted almonds
130g green pesto
Salt and pepper
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging.
In the meantime, cut the green beans in half and sauté in olive oil.
Drain the tuna and cut the almonds coarsely.
Drain the pasta and mix with the green pesto and beans; add some olive oil. Taste and see if you need to add some salt. Divide the pasta in 4 bowls and scatter the tuna over it. Garnish with almonds and season with pepper.
Chicken and mango stir fry
Stir fries are great, as you can pack in so many veggies and it’s a quick meal to prepare. When going for meat try and buy organic so that it’s free from probiotics and hormones. You can add rice or rice noodles with this dish.
450g chicken breasts cut into strips
1 tbsp. flour
1 mango, peeled
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small chilli pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp. ginger, grated
2 tbsp. coconut oil
For the sauce
3 tbsp. of rice vinegar
3 tbsp. of water
5 tbsp. of soy sauce
2 tbsp. honey
Cut the chicken into thin strips and season with salt and pepper, then coat with flour.
Peel the mango and cut the flesh into strips. Cut the peppers into strips. Peel the onions and cut into half rings.
Cut the deseeded chilli pepper lengthwise, then finely chop. Peel and grate the ginger.
Prepare the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
In a wok or large pan, heat 1 tbsp. of coconut oil, and stir fry the peppers, onions, chilli pepper, garlic and ginger over a high heat for about 3 minutes. Add the mango and mix, cooking for another 2 minutes. Then remove everything and set aside.
Add the second tbsp. of oil to the pan and fry the chicken for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
Place the mango and vegetables back in the pan. Add the sauce and mix well. Cook on high heat for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Mix occasionally.
Serve with rice and enjoy.
Date and almond bliss balls
These are so quick and easy to make and great if you crave something sweet. Dates are alkaline and almonds are packed full of goodness.
1 cup of medjool dates
1 cup of almonds
1 tbsp. of coconut oil
1-2 tablespoon of raw cacao, depending on how much chocolate you like
Start by blending the almonds in a food processor for one minute. Then add all the remaining ingredients except the shredded coconut and blend till a sticky dough forms. Roll into bite sized balls and roll them into the shredded coconut. Place the bliss balls in a refrigerator for 15 minutes and enjoy.
Smoothies are great as you can pack so much goodness into them, and they’re super quick and easy to make.
1 frozen banana
A handful of spinach
1 tbsp. almond butter
Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until nice and smooth. That easy!
Coconut and chia seed pudding
These make great healthy snacks as chia seeds are rich in omega 3 – your healthy fats. You can prepare a few of these pots so you have them ready for when you want a snack.
70g chia seeds
400ml can light coconut milk
60ml maple syrup
2 clementine’s peeled, segmented and chopped
2 kiwis, peeled, chopped
Combine the chia seeds, coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup in a medium bowl.
Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 6 hours or until the mixture thickens.
Combine the clementine and kiwi fruit in a bowl. Add the remaining maple syrup and stir to combine. Set this bowl aside in the fridge until the chia seed pudding has thickened.
Divide the pudding between 4 serving bowls or glasses. Top with the fruit mix and serve immediately.
Alternatively, the chia seed pudding can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Just add the fresh fruits when you are ready to eat.
Find out more about Dania
She has blogged before for us, with excellent advice on nutrition and wellness tips for teens.
Thank you so much, Dania, for putting together these teen-friendly ways to eat healthily especially for Equipp.