As the rhyme goes, that’s what girls are made of. But apparently, teenage girls are getting a bit too much of the sugar and not nearly enough fruit and veg.
In fact, recent stats showed that only 8% of 11-18 year old girls are getting their 5-a-day. Here are my tips on getting girls to bump up their intake:
- Really focus on breakfast. It’s so important that teenagers eat something before school – and if you can get some dried fruit into their cereal or fruit pots with yoghurt, it all counts. There’s a great recipe for fruit yoghurt and granola in our recipe book for school cooks here
- Sell the citrus. Lots of young girls don’t get enough iron – vital for brain development and to prevent them from feeling tired. Try throwing a few satsumas into their lunch and getting them to have a glass of orange juice with breakfast – the Vitamin C in fruit like this helps them to absorb iron from foods. Schools can help by including a portion of fruit or fruit juice into their meal deals, to maximise the amount of iron they absorb
- Experiment with lots of different coloured fruits to make smoothies. Add ice cubes to make a crushed ice drink, or milk or yoghurt to make your own milkshake. There’s a great recipe for smoothies in our book here
- Vegetables are good sources of fibre, iron and folate which are all really important for young girls. Create your own salad bar with lots of options to choose from – plain grated carrot, sliced beetroot, mixed lettuce and some beans or pulses like a mixed bean salad. There are loads of ideas here
- You can really pack veg into homemade soup. This is often a good seller for schools during the winter as a warming snack at morning break or at lunch with a wholemeal bread roll.
Laura’s one of our nutritionists. Email Laura.