How To Get A Teenager To Eat Healthy (From An Actual Teenager)

I’m 16, and I first got into healthy eating when I was 9, after being mysteriously sick every day for six months. I tried going gluten-free to see if it would help, and felt a ton better. Going off gluten was just the beginning of my healthy eating adventure. I fell in love with cooking myself wholesome food and constantly learning about the newest ways to eat even better. I’ve found that for us teens (and for everyone, really), eating healthily can be affordable, socially acceptable, and easy. Here’s are a few of the biggest myths about eating healthy as a teenager:

Reality: A lot of my classmates (and strangers!) at school have asked why I eat the way I do. Just the other day, I was dipping bell peppers in hummus during English class, and someone asked what I was doing. Now, I don’t know if he said this because we’re not supposed to eat in English class or because my peppers were so exciting. Either way, rather than feel offended by his question, I took it as a compliment and an opportunity to tell him exactly what I was eating and why. I explained to him (and my other classmates who’d begun listening) that I was eating the bell peppers for a good dose of fiber and the hummus because it has protein and vitamins. They were intrigued! Ever since that day, my English class peers have come up to me to ask about healthy food and what they should be eating. Not only did my classmates accept me even though I ate weird foods, but they were actually interested in learning more!

Reality: It does take time and a little planning to make yourself wholesome school lunches, but it’s doable! And the added effort is so worth it. I like to make a lot of food on Sunday night and then portion it out throughout the week. My weekly lunch prep go-to’s are: roasting sweet potatoes, bell peppers, celery, and tomatoes; blanching whole collard green leaves (great for all kinds of wraps!); making a batch of chocolate muffins; baking a batch of granola. Some of my favorite school lunches to make are collard wraps with roasted veggies and turkey, tuna salad, greens with chicken and roasted veggies,…

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