Worried about the eating habits of your teenager? Help them reach independence in the kitchen with our simple but nutritious recipes...
Toddlers and teens can have a lot in common; both normally have a fierce desire for independence, a streak of rebellion and are prone to the occasional tantrum. The teenage years are notorious for coming with their parental power struggles, and food can be just one of the issues up for debate. The desire to feed our children well is a primal instinct and one we have for good reason; but trying to take too much control over your teens diet can end in disaster.
Sometimes, the key to getting teenagers to eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy relationship with food is enabling them to gain their own independence in the kitchen.
We’ve put together a selection of recipes that will help your child gain the basic skills they need to cook confidently on their own. Now all you'll have to argue about is the washing up...
This is basically a bit of a graduation from making your own sandwich, but creating something simple and delicious from scratch can feel like a real milestone. This recipe involves simple kitchen tasks like slicing and frying vegetables and handling a hot griddle pan – but there are relatively few steps to follow. A great recipe for your teen to trial cooking for a friend, and the results are scrumptious.
- Grilled courgette, bean & cheese quesadilla
- Sweet potato & chorizo quesadilla
- All our quesadilla recipes
When encouraging your teen to cook, the best approach can be to help them organise the ingredients they need – and then take a safe step back. You can always be on hand if they need it, but helicopter parenting will almost certainly not be welcome in a hot kitchen.
The humble stir-fry is a great starting point for the beginner cook, because it has few instructions, it’s speedy, simple and you can pack them full of fresh veg. From pineapple, beef & ginger to Thai prawns & green beans, these recipes make the perfect springboard for cooking balanced meals independently.
Omelettes are a great stand-by meal for a hungry teen, and most of us usually have a box of eggs spare. Once they’ve cracked the basic recipes they can start getting creative with ingredients like feta & semi-dried tomatoes or chorizo, potato & cheese. Plonk your teenager down in front of our how to make a perfect omelette, and they shouldn’t be able to go too far wrong.
If you have a battle with your teenager over eating breakfast, then a fruit-packed smoothie might make a good compromise. There’s something quite satisfying about blitzing one of these up, and they also make for a good mid-afternoon booster. Super simple to make, our peach Melba smoothie and super berry smoothie should be able to tempt most teens into action.
Simple baking recipes are a great way of gaining confidence in the kitchen, and the show-off potential can make them more appealing to a new chef. If you are worried about your teenager's sugar intake, then this may help channel that desire for a sugar fix into something more wholesome. Baking something quick and easy can also make for a therapeutic break between study sessions.
Do you struggle to get your kids to cook or have you got a budding chef on your hands? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below...