Give Your Teen’s Favorite Foods a Do-It-Yourself Makeover
Groovy bell bottoms, culottes, headbands, and flower power … that’s what was fashionable in the late 1960’s. It was also when obesity among U.S. teenagers (12 to 17 year olds) was just 4.6 percent. But the most recent data from 2007-2008 shows obesity rates of 18.1 percent for 12 to 19 year olds. That means obesity has basically quadrupled for this age group over the past 40 years. And that’s one trend teens don’t need to embrace.
There’s no single solution for solving our still-growing obesity epidemic. But making small, healthful changes to foods teens overeat – and under-eat (especially veggies) – is an excellent place to start.
Just like teens enjoy the latest music and fashion trends and take pride in showing off their latest iPhone apps or e-gadgets, they will get a kick out of these simple, succulent, and stylish ways to give their favorite foods a thoroughly modern makeover.
When They Dine Out
- Accessorize that pizza! Pick a large thin-crust cheese pizza slice. Get a side salad, too. Top the pizza with the salad. Or chop the pizza and toss into the salad, like croutons. Lightly dress with vinaigrette.
- Go extreme on that burrito! Go ahead – stuff that tortilla so it’s bursting with extra-generous amounts of voluminous toppings: lettuce, fajita-style veggies, and salsa. Instead of sour cream choose two, three or more salsas – if you dare!
- Opt for burger-less flair. Order a hamburger “with cheese” and “without the burger patty” on occasion. Request every veggie possible, plus ketchup and mustard. It’s oddly tasty!
When They Dine In
- Munch on new-fashioned noodles. Shred fettuccine-like strands of zucchini or carrot, then steam or sauté in a little oil. Dress the zucchini with marinara and basil. Toss the carrot lightly with satay sauce and cilantro.
- Give nachos a Grecian twist. Top whole grain pita chips or cucumber coins with hummus and chopped tomato. Or bake thin triangular wedges of potato, and top with Greek yogurt and scallion.
- Go artsy with mac ‘n’ cheese. Take a half portion of mac ‘n’ cheese. Arrange in a heatproof glass bowl or goblet in several layers – filling layers in between with a favorite veggie, like steamed spinach or broccoli.