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Solutions: Carnivorous Teen

by Jane Wangersky | May 4th, 2012 | Parenting Predicament

We’ve found a couple of solutions to this predicament:

My teen doesn’t like vegetables or carbs but just wants to fill up on meat. I know this is not a balanced diet. It’s also expensive. What should I do?

Glenda Gourley of New Zealand is the author of love life food kids and other books on teaching your kids food skills and good eating habits. She suggests you start the learning with potatoes, a healthy food grown almost everywhere, saying: “The vast majority of teenagers love the taste of potatoes so you are pitching to a receptive audience.” And that’s not all — potatoes can also appeal to a teen’s eco-consciousness: “[W]hen you consider production capability, sustainability and use of world resources it is little wonder that teaching teenagers to cook by using this remarkable food is so effective.”

What about other vegetables? Cathe Olson, author of The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook and other natural food cookbooks for families, recommends first finely chopping vegetables in your food processor. Then: “Add them to food you know your family likes. They’ll hardly notice a taste difference.” (Minced vegetables will keep only a few days but can be frozen — in a thin layer — for future use.) She says puréed vegetables in smoothies are also undetectable, and they’re good in soups, too.

Have the patience to move gradually and to involve your teen, and you can get them eating a balanced diet.

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