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Ten Smart Snacks for Teens

Image: Ten Smart Snacks for Teens Many adults think that snacking isn’t a healthy habit for their growing teen. The truth is that most teens need snacks; the trick is making healthy food choices in the right amounts. Eating too many calories can cause teens to become overweight, which puts them at higher risk for getting type 2 diabetes Teens can lower their risk for the disease if they stay at a healthy weight by being active and choosing the right amounts of healthy foods – including snacks.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult diabetes” but now more teens are getting type 2 diabetes, especially if they are overweight. Healthy snacking can be part of an overall eating plan. When your teen is making snacks, encourage him or her to use a small plate or bowl and to snack at the table instead of in front of the TV or computer. These habits help teens control portion size and take their time while eating so they don’t eat too much. Be active as a family by going on walks together and encourage your teen to join active youth recreation programs.

Help your teen choose healthy snacks using these smart ideas:

  1. Make a fruit pizza. Spread 2 tablespoons of nonfat cream cheese on a toasted English muffin. Top with 1/4 cup of sliced strawberries, handful of grapes, or 1/4 cup of any fruit canned in its own juice. Instead of fruit, you can also use broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for a veggie twist.
  2. Choose one small bag or handful of baked chips pretzels, or air-popped popcorn.
  3. Make a homemade fruit smoothie. Mix a 1/2 cup of frozen vanilla yogurt, a 1/2 cup of 100 percent orange juice, and one peeled orange in a blender then serve.
  4. Serve two rice cakes, six whole-grain crackers, or one slice of whole-grain bread with 2 tablespoons of low-fat cheese, fruit spread, hummus, or peanut butter.
  5. Choose an individual serving size of sugar-free, nonfat pudding instead of regular ice cream.
  6. Serve a small tortilla with one or two slices of low-fat cheese or turkey, or a small bowl of vegetable soup and a few crackers.
  7. Pour nonfat or low-fat milk over 1 cup of whole-grain cereal and add 1/4 cup of blueberries, strawberries, or peaches.
  8. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on a tortilla and then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of whole-grain cereal on top. Peel and place one banana on the tortilla and then roll the tortilla for a crunchy treat.
  9. Try an apple, banana, or plum with one or two reduced-fat or low-fat string cheese sticks.
  10. Mix 1/8 cup of almonds and 1/8 cup of dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins with 1/2 cup of whole-grain cereal for a fun trail mix.

More information about Tips for Teens: Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes is provided in the NIDDK health topic, Tips for Teens: Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

For more recipes, visit Fruits & Veggies—More Matters®. The amount of food teens need to eat each day varies with age, sex, height, and activity level. For more information, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.


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June 2013

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