Being a teenager is a difficult time. There are many expectations and stresses at such a young age. At the same time, the hormones are completely out of balance. It is difficult for many, especially young women, to know what is happening in their lives. They cannot control some of the cravings they have, especially with food.
Because of the out of sync hormones, teenagers tend to crave the likes of chocolate and sugary foods. Teens also turn to food to handle some of the stressful situations they face. The problem is these foods make the hormones worse,and they contribute to numerous health problems. This can also be when their weight can become an issue, partially because of the types of foods they have turned to.
You want your teen to live a healthier and fulfilling life. It is time to encourage more healthy foods in the diet. They can be comforting and replace the many unhealthy comfort foods and cravings they get. Here is an ultimate list to help you get the best options for your teens. Some of these are family favorites with a healthier recipe,and others are aquick one-off, healthier snacking options.
Grab a Healthier Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a firm favorite for many teenagers. It is quick to make and super to fill. However,it is not one of the healthiest options available. While it is a comfort food, it misses out on some of the most nutritious ingredients. You need to opt for a healthier version to help your teen grow up strong and supported.
However, the base of mac and cheese is good. White pasta is not as bad as many people make it out to be. Likewise, cheese can offer numerous nutrients like proteins and calcium to build strong muscles and bones. It is the other nutrients that you need,and you can easily add them to your dish to create a healthy option.
One of the best things you can do is add vegetables to the mac and cheese. Since they end up being addedto the cheesy sauce, they often go unnoticed by some. Teens just want something that is going to solve their craving, keep them warm, and make them satisfied. They want something that will soothe their stresses and make it easier to deal with whatever situation is thrown their way.
Add peas, cauliflower, broccoli, and even peppers into the mac and cheese. They will help to add flavor and mix in well with the small bits of pasta. They will also add various nutrients, including iron, necessary B vitamins, and vitamins C and E. Sweet peas are also a great way to curb some of the sweet cravings naturally, while also getting plenty of fiber into the diet.
If you want to add more fiber, you can switch the white pasta for brown pasta. While white is not too bad, brown is certainly better. You will just have to cook it for longer, as it tends to keep some of its solidness due to the extra starch.
Enjoy a Healthy Cottage Pie
Cottage or shepherd’s pie is one of the most popular home-cooked meals. It is delicious on a cold winter night and easy to make. For the most part, cottage pie is not that bad for you, especially if you choose the lean or extra lean mince in the grocery store. However, you can make it healthier for your teen’s comfort food.
Start by adding some beans or legumes to your mince. Many people in Scotland will just add a tin of baked beans for extra fiber. It is additional nutrients without a big extra cost. However, you can add other legumes, such as split peas or lentils to the recipe. The extra fiber helps to make the dish far more filling and comforting. Your teen will not feel the need to eat as much, as they will be satisfied much quicker.
Another option is to add something to the mashed potatoes. Opt for some cauliflower or parsnips. They can be steamed and then mashed into the potatoes. You will add more nutrients to your carby topping, making it far better for the family’s health.
Want something a little different? A sweet potato topping is an excellent option. You get far more nutrients from sweet potatoes, especially when it comes to antioxidants that will help to support the immune system. Sweet potatoes are packed with potassium, far more than in bananas. You also get the sweetness of the potatoes, helping to curb the sweet potatoes when your teen is looking for comfort.
Make Your Pizzas
Pizzas get a terrible reputation for being unhealthy and fattening. While the ones that you get from the takeaway are not great, you can make your own healthier options. The best thing is these pizzas can take just 10 minutes to create in the oven. There’s no need to roll out the dough and make your pizza base!
The one thing you want to do is grab some tortilla wraps. Whole wheat tortilla wraps are better, as they are stocked with more fiber to help avoid sugar rushes. They can also be tastier when creating pizzas.
Your tortilla wraps are your pizza bases. You can then top with some tomato paste and as many vegetables as you want. Opt for a little cheese on top. If you want to make a meat eater friendly pizza, you can always shred some of your leftover roast chicken from Sunday’s dinner or get some ham slices to throw on. Opt for as fresh as possible to avoid the packaging and processing chemicals.
Since these homemade pizzas take just 10 minutes in the oven, they have become firm favorites with teens. It feels to them like they are eating something naughty,but they know that they are going to be good for the health and the waistline. They can also be fun additions for house parties with friends.
Create a Healthier Sloppy Joe
Sloppy Joes are a mainstream meal for middle schoolers. It is normal for your teen to be drawn to them, as a connection to their childhood. There’s no denying that sloppy Joes are also filling and delicious.
Apart from the hamburger bun, sloppy Joes are not too bad for the health. However, you can make them much healthier.
