Health

Healthy Snacks for Teens: Stop the Obesity!

Obesity is a rising problem in the United States. One way in which we can help decrease this problem is by monitoring after school snacks of high school teenagers. When arriving home after a long day of school, teenagers are often starving and will eat anything they can get their hands on when they step inside the house. The idea of "spoiling their dinner" means nothing to them. In order to help maintain their diet/weight, you must have the proper snacks at their disposal. Here are 10 recommendations:

SLICED Apples: Yes, we all know apples are good for you, but you also must know that sliced apples are much more appealing than a whole apple. The idea of eating a whole apple is not nearly as exciting, as you sometimes have an apple with lots of soft brown spots. A sliced apple just has a fresher taste and teenagers will be more inclined to eat them.

Pretzels: No, pretzels do not have a lot of nutritional value, but they are low in fat and low in calories . . . and more importantly, they can fill a teen's stomach in a timely manner. It's not one of those foods in which a kid will eat the entire bag in one sitting.

Chocolate Milk: Most teens still have a soft spot for chocolate milk, although they are probably "too cool" to drink it at lunch in high school. They will probably choose juice, instead, just so they don't look as "kiddie" among their friends. But once they're home, there is no peer pressure and nobody to impress. A large glass of lowfat chocolate milk provides plenty of protein and it can also be filling, as well.

Garden Salads: The truth is, many teens actually do enjoy salads; however, they are usually only given that option at dinner time. If you load up the salad with plenty of veggies, and buy some tasty lowfat Thousand Island or Ranch dressing, then teens may opt for it when they get home. Just don't let them go crazy with the croutons.

Sliced Watermelon: Watermelon won't add to anybody's waistline and it is actually very affordable compared to most other fruits. Plus, kids and teens LOVE watermelon!

Crystal Light: In addition to chocolate milk, it's also beneficial to have some Crystal Light in your fridge. There is no fat and barely any calories. If you have chocolate milk and crystal light in your fridge, then the temptation of drinking a high-calorie, sugar-infested soda will not be as much of a factor.

Veggies & Dip: When teens get home, they don't want to take the time to make or cook anything. Veggies and dip is the simple and healthy quick fix. Cut up some carrots, celery and tomatoes, throw a bowl of lowfat (or non-fat) dressing in the middle of the plate, and let the kids go crazy.

Granola Bars: A granola bar is a filling and healthy snack that will help keep the teen satisfied until dinner time. Make sure to check the ingredients, though, as some granola bars have much more fat and calories than others. I would recommend getting some sort of trail mix flavor.

Lowfat Triscuits: Like pretzels, Triscuits will not invade your waistline and they can fill your kids up fast. I've yet to meet any teen that has eaten a whole entire box of Triscuits in one sitting! Heck, I've never even met anyone that has eaten a HALF-box of Triscuits in one sitting . . . unless they added pepperoni or cheese to them or something.

Bananas: A healthy and convenient snack for teens. Just don't let them put it in a big fat bowl of ice cream and chocolate sauce.