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How to feed your teens

Fabulous advice courtesy of a mother and naturopath:

ist1_1699255-apple-and-hamburger-on-scales-conceptualQuestion: What has 22 legs, 11 mouths, sounds like your tv, radio and CD player are all playing at their loudest deafening volume together and an appetite like a small army?   Answer: the 11 teens I took to Stradbroke Island to celebrate my twins 16th birthday! Yes, this is what I do for fun and to unwind! 😉

Without shops within walking distance this mob was at the mercy of my food choices and the meals provided by me and the 5 other adults present. I played head of the catering team and spent a lot of that telling the other adults to never ask, just do, when it comes to feeding teens.

Scenario 1:

Adult: “Do you want eggs?  Or maybe leftover bean mix?  Or there are some avocados you could have on toast?”

Teens 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 & 11:  ‘Nah’ or “Dunno” or “Not sure” or “I’ll just grab some toast & spread “

Many parents get stumped with the transition from malleable primary school child, who is dependent on them & usually fairly agreeable to eat what others are eating at each shared meal, to the irregular and self-directed feeding patterns of the diurnally challenged teen.  Left completely to their own devices, foraging by teens tends to harvest only the lowest hanging fruit…and usually it’s not fruit! They reach for whatever is nearest, fastest (both in terms of time it takes to get into their mouth & time it takes to chew) and being fabulously hedonistic examples of our species, when in doubt go for the biggest ‘hits’ – sweet and salty.

My motto is always – never ask, or suggest, or offer teens, ‘Just do it’.  Cook and serve.  In particular, leave said healthy food options just lying around everywhere and anywhere for easy access.  

Most importantly, don’t appear keen or even particularly interested in whether they eat the food or not and you will get the best results.

Scenario 2:

Load all bench surfaces with plates of cut fruit & yummy raw veg (no peeling required helps with ease & speed factor), leftover nachos mix to use for dipping, bowls of nuts, cold frittata, marinated chicken wings just out of the oven (what teen can resist that smell!) etc. etc.

Me: “” (Silence) 

Teens: “” (Silence)…too busy eating, refueling and clearing off just about everything.

It’s amazing how great teen’s food choices can be – whenever you remove the (ahem) choice bit!  Smells like teen spirit! 😉