3 recipes for teen taste buds


     Teens are always on the go, prone to snacking on whatever they find on the way out the door. Parents can encourage healthier habits by stocking the kitchen with nutritious foods that can be grabbed on the fly (if necessary) — from granola bars, whole fruit and bagged popcorn to string cheese and hummus packets. Ask teens what healthy foods they would like to have in the house, and empower them to take control of their health and mealtime. Here are a few teen- and mom-approved recipes.


Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip


     Encourage teens to eat more fruit with this tasty yogurt dip. It pairs perfectly with fruit, pretzels, graham crackers or even a spoon.

  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 6 ounces vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup Cool Whip

     Mix all ingredients together and serve chilled.



(Oil-Free) Brownie for One


     Teens can learn to enjoy desserts in proper portion size.

  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons applesauce
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

     Mix ingredients in a microwave-safe coffee mug. Microwave 30 seconds or until done. Let cool. Top with sliced fruit and drizzle with chocolate syrup.



One-Pot Italian Beef and Vegetables


One-pot meals are perfect for teen home chefs. These dishes are low on prep time, easy to make and quick to clean up after. Let your teen make this recipe their own by choosing a variety of vegetables and switching out rice for other whole grains. Most teens like white rice, and parents shouldn’t try to win every food war. You can use brown rice, wild rice, quinoa or any 90-second grain selection. You can also pre-cook a starch of choice from scratch and add in about 2 cups of cooked grains or short noodles.


  • 1 pound lean ground meat of choice
  • 1 small onion or ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 1 bag 90-second rice or other starch, cooked
  • 1 can (14 ounces) Italian tomatoes
  • 1½ cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella


     Dice the onion and then add it to a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add meat and brown until done. Drain excess fat. Add cooked grain, tomatoes, vegetables and seasonings. Mix well. Cook on medium 4-7 minutes. You can add a lid to help steam and soften the frozen vegetables. Once vegetables are softened, turn off the heat, add mozzarella, and fold in till mixed and melted.




Rebecca Turner is a registered dietitian, author of “Mind Over Fork,” and radio host. Reach her at or on social media @theRebeccaTurner.