How to Ensure Tween and Teen Nutrition - Kraft Recipes Top
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How to Ensure Tween and Teen Nutrition

Teen Nutrition
Older kids are getting out in the world—going to school, participating 

in after-school activities, or just hanging out with friends

They're also making more of their own food choices. Here are some of our favorite
tween/teen nutrition tips to help them make wise food choices:

Teen Nutrition Tips

  • Shop Smart. Keep “home base” stocked with nutritious foods for balanced meals and snacks. Check out these hunger busting snacks.
  • Make It Easy. Want your kids to eat smart? The key is to make it convenient. For example, keep a supply of cut up fruits or veggies in attractive clear containers in the fridge or fresh fruit and whole wheat crackers on the counter. Or, when you cook, refrigerate or freeze leftovers in individual containers for heat ’n eat ease for kids who get home late from after-school activities.
  • Eat Together. Try to have a family meal as often as possible and no TVs or cell phones allowed. Kids tend to eat nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables more often, when they dine with their families. It’s also a great time to teach your young adult important conversational skills.
  • Get Them Involved. Today, cooking is downright cool, and it’s no longer just a girl thing. Get tweens and teens engaged in meal and snack preparation. They’re more likely to eat more nutritious foods if they helped prepare them.
  • Promote Physical Activity. With its many benefits, including achieving a healthy weight, building lean muscle, promoting strong bone, muscle and joint development, kids need 60 minutes of vigorous activity daily. As children go through their teen years, a combination of portion control and regular physical activity will help them stay at an appropriate weight and establish lifelong patterns for a healthy life.
  • Begin with Breakfast. Figure out a plan for breakfast, whether it’s fixing it the night before or packing one to go (try these quick, get-going breakfast recipes). Breakfast is an ideal time for your child to get important nutrients like calcium from Milk Group foods, fiber in whole-grain breads and cereals and iron in fortified breakfast cereals.
  • Make the Most of Lunch. To improve tween and teen nutrition, send your child to school with a well-balanced lunch—a sandwich on whole wheat bread or main dish salad, raw veggies, and a piece of fruit. Occasionally include a treat, like a pudding cup. Here are some yummy and clever lunch recipes.
  • Tackle Those Problem Nutrients. Many tween and teen diets fall short on calcium and iron. Two out of three kids don't get enough calcium. Practical ways to boost calcium: hot cocoa, a bagel topped with melted reduced fat cheese, a yogurt parfait layered with fruit and crunchy cereal, or a milkshake blended with low fat or fat free milk and a favorite flavor of “light” ice cream. When it comes to iron, most teen girls’ diets fall short. Sources of this vital nutrient include: lean beef, pork and lamb, dark-green veggies, such as spinach and broccoli, beans (canned baked beans), whole eggs and iron-fortified foods.
  • Load ’Em Up with Veggies. Find ways to create vegetable-based dishes and add vegetables to favorite foods: Make stir-fries, vegetable lasagnas or top pizza with peppers, add chopped tomatoes to tacos and other Mexican foods, stir mushrooms into pasta sauce, or toss spinach or broccoli into scrambled eggs. For optimal tween/teen nutrition, include at least one veggie in every lunch or dinner.
  • Balance Away from Home. Good nutrition doesn’t end at your doorstep. Coach your tween/teen in making smart decisions when eating out, too. For example, suggest that if they order a high-fat, high-calorie appetizer, they balance it with a lower fat entrée or opt for a piece of fruit for dessert at home. Or, after a fast food lunch, select especially nutritious foods at dinner. Talk about nutritious options—grilled chicken sandwiches, vegetable or bean soups, salads, whole-wheat crackers, fruit, yogurt, low fat or fat free milk and 100% fruit juices are just a few smart choices.
  • Not Buying It. Almost everywhere we go, there is food for sale. Teach your tween or teen that just because it’s there, they don’t have to purchase it. Of course it’s fun to indulge in an occasional treat, but get into the habit of just passing it by, especially if they’re not hungry or thirsty.
  • Share Some Perspective. Help your child develop a healthy, realistic body image that’s not too thin or too muscular. Support sensible, balanced eating and activity. Expose them to healthy individuals of all shapes and proportions. Finally, encourage them to intrinsically love and value themselves for the very special person they are.
  • Be a Good Role Model. You are the most important influence in your child’s life, so that means setting a good example by living according to these same principles. Together, you can help your child develop a healthy relationship with food.

Click here for tips on feeding toddlers and preschoolers.