To a teen, there is no such thing as snacktime. Snacks are fair game any time, any place. There is nothing terribly wrong with snacking now and then, says Bissex. She says it's okay for teens to eat as much as six times a day, and three of those times can be for snacking. The following snacks are great for breakfast, lunch, and after school, or for teens who are always on the go.
Most veggies have virtually no calories but plenty of nutrients. A couple of carrots a day will not only provide double your teen's daily beta-carotene requirements, but it'll also lower his cholesterol. Like broccoli, it will reduce the risks of cancers like lung, throat, stomach, prostate, and breast cancer. Celery lowers blood pressure and cauliflower adds cancer-fighting glucosinolates.
Add flavor to these crudites by dipping them in homemade avocado and tomato guacamole for an appetizing snack. Avocado is an excellent source of vitamin E along with many other vitamins and minerals.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup of carrots, 35 calories 3/4 cup of celery, 7 calories 1 cup cauliflower, 34 calories 2/3 cup broccoli, 33 calories 1/2 avocado, 145 calories 1/2 large tomato, 17 calories
Granola bars are a solution to the no-time-for-breakfast excuse. Some form of breakfast will help kids be more attentive and therefore do better in school and excel in sports, as well as prevent them from hitting the vending machines right after homeroom. Add a glass of skim milk for a fat-free calcium boost -- a quarter of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). The nuts, dried fruit, and seeds in granola bars make them high in fiber and omega-3 fats and an excellent source of energy. It's wise to avoid granola that is high in saturated fats.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 granola bar, 200 calories 8 ounce glass of milk, 80 calories
Plain low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium; an eight-ounce cup fulfills 45 percent of the RDA and has protein for the immune system. Low-fat or nonfat frozen yogurt might not have all the benefits of regular yogurt, but it tastes great and it's a much better alternative than ice cream.
If your kids like nuts, sprinkle on some cashews and walnuts. Most nuts contain high amounts of iron, zinc, and magnesium and the fat is mostly unsaturated. It's good to eat fresh, plain nuts, not salted.
Recommended Serving Size: 1/3 cup of cashews, 287 calories 1/4 cup walnuts, 177 calories 8 ounce cup of yogurt, 190 calories
While your teen is on the computer, playing video games, or watching television, slide a bowl of freshly sliced mangoes and some firm grapes in her direction. It'll keep her out of the kitchen for sodas and chips until dinnertime.
You can't compliment a mango enough. This delicious tropical fruit provides 150 percent of the RDA for the cancer-fighting nutrient beta-carotene. It's loaded with fiber and potassium. Plus it'll fulfill a day's requirement of vitamin C. Grapes help reduce heart disease.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 mango, 107 calories 2/3 cup of grapes, 60 calories
Kids tend to experiment with vegetarianism in their teenage years. But that doesn't mean you need to worry about them missing the nutrients found in meat or fish. "You can eat as a vegetarian and eat a very healthy diet," says Bissex.
Hummus -- a chickpea puree -- is a common vegetarian spread with lots of iron and magnesium. Spread some on whole wheat pita bread (for fiber) and it'll make a satisfying snack or lunchtime food.
Recommended Serving Size: 2 tbsp. of hummus, 83 calories 1 piece of whole wheat pita bread, 195 calories
Peanut butter, like peanuts, is high in fat and calories. But the good news is that the fat is unsaturated and your kids need a lot of calories anyway. Plus peanut butter is packed with iron. Sandwich peanut butter between some graham crackers and add slices of apples for a satisfying after-school snack.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter, 156 calories
Continued on page 3: 3 Simple Superfood Meals