Ben will be 13 next month and whilst he is a little different from the average child due to his autism and other needs I have been thinking about his independence. We are constantly working on him building his confidence so he can one day live independently including getting a hot water dispenser because he hasn’t the strength and coordination to hold and pour a heavy kettle. What do you teach your teenager about food?

I am also teaching him very basic cooking skills. There are other things though I have been thinking he needs to learn and your children do too which you may not have thought about. Here I share my tips with you on things I think every teenager needs to know about food.

bowl of breakfast cereal

Food Tips for healthy teenagers

Plate proportions

Whilst they are growing up they have a little more flexibility when it comes to how they eat, This however is time to build healthy habits. A good portion of vegetables and protein should be on each meal. Whilst a smaller amount of carbohydrates will set them up well for the future.

Best Before vs Use By Dates

Many adults don’t even realise this. Use by dates are the dates you should use a product before because after that your health could be at risk. This date is usually on meat products. Best before is merely a guideline. If food looks ok such as a carrot but it is a day after the best before date, it can still be eaten. This is something I think is really important to teach your teenager about food.

Reducing waste

If you won’t use something look at freezing it or making it into something else. This skill is usually easier to teach by example. If they see you throw out food regularly they will too. Think of the money saved.

Brands aren’t always better

The price of a food doesn’t mean it will necessarily taste better. Some people always buy the cheapest, some always buy the premium. Whatever you buy, remember it is your budget and taste. If you can instil in your teenager this it will help them as they move out and fend for themselves.

Food isn’t a substitute for therapy

We all do it but the reality is, however, rubbish you feel that tub of ice cream won’t cure it. The sooner they learn this the better in the long term. I guess we all know though that emotional eating isn’t a great idea, we still do it don’t we?

What do you think are important things to teach your child as they grow up about food?

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