Mix the ingredients for a healthy lifestyle

Julie Phillips, Staff Writer

With school, sports, homework and everything else, teens hardly have the time to cook their own meals- let alone worry about eating healthy. However, cooking doesn’t need to be time consuming, and it can help keep the pounds off and keep the change in your purse.

“I hate cooking! It takes forever and I usually end up making my kitchen smell bad,” Junior Tate Chu said.

Chu’s not alone. A large majority of teens view cooking as a hassle and would much rather eat out or have their parents cook for them.

“Why would I cook when In N Out is right down the street?” Freshman Tyler McKinley said.

In N Out. Rubio’s. Cessy’s. They’re faster and more convenient- they’re also more expensive and not the greatest for your health.

What teens don’t know is that cooking doesn’t need to be time consuming and it doesn’t need to be hard. There are so many easy recipes that take no more than five minutes and can save you from spending the last of your allowance on an Alejandro’s burrito.

“I make stir fry a lot, which is really easy,” Senior Alynia Phillips said. “You just warm up a pan and throw in some noodles and vegetables.”

Stir-Fry is a perfect example of an easy meal to make. Even the most cooking-challenged teens can warm up a pan and saute some vegetables without burning the house down. Well, most teens anyway.

If stir-fry isn’t your thing, try making a pita wrap or a grilled cheese sandwich. They’re half the calories of a burrito and tastes just as good.

“I don’t really cook or eat out. My mom just kind of cooks for me,” Senior Justin Collins said.

It’s the excuse many teens give. Why should I bother cooking when someone else willingly does it for me? The answer is plain and simple: the day will come when you graduate and suddenly you wish you had learned the proper way to make scrambled eggs or boil noodles.

“After I moved out I had no idea how to cook,” Graduate Cassie Conelly said. “ I had no money to eat out, so I taught myself how to make really simple meals, like soup, pasta, stir-fried rice and salads. It’s made me a lot healthier!”

Cooking doesn’t need to be a foreign language. Start with something simple, like a fruit smoothie, pancakes or quesadillas and build your way up. Preparing your own meals will make you healthier and richer in the long run.

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Recipes from Teenrecipes.com

Pita wraps
Ingredients:
1 wholemeal lavash bread
1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 carrot, grated
1 lettuce leaf
1/4 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
3 semi-dried tomatoes, optional

Method:
1. Spread lavash bread evenly with cream cheese. Sprinkle with grated carrot, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.
2. Roll up and cut in half.

Punky pizzas
Ingredients:
4 wholemeal pita breads
4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
220 g can of pineapple pieces in natural juice, drained
1 banana, sliced
1 cup low-fat cheese, shredded
handful of spinach
4 slices shaved chicken breast

Method:
1. Preheat oven to hot (220˚C or 200˚C for fan forced).
2. Spread each pocket with 1 tablespoon of barbecue sauce.
3. Place pocket breads onto oven tray. Top with spinach leaves, shaved chicken, pineapple pieces, banana pieces and grated cheese.
4. Cook uncovered for about 12 minutes or until cheese melts and is browned lightly.

Jaffles
Ingredients: 2 slices wholemeal bread
1 slice reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons baked beans
canola oil spray

Method:
1. Lightly spray one side of the bread with cooking spray, on the underside, put cheese and baked beans, top with another slice of bread.
2. Cook in sandwich press until golden.

Grapefruit – hot-honeyed
Ingredients:
1 grapefruit, halved
2 teaspoons honey

Method:
1. Cut grapefruit in half crossway and drizzle with mild flavored honey.
2. Cook under a hot grill until heated through and juicy, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir-fry
Ingredients:
olive or canola oil spray
3 cups chopped vegetables, (carrot, celery, capsicum, zucchini, snow peas)
1 noodles
2 tablespoons reduced salt soy sauce

Method:
1. Spray a non-stick wok or fry pan with oil and heat.
2. Stir-fry chopped vegetables for 3 to 5 minutes until cooked but still crisp.
3. Add noodles
4. Stir in soy sauce

Fruit Smoothie
1.One-two cups orange juice
2.three tablespoons frozen lemonade
3. strawberries-as many as you want!

Blend!