To help your teen get cooking, stock your kitchen with these easy-to-prepare staples
By Oriana Perez
December 1, 2017
What teen doesn't crave crunchy snacks? Skip the chips and pretzels and invest in a popcorn popper. Popcorn is a whole grain, plus it's loaded with fiber for a healthy digestive system. Three air-popped cups deliver nearly four grams of fiber.
"When it comes to making a quick meal, it doesn't get much easier than canned beans," says Angelone. "Just rinse, drain and heat!" They're perfect for burritos, mashed on a tortilla or added to canned soup for extra protein.
Even if your teen has no clue how to cook, that doesn't mean he or she can't whip up a simple meal or snack. Nut and seed butters — such as peanut, almond, soy or sunflower butter — are all perfect no-fuss foods for the novice cook. They're a cinch to spread on French toast with sliced bananas or make a tasty dip for apples, celery or red pepper strips.
"Whether fried, scrambled or hard-boiled, eggs are an ideal food for teen cooks"; says Toby Amidor, MS, RD. "They're simple, delicious and filled with nutrients teens need such as protein for growth and choline for brain health." Prepped
It doesn't matter whether they're fresh, frozen or canned, the more pre-prepped vegetables you have on hand, the more likely your teen will eat them. Think pre-cut baby carrots and grape tomatoes for snacks, frozen edamame and peas to add to pasta and diced tomatoes for chili.
Busy teens don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean dinner has to be a sandwich. Quick-cooking whole grains such as quinoa, instant brown rice and whole-wheat couscous take less than 15 minutes from start to finish. For a speedy meal, teens can toss cooked whole grains with microwaved frozen vegetables and season them with reduced-sodium soy sauce.
When you teach teens basic cooking techniques, you'll be amazed by how quickly they catch on. Start by showing them how to grill, bake or broil marinated chicken, fish or beef. Or demonstrate how to sauté ground chicken or turkey to add to spaghetti sauce, chili or tacos.
Before you know it, your teen will be telling you what's for dinner!
Grilled Chicken Salad
1 cup diced grilled chicken breast
¼ cup diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ lemon, juiced
Black pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
Serve on whole-wheat bread as a sandwich or in a bento box with whole-grain crackers and sliced vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots and bell peppers.