The standard American diet today is less than perfect, and teens are not exempt from reaching for the typical snack foods that are available to them. Chips, sugary drinks and baked goods are loaded with unhealthy high-fructose corn syrup. Most wrapped snack foods have zero nutrition.
Although teens do not want their parents to control the foods they are consuming, we can still provide healthier choices when it comes to keeping snacks in the refrigerator. What low-sugar snacks can you keep around the house that will require little prep time from your teens, but also give them a healthy dose of protein and nutrients? Try integrating these 5 nutritious alternatives into your family’s diet.
Hard-boiled eggs are indeed incredible. I’m sure you remember the jingle for the “incredible, edible egg.” It’s true that eggs provide 5-6 grams of quality protein per serving, but are also rich in choline. Eggs are good for your eyes, brain and muscles. While it’s great to eat a hard-boiled egg as is, a teen may also enjoy the egg mashed up with a little paprika and chopped black olives mixed in.
Go nuts! Nuts are good snacks if you stay away from the processed kinds. I recommend raw almonds for a decent amount of fiber and protein. Mix an ounce of heart-healthy almonds (about 12 nuts) with a small serving of pumpkin seeds for a quick low-sugar snack that can replace commercially-prepared trail mixes. Just plain almonds alone are filling and somewhat crunchy, which is a plus. Macadamia nuts are a nice option to keep around, minus the white chocolate chip cookies, of course.
Avocados are awesome. These “alligator pears” have a multitude of health benefits. Not only are avocados full of healthy fats, but are also good sources of fiber and potassium. Half of an avocado has between 4-5 grams of fiber. Mash an avocado and use it as a dip for cucumbers and celery. Skip the tortilla chips.
Pass the cheese, please. When it comes to cheese, string cheese is one of the quickest and easiest ways to replace an unhealthy snack food. Small chunks of cheddar or mozzarella in moderation add filling protein and calcium to a teen’s diet.
Berries are beautiful. Blueberries do contain fructose, but if your teens reach for these you can be assured that they are getting antioxidant benefits. Blueberries have been reported to support brain and gastrointestinal health, too. Stick to low-sugar berries in small servings. They make an excellent snack eaten raw and combined with cheese and nuts. Stay away from fruit juices, which often contain added sugar that really isn’t needed.
Any of these snack ideas, when eaten with serving size in mind, are good for teens. These foods can even be combined into one meal, for a bento-style or on-the-go lunch. Start providing low-sugar options for snacks that your teenagers can easily prepare, and it will help keep their cravings in check.
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