You are a busy teenager. Between school, homework, activities and friends, it may feel like there’s no time for healthy eating.
Boy is it tempting to go through the drive-through and grab a burger and fries, or a "Venti Sugary Coffee Drink," or even a bag of neon-orange chips from the vending machine.
Even if you eat three solid and healthy meals each day, you may still find yourself needing a fuel recharge.
Snacking on nutritious food can keep your blood sugar steady, your energy level high and your mind alert.
It's entirely possible to treat yourself to a healthy snack (even with a hectic schedule) with these snacking tips just for teens.
Why Healthy Snacking is Good for Teens
As a teenager you may have noticed that you feel hungry a lot. A person's young body demands more nutrients, so this is totally normal.
Snacks are a terrific way to keep the "hanger" away and get all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, but you’ll need to pay attention to what you choose.
In order to keep energy levels going and avoid unnecessary weight gain - steer clear of foods with lots of simple carbohydrates (sugars) like candy bars and soda or foods which contain a high of amount of refined grains and oils (like cereals, white bread products, fried chips, crackers, and cookies).
Instead, look for foods that contain both healthy fats and proteins.
Think: buffalo jerky + a handful of almonds.
Or: one hard boiled egg + 2 ounces of organic cheese.
Three Smart Snack Strategies for Teenagers
- Prepare healthy snacks in advance. When you make something (like granola or trail mix) you get to control the ingredients and put in what's good for you. Cut up fresh fruits and veggies like melons, celery and carrots earlier in the week and keep these in individual servings in the fridge so you can grab them on the go.
- Keep healthy snacks with you. Make it a habit to stash some fruit, whole-grain crackers, or baby carrots in your backpack or workout bag so you always have healthy food nearby. Half of a cheese or nut butter sandwich on whole grain bread also makes a great snack to have on standby.
- Make it interesting. Healthy snacking doesn't have to be boring as long as you give yourself a variety of choices. Whole-grain pretzels with spicy mustard, rice cakes with almond butter and raisins, or fruit mixed with plain organic whole milk yogurt are healthy, tasty and easy.
Ten Tasty Treats for Teenagers:
- Lara bars, Kind bars, or other all-natural, low sugar granola or energy bar
- Cashews, almonds, pecans, pistachios (pumpkin seeds are a great alternative if you have a nut allergy or sensitivity)
- Smoothies (store in an insulated drink holder in your backpack to quench your thirst and hunger later in the day!)
- Homemade trail mix including nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, mini pretzels and dried coconut shavings
- Hard boiled eggs with sea salt and black pepper
- Garbanzo beans (try roasting them until they get crispy in the oven with sea salt and coconut oil)
- Cheese (preferably organic or from grass-fed cows)
- Plain whole milk yogurt (preferably from grass-fed cows, and flavored with a little honey or maple syrup)
- Organic and/or local jerky (bison, grass-fed beef, turkey or elk jerky are all available in health food stores
- Romaine lettuce leaf wrap with deli turkey, swiss cheese and hummus inside