Although the rules of good nutrition should be your guide, most teens are not going to be happy with a steady diet of carrot and celery sticks.
Cut down on the basic “bad guys:” fat, salt, sugar and empty calories.
Substitute similar but healthier alternatives when possible: pretzels for chips, air-popped popcorn for oily or buttered, yogurt-based dips for cheese- and mayo-based ones.
Chop fruits and veggies into bite-sized pieces or strips. Teens like foods they can grab and take with them.
Smoothies and fruit shakes are packed with nutrients and are also very trendy. Use yogurt, milk, fresh or frozen fruit and fruit juices.
Freeze grapes, mango slices, watermelon and berries for a fun, slushy snack.
Be flexible. Adding chocolate chips or M&Ms to a shake is a great way to get a chocolate fix along with all the nutrients in milk.
Dry-roasted nuts and seeds have a satisfying crunch and are a healthy snack in moderation. Also, use nut butters in celery or in sandwiches.
Select teas and fizzy waters instead of soda. Juices are all right some of the time, but they have a lot of sugar and calories as well.
Hand-make tortilla chips, oven fries, mini-pizzas to control fat and salt.
Keep your refrigerator and cupboards stocked with what you want your teens to eat and don’t keep what you don’t want them to eat. If you provide pretzels for free, they’re not likely to buy their own potato chips.