Hard to believe right?  Someone is going to tell you that your child can actually…

  • improve their HSC results,

  • calm their mood,

  • improve  attention span,

  • shine their hair and get their skin glowing,

  • energise their body

AND you don’t have to shrink the contents of  your wallet?

You want your kids to eat better right? But they don’t want to be told about good food… they want to know how they can look better or that they can blast the HSC results.

Of course, we know that quality, whole food works on a deeper level, including disease prevention to increasing our vitality but children aren’t thinking like parents are. Kids now and kids twenty years ago think the same…it’s all about getting rid of pimples, having good hair, amazing school results and what our bodies look like…

After you read this – print it out and keep the table as a reference…. then leave it somewhere where your kids dawdle and will spend two minutes reading this… perhaps the toilet,  in front of the mirror, on their pillow.

Here are a few things for you to consider for your teenagers diet, especially if you’re the grocery shopper in the family:

Beware of the Sugar Monster

Hidden sugars are everywhere- too much sugar will disrupt insulin and make for a moody child. Teenagers are particularly concerned about their skin: Food sensitivities, immune function, intestinal bacteria, stress hormones, sex hormones, and insulin. Insulin is particularly bad because it stimulates rapid sebum production ( acne!)  That is why sugar causes break-outs.

One can of soft drink can have up to 14 teaspoons of sugar.  Look at the sugar on the label of the sports drink or soft drink or processed juice they are drinking. When you are reading labels, one of the easy steps I teach my patients is have a look at the grams of sugar, divide it by four, and that equals the number of teaspoons of sugar in that food item.  For example, a ginger beer has 48.6 grams of sugar, which means 12.1 teaspoons of sugar.  Ask your child if they would put 12 teaspoons of sugar into a glass and then fill it with water and if they would drink it?

Reduce the amount of foods and snacks with wrappers and boxing.

Foods without wrappers and boxes are often fresh and full of nutrients. Fast food and processed foods are dead foods. They started out as real food, but they’ve been heated, bleached, dried, fragmented, freeze dried, and evaporate – until they in no way resemble the real , nutrient dense food they once were.

This results in a dead substance that provides no usable nutrients. So when you fill your stomach with dead food, it’s only a matter of time before your hunger bell will ring because you haven’t been nourished.  Dead food means dead hair, dead skin…a lifeless person.

If it sounds like it is made in a chemical factory, it probably is.

Have you found yourself reading the nutritional panel and cannot pronounce the name on the ingredient list?  Chemicals are added to many of the chips, biscuits and soft drink for a variety of purposes — colouring, preservatives, artificial flavours, taste enhancers, and appearance enhancers.

What these substances do is make tasteless mash delicious. I’m talking snack chips, cupcakes, cookies, cereal, pastries or whatever taste. From flavourless to fabulous. All with chemicals. And just like drugs, they make these products unbelievably ADDICTING.

This creates a vicious cycle because since processed foods have no nutrients, you’ll feel hungry shortly after eating them.  And since they’re SO addicting, you’ll likely reach for more of them when you feel hungry (instead of something healthy that will actually feed your skin, body and brain)

Quick, Easy, and Healthy After-School Snacks

1. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

  • Blend in fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit. Bananas that are soft are excellent after they have been peeled and frozen. Throw in ice cubes, if needed, to reach the desired consistency.
  • You can add a splash of yogurt, normal milk or coconut milk or 100% fruit juice, depending upon the desired flavour and consistency.
  • If you are adding protein powder, that is fine… just beware- all protein is not created equal and some will exacerbate skin problems. Consult a nutritionist on which powder is right for you.

2. Nuts and Seeds

  • They are quick and easy to grab. They are full of essential fatty acids – balance your hormones, improve your skin, great for your brain.
  • Almonds, cashews, pistachios , pumpkin seeds and virtually all seeds and nuts rock. They travel well – even can withstand being crushed by sports shoes! and fill you up when you need a quick snack. Raw is best but have them with tamari, dry roasted, or anyway … as they are better than any sugary snack.
  • Walnuts look like little brains… nature is funny isn’t it?

