Meal & snack ideas for hungry teenagers
Earlier this week, we featured a special article focusing on the nutritional needs of teenagers. As any parent of a teenager would know, kids that age like to eat – a lot. But finding the right foods to keep growing teens happy can be challenging. Luckily, adolescent taste buds start to discern more flavours, which means that teenagers may begin to tire of the blander foods of their childhood, and become more open to trying new things.
If you’ve got voraciously hungry teenagers prowling your kitchen and opening the fridge door every five minutes, take some advice from Instagram favourite George Georgievski, AKA the “Lunchbox Dad”, who knows how to keep hungry kids happy.
“As teens get older and their taste buds grow, they start to become more adventurous and daring with their food choices, which may leave parents scrambling for new ideas on how to keep them satisfied,” Georgievski says. “But preparing food for teens doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be as easy as taking simple pantry staples they’ve long known and loved and putting a creative spin on them, incorporating new flavours and tastes.”
Below are some of Georgievski’s top meal and snack ideas that are both easy to prepare and sure to satisfy a hungry teen or two after a long school day.
“A must-have kitchen staple is puff pastry, as it can be used in so many different ways to bake delicious, warm treats, ready to be devoured when your teens walk in the door after school,” Georgievski says. “One of my favourite things to make at the moment is empanadas, as they’re super simple and quick, and you can play around with so many different filling options, from meat or chicken to vegetarian.
“I also can never pass up making classics like sausage rolls, but I like to use sausages filled with extra seasoning such as oregano and parsley, as it gives them a deeper flavour.”
2 minute noodles
“My girls grew up on 2 minute noodles, and the chicken taste is a familiar comfort, but now they’re older and eager to try new things,” Georgievski says. “So, my go-to staple at the moment is Maggi’s new 2 Minute Spicy Chicken Flavour noodles, which I’ve introduced in my home because it gives them a little spicy twist that excites their taste buds.
“The best part about noodles is they’re so versatile. For a complete meal, I opt for a stir fry with chicken, a bit of chilli and some sauce, which is a great way to get the kids trying new flavour combinations like Mongolian beef or sweet and sour pork.
“Otherwise, I like to put together simple finger food snacks like my spicy chicken noodle lettuce cups or rice paper rolls made with chicken and noodles – perfect to keep teens filled up for the afternoon before dinner.”
You’ll find the recipes for both below. You can also opt for Maggi 2 Minute Wholegrain Noodles if you want to get more wholegrains into your teenager’s diet.
“If your teens aren’t massive fans of vegies, a great way to make sure they get them into their diet is by adding them to some of their favourite dishes,” Georgievski advises. “Quiches and slices are favourites in our house, so I add green, red and yellow capsicum and zucchini, along with and any other leftover vegies, into a classic quiche Lorraine.”
What if there’s no time to prepare a sit-down meal?
“For many teenagers, their day doesn’t stop after school,” Georgievski says. “Whether it’s a sporting activity, dance classes or even a part-time job, it’s important for parents to have snacks on hand that teenagers can enjoy on the go.”
If the afternoons are a bit of a rush, go portable, using a thermos or Tupperware container to store tasty, quick and easy meals that will keep teens energised for the rest of the day – think soup, pasta, fried rice or even something as simple as corn on the cob or a fruit salad.
Spicy chicken noodle rolls
1 packet Maggi 2 Minute Spicy Chicken Noodles
4 rice papers (for rolling)
4 chicken tenders, cooked
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 carrot, julienne cut
4 sprigs coriander
1 tbsp crushed peanuts
1 fresh chilli (optional)
1. Cook 2 minute noodles as per packet instructions. Add flavour sachet in the water.
2. Soak the rice papers so they can easily fold and roll.
3. Add a quarter of the noodles in the centre of each rice paper and add the chicken tender, carrot and coriander.
4. Roll the rice paper roll just like a spring roll.
5. For the sauce, simply crush a tablespoon of peanuts and add them to the hoisin sauce.
6. Dip away and enjoy.
Crunchy spicy noodle cups
1 packet Maggi 2 Minute Spicy Chicken Noodles
6 mini lettuce cups, washed
200g chicken mince
1 clove garlic
½ brown onion
Frozen peas and corn
2 tbsp soy sauce
1. Cook the 2 minute noodles as per pack instructions. Do not add the flavour sachet.
2. Once cooked, lay noodles out on a baking tray and pop in the oven on 180°C for 10 minutes until golden brown.
3. Sauté the garlic and onion. After a minute, add the chicken mince and sprinkle the flavour sachet over the top. Add the soy sauce.
4. Cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
5. Add chicken mix to lettuce cups. Roughly crunch up noodles and add to lettuce cups.