Healthy Eating for Teens and Tweens
With plant-based diets growing in popularity, you may suddenly find yourself parent to a budding vegetarian. If you’re concerned about your child getting the nutrition they need when all they seem interested in is pasta, potatoes and store bought veggie burgers, fear not! Making tasty well-rounded vegetarian dishes can be a simple, fun activity that the whole family can get involved in.
Get them involved!
Everybody wants to be taken into consideration, especially tweens and teens, who are learning to express their own opinions. If they’re given the opportunity to voice it in the shopping and cooking process – select the ingredients they want to try and participate in the cooking process, they’ll be more likely to try new things, be empowered and inspired to create their own recipes, and eat them!
To make things work with your teen, you sometimes (read: often) will compromise. Make at least one thing at each meal that you know they like, and something new or that they don’t love as much, so they feel like there’s balance, and everybody wins. Offer the same recipe three or four times, to give it a real chance, before it’s taken off the menu. You may be pleasantly surprised when, after a few tries, your kids are more welcoming of the dish!
Planning balanced meals and snacks
Use leftovers, cook in batches, keep homemade healthy treats around, pack lunch bags with healthy snacks, water bottles and pre-cut fruit in bite sizes. Life is hectic and you don’t want to miss out on proper nutrition at home or when you’re on the go, especially for your kids.
School cafeteria and special events
Making a lunch for your child to take to school is the best way to avoid questionable cafeteria food. They can be join in on the menu-planning so they’re excited about what they’re taking, and there are no surprises in their lunchbox. If you’re encountering some resistance from your kids, be innovative so they have something “cool” to show their friends (or comparable to what is being served). Remember to add plant-based treats (let them sample a few varieties at home to see what they like) so they don’t feel tempted to use vending machines.
Social situations (birthdays, sleepovers) call for a little flexibility. First, trust your kid as they might stick to the well-formed healthy habits you all have worked together on. You can also make sure they eat something nourishing before the event, send them with food (enough to share!) and offer to bring something delicious and healthy everybody can enjoy. Ultimately, let them experience and eat what’s being offered and give them a chance to see how their own choices can impact how they feel.
Want your kids learn some basic kitchen skills and come home with delicious and nourishing recipes to share with you? Check out the upcoming Pro-Teens hands-on cooking camp, in July or Delicious Summer Kids Camp in August.
Black Bean Burgers Recipe
What’s In It?
1 cup black beans, soaked overnight (or 1 14oz can of Eden Organic)
1 cup sweet potatoes, grated
1⁄2 cup almond butter (Nuts To You organics)
1⁄2 cup red onion, diced
1⁄4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons tamari (San-J)
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon cumin
How It’s Made
- Preheat oven to 350F. Rinse soaked beans, place in a pot with water (cover by 1-2inches). Bring water and beans to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove from water and drain.
- Place beans in a bowl and mash. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Scoop 1⁄3 cup of batter at a time to form burger patties.
- Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve with sprouted buns or salad and enjoy!
About Marni Wasserman
Simply said, Marni Wasserman’s life is rooted in healthy eating. Culinary Nutritionist, Health Strategist and founder of Marni Wasserman’s Food Studio & Lifestyle Shop located in midtown Toronto where she teaches her signature cooking classes, and offers collaborative workshops and urban retreats. She is also the Author of Fermenting for Dummies and Plant-Based Diet For Dummies . Marni has also made several media appearances on Breakfast Television, Global News, CBC, CHCH and Newstalk 1010 and has articles in the National Post, Toronto Star, Huffington Post and Chatelaine Magazine. Marni uses passion and experience to educate individuals on how to adopt a realistic plant-based diet that is both simple and delicious.