Start by switching the beef mince for pork or turkey. Look out for lean mince, too. This will get rid of most of the saturated fats so that you can gain from all the amino acids and proteins in the food. Then add plenty of vegetables and legumes into the mix. You will get far more nutrients and fiber, supporting the health instantly.
What about the burger bun? Well, you could just make an open sandwich. They are not quite the same as a traditional sloppy Joe, but you do get rid of some of the carbs that accompany the burger buns. Alternatively, you can choose a whole wheat wrap or pita bread instead. They are better for the fiber and will help to give a similar sloppy feeling since they can be eaten with the hands. They tend to be a little easier to eat!
Make a Vegetable Lasagne
Lasagne is another popular home dish that adds comfort at the end of the day. The problem is the pasta sheets. While white pasta sheets are not as bad as they were once considered, there are better options to use. Your teens will hardly tell the difference. Opt for layers of courgette or aubergines instead of layers of pasta sheets.
If you do not want to replace all the pasta with the vegetables, you can mix and match. Do a layer of vegetables and then a layer of pasta and keep alternating. Add a top layer of pasta to make it look like this is the usual home-cooked meal. Your teen will get the feeling like they are eating their typical dish, so they do not subconsciously turn their nose up to it.
It is not just the pasta layers that you can replace either. It is possible to make a whole lasagne with vegetables if you like. Switch out the mince with some tofu if you would want. You still get the proteins, but you do not get the unsaturated fats.
Want to keep the meat? We do not blame you! You can opt for lean turkey mince instead of beef. You will get a similar taste without as many saturated fats. Do not forget to add some vegetables and legumes to your meal to add more nutrients and fiber.
This healthier option will help you get the warm comfort with extra nutrients. Your teen will hardly tell the difference.
Make a Healthier Banana Ice Cream
Frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream, but you can go one step further for a healthier, comforting ice cream. It is time to turn to banana ice cream.
Peel your bananas and wrap them in foil, before putting them in the freezer. Leave them there until they are solid and ready to much into an ice cream. Just blend them down. You can add a little milk if you want, but most of the time you will not need it.
Bananas are naturally creamy and will give you the same cold texture as ice cream. You can also freeze other fruits, especially berries, and mix them in with the bananas. You get a delicious mixture of flavors that are naturally sweet. The benefit for your teen is that the sweet cravings are naturally curbed.
Is it a chocolate craving you need to get over? Well, you want to turn to a little cocoa. Add it to the bananas before you blend. Alternatively, you can get some dark chocolate and melt it down. Opt for at least 70% cocoa to get rid of the unnatural sugars added to chocolate. Drizzle over the top of your banana ice cream for a sundae.
Make Chocolate Chip Cookies without the Flour
Cookies are a popular comfort food. They solve the sugar cravings but are not exactly healthy. You can get the same craving curbing without adding flour to your homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Get some flaxseed and quinoa to mix and add in some bananas. The bananas will help to gel everything together without the need for milk, while the quinoa and flaxseed replace the need for flour. The bananas will also help to add a natural sweetness, curbing the cravings without refined ingredients. On top of that, you get extra proteins through the quinoa and extra fiber through the flaxseed.
What about the chocolate chips? Get some dark chocolate chips for your cookies. They have fewer added sugars to them, making the healthier options. The cookies are extremely easy to make,and they will last up to a week in an airtight container. Your teen will just think they are eating normal chocolate chip cookies, tricking the brain that all cravings are being satisfied.
Do not Forget the Popcorn
Contrary to popular belief, popcorn is healthy for you. It is the ingredients added on top of the popcorn that is bad for you! If you want to offer a comfort food for watching movies, stock up on your popcorn kernels and invest in a popcorn machine. They will last for years, and you will get some use out of them.
Popcorn kernels are full of fiber and nutrients. What you want to do is avoid the sugar, salt, and toffee added to the popped kernels.
You do not need to eat plain popcorn, however. That would be boring! Add your spices and herbs instead. An Italian seasoning can give a unique taste to the popped kernels. You can also add some cayenne pepper or some of your cheddar cheese. If you want some salt, opt for sea salt instead. There are some extra nutrients that table salt does not have, but keep the amount to a minimum.
It is Time to Curb the Cravings for Real Comfort
Most comfort foods are full of unhealthy ingredients, but that does not mean they have to be completely banned. You can opt for healthier versions of your teen’s favorite comfort foods. They will still offer the same comforting benefits, but add some health benefits at the same time.
The list above will help you turn all your home comforts into healthier versions. You can even enjoy them yourself to add more warmth and healthy comfort to your day. Most of the time your teens will not even realize you have made some changes.
Are you ready to change the way you look at foods in the house? The changes will not cost you much money, but they will make you physically feel comfort rather than just temporarily mentally.