Cooking for fun and survival
By the time your child turns thirteen, you might expect that she would occasionally have dinner prepared for you when you arrive home late from work. Unlikely. Teens love to be fed. They may reject your advice, they definitely don't want you to fix their hair, but they do want you to feed them. If you're the one who does all the cooking, how will your child ever learn to plan and prepare meals? He'll be on his own before you know it, but you're still making the sandwiches he takes to school for lunch.
In adolescence, the focus shifts away from the home and into the larger community. Your daughter no longer wants to spend Saturday afternoon baking cookies with you. However, she may want to learn about cooking -- just not from her parents. If she wants to take a cooking course with her friends, tell her it's a great idea. Give her a cookbook for Christmas.
If your son mentions that he would like to bake a birthday cake for his girlfriend, hand over the recipe but don't go far away. He may need to ask you what vanilla extract is or how to crack an egg. Think twice about what you say, and don't let a quick quip from you end his culinary education. Take a deep breath and say something encouraging like "Yeah, breaking an egg can be tricky. Let's practise with a couple of eggs. We can use them up in an omelette tomorrow."
When your teens complain that there's no food in the house, open your wallet and send them to the grocery store. If your son last entered a grocery store when he sat in the little seat in the shopping cart, it's time he ventured back in. Make the most of his interest in food by having him do the family grocery shopping or make a meal. Even with your list, the groceries he buys may be unusual; even with your advice, the meal he makes could be burnt. Help isn't really what you're after. You want your child to develop some idea of grocery costs and to be able to put a meal on the table. With that knowledge tucked under his belt, you'll feel a lot more comfortable sending him out into the world.
10 nutriton facts for teens
1. Food is one of life's joys. Eating is a pleasure for everyone to enjoy.
2. What you eat today affects your health not only now but in years to come. For example, if you consume a sufficient amount of calcium now, you can reduce your chances of osteoporosis in later life. Milk is not just for children.
3. If you focus on lower-fat foods, you can reduce your risk of many diseases, from heart disease to cancer.
4. There is no one perfect food. You need to eat a variety of foods for peak nutrition.
5. Business people, not nutritionists, plan fast-food meals. If you heavily entrust your nutritional needs to food chains, your diet will have too much meat, salt, and fat. You'll need to add dairy products, whole grains, fruits and vegetables to your diet.
6. When you're hot and sweaty, there's nothing quite like water to drink. Drinking adequate water throughout the day is essential to good health.
7. Food in its original form beats processed food. A handful of ripe cherries is more nutritious than cherry chews. A bowl of oatmeal is nutritionally superior to processed oatmeal cookies.
8. Go with whole wheat and other whole-grain breads, which offer a multitude of nutrients that white bread doesn't.
9. Make a habit of choosing the lower-fat alternative.
10. Cooking is a grand adventure when you're ready to embark.