Your adolescent may be growing, but have you noticed your bank account shrinking with his or her ever-expanding appetite? If you find yourself making multiple trips to the supermarket to satisfy your “hangry” teenager’s bottomless pit of an appetite, you won’t be surprised by recent survey results revealing that teens eat more than $50,000 worth of food a year. You read that right.
With the help of OnePoll, Farm Rich sampled 2,000 parents of teens ages 13 to 19 to take a look at their eating habits. The survey showed that every 4.5 minutes teens are griping about food, five times per week asking, ‘What’s for dinner?’ and three times a week proclaiming, “There’s nothing to eat in the house!” Here’s some ways to deal with a moody teen. It gets even worse over the summer.
Teenagers consume 50 percent more snacks during the summer months than over the course of an entire school year, according to the survey. Blame that on a lack of being confined to a classroom all day and warm weather activities such as swimming that can work up a voracious appetite. Parents say they make at least three more trips a week to the grocery store during the summer months.
tanja-vashchuk/Shutterstock“Feeding teenagers can sometimes be a mental and financial challenge, particularly in summertime when kids are around the house more,” says Shannon Gilreath, Farm Rich Director of Marketing. “It’s no wonder parents can feel frustrated, with tensions rising at times, so stocking up on their kids’ favorite foods is just one way to help.”
And it can be a struggle to keep teens healthy when the food pressure is on. The survey revealed that more than 65 percent of teens regularly skip breakfast in the summer, while two-thirds raid the pantry at night. (By this way, here’s what happens to your body when you skip breakfast.) More than half of parents surveyed admit to caving in and letting their kids order takeout when they weren’t satisfied by what was in the cupboard.
To make satisfying your teen easier, the survey compiled a list of the top 10 foods teens hanker for at home, and how to make them a tad healthier:
- Pizza—Ditch the frozen varieties and stock up instead on all the fixings for DIY pizza: ready-made crust, cheese, and sauce can be stored easily. Add healthy veggies as toppings. Or keep these yummy quinoa pizza bites in the freezer.
- Fruit/Vegetables—Make these healthy picks even more accessible by buying pre-cut celery sticks and carrots. Or make your own bags of cucumbers and sliced peppers that they can just grab and go.
- Cereal—Read the labels, look for lower sugar versions with fewer added chemicals. Or try this healthy granola treat instead.
- Ice Cream—Remind your children about portion control. Ice cream may have sugar, but it also contains protein. As long as you don’t eat the whole pint in one sitting.
- Potato Chips—Don’t buy low-fat or no-fat versions filled with added preservatives and chemicals. Go for kettle cooked instead. Buy them pre-portioned in individual bags or take the time to portion them yourself.
- Chicken Fingers/Strips/Nuggets—Make your own chicken strips baked in Panko bread crumbs and keep them in the fridge or freezer. Or try these buffalo cauliflower bites that are like veggie wings.
- Mac & Cheese—Use real cheese and butter, but keep servings to a minimum.
- Spaghetti—Try whole-grain pasta or new funky versions (like adzuki bean and chickpea pasta) that might be lower on the glycemic index.
- French Fries—Make fresh cut fries or try frozen sweet potato alternatives that have higher potassium. Or bake kale chips for a crunchy and salty and way healthier alternative (if you can get your teen to try them, that is).
- Pancakes/Waffles—Sometimes you have to indulge, but buy whole grain, and use real maple syrup and add blueberries for antioxidants.