3. Fruit and Vegetables

  • Make them easy to grab: If appropriate, cut, chop, or slice fresh fruit and vegetables in advance and store in the refrigerator in easily accessible containers; store grapes in a large, open bowl in the fridge; store fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter.
  • Make vegetables more appealing by serving them with dip or salad dressing, or hummus.
  • Fresh fruit and Veggies is best- we live in Sydney we lucky to have the amazing F & V that we do- eat two pieces very day in two different colours- richer the colour of food usually means more vitamins and minerals.

4. Baked Tortilla Chips and Salsa

  • Consider serving refried or whole beans in addition to salsa.
  • If you have time, make nachos by adding extras like melted cheese, diced tomatoes, green peppers, onion, and guacamole.

5. Whole Grain crackers or brown rice crackers

  • Serve with natural cheese and/or lean meat. If using packaged meat, choose “natural” or “nitrite-free” varieties with minimal processing and preservatives.
  • Spread natural peanut butter like Macro , ABC spread ( almond, brazil, and cashew spread), or any nut spread.

6. Hummus

  • Use as a dip or spread on pieces of whole grain, tortilla, rice crackers, or vegetables sticks.

7. Whole Wheat (or Other Whole Grain) Mountain Bread, pita breads

  • Top with natural cheese and/or lean meat.
  • Spread with jam, natural peanut (or other nut) butter, or plain or cream cheese.
  • To add texture, toast the flat bread or put in an a pizza oven ( approx $ 90.00 & worth every cent )
  • If you have time, make miniature pizzas: Toast first to prevent sogginess, then add pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings and bake briefly.

8. Air-popped Popcorn

  • Air-popped popcorn is the best and most tasty choice. Serve it plain or sprinkled with parmesan cheese, sea salt, or other spices.

9. Unsweetened Whole Grain Cereal – Look at the label for sugar content.

  • Top with fresh fruit like blueberries, raspberries, or sliced bananas.
  • Add dried fruit like raisins or cranberries.

Teenagers- three simple ideas for you too look better.  Try this for the week… guaranteed that your friends are going to wonder what the new, smarter , better looking you is doing after school?

What do I add or change with the food I eat? How is that going to make me look better?
Eat breakfast. Try to have some protein with your   breakfast. Like an egg, cheese, nuts or seeds. Kids who eat breakfast have better   control over their weight.Protein will keep your blood sugar from swinging around   and you will not end up looking tired, moody or angry.
Skip sugar and sugary snacks, soft drinks and lollies. Sugar affects your insulin.  Insulin effects your   sebum production, sebum production is another name for ACNE!“Junk in your mouth ends up Junk in your trunk.”  Dr.   Oz
Try to eat two pieces of fruit and several vegetables per   day- think of eating different colors. Fruit and vegetables have vitamins and minerals make your   hair grow and shine.  The same nutrients that make your hair appealing   will do the same for your skin , the whites of your eyes, your teeth.Kids who eat more fruit and vegetables tend to eat less   junk food because their body isn’t starving.  Less junk equals better   looking body shape, lean muscle mass, better mood, and more energy.

 

  • Some good ideas here.

    Reply

  • Some good suggestions. Thank you. Sounds like a great plan to keep them healthy.

    Reply

  • We try to stick to healthy eating but do sneak in an occasional nut bar even though its higher in sugar.

    Reply

  • Good luck to any mother out there that has a child completing Yr 12 exams – fingers crossed!

    Reply

  • We’ve tried to stick to these principles every since the kids were little.

    Reply

  • It all sounds so delicious. A great way to add healthy foods to the kids diet without them realising

    Reply

  • Great article. We have popcorn often I never thought of parmesan cheese on it!

    Reply

  • My son’s favourite is popcorn

    Reply

  • actually great ideas for the whole family not just the teens. Also very do able ideas which good and also practical during such busy stressful times.

    Reply

  • Great tips for all kids preparing for exams or even competing at sports

    Reply

  • My eldest has opted out of exams, but going to know for my daughter when she gets there

    Reply

  • Excellent tips to help the kids get through a stressful time in their lives

    Reply

  • Awesome tips!! Screenshot those recipes thanks

    Reply

  • Yep, some good sound advice in this article.

    Reply

  • Must pass this on to my son and daughter (in-law). They have 2 more girls coming to this stage in their lives.

    Reply

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