Nutrition expert suggests healthy lunches for teens to eat at school

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Nutritionist Patricia Greenberg says teens are often a forgotten group who need healthy meals, and she offers tasty snacks and meals in her latest book. (KABC)

Most parents worry about little ones eating well at school, but nutritionist Patricia Greenberg said as they age, we lose sight of another, older group.

"The one neglected segment that I feel is the teenagers. The teenagers, we just send them off to school with a couple of bucks, and historically, they've gone out and got a pizza and a soda," said Greenberg, the Fitness Gourmet.

She feels they don't need kid food or junk food. Her motto?

"Don't treat them differently than the adults," she said.

But this is a tough time for them. Teenage years are often associated with the need for independence, peer acceptance and obsession with self-image. While all of these things play a role in what they eat, it's usually not for the better.

"Girls don't want to eat in front of the boys. There's this whole level of coolness that's seeped into the food as well," Greenberg said.

So her concept is to cross-reference pantry and fridge items you already have to keep things easy. Making snacks, salads and sandwiches that work for this age group.

Greenberg suggested adding tuna to kale salad or adding little pita slices to it. Teens could even stuff one pita as a grab and go sandwich.

Breakfast for lunch is always a hit. Cottage cheese or yogurt to top regular or mini waffles and fruit could work.

Even a take on a BLT with whole grain waffles or a bagel with avocado, tempeh bacon and tomato slices is a good meal.

"A lot of kids don't eat all day long and then they're gorging after school, so it's important to have something in their lunchbag or something available to them," Greenberg said.

For dessert, strawberries with cheese topped with blueberries is delicious. It's food that kids of all ages would eat.

"Let's bring everybody together, that we're all on the same page. We're all eating healthy but food that tastes good," she said.

You can find more recipes for teen lunches by Patricia Greenberg here.

Related Topics:
foodhealthhealthy recipesback to schoolfood coachteenagerschildren's health
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