electronic Gourmet Guide


Teens' Winning Recipes

Also, don't miss this article: Ten Recipes for Teens.


When it comes to preparing family dinners, teens often lend a hand. In a survey conducted for the second annual National Eat Dinner Together Week (Sept. 28—Oct. 4, 1997), the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) found that:

  • 72% of teens say they take part in meal preparation at least once a week
  • 36% shop for groceries
  • 31% prepare side dishes
  • 20% prepare the main dish
  • 17% prepare full meals

What can you do to get your teens more involved in family cooking? The NPPC and the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBHF) offer these tips:

  • Sharpen Shopping Skills—Most teens love to spend money so put their shopping skills to work at the grocery store. Ask them to make a shopping list for dinner within a budget you determine. Shopping for food for the family gives teens a sense of responsibility and teaches them about budgeting.
  • Start with The Basics—Get your teen excited about cooking by teaching them a few basic recipes, like pork chops, and letting them experiment with simple seasonings, such as marinades, spice rubs or fruit toppings.
  • Let Your Teen Be Head Chef—Choose an evening when your teen will be the boss for the night. Ask them to plan the entire menu, do the shopping, delegate the different dinnertime tasks and prepare the main dish. They won't be able to resist a chance to tell mom and dad what to do.
  • Help Your Teen Mature To Healthier Tastes—Eating healthy is very important to many teens these days. You can take advantage of this focus on nutrition by helping them create healthy and balanced meals that combine various food groups, such as pairing pork with different fruits and vegetables.
  • Food That's Fast Isn't Just Fast Food—Teach your teen different quick and easy recipes to prepare on those days when time is limited but you still want to eat dinner as a family. For instance, have them combine pork strips and frozen vegetables for a quick stir fry, or serve fresh fruit as an easy side dish or dessert. These are great alternatives to carry-out pizza or fast-food burgers.
  • Expand Your Family—Let your teen invite a friend over for dinner and have the two of them put together a meal for your family. Teens enjoy doing things with their friends, and they'll be excited to show-off their talents in the kitchen.

How well can teens cook? See for yourself with these winners of the Teen Taste Recipe Contest, sponsored by the NPPC and the PBHF. The contest asked teens to create recipes using lean pork, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Winning Recipes by Teenagers

On cookingwithkids.com: Ten Recipes for Teens.

Back to School Handbook

This is an edited and updated archive of pages originally published in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

Modified August 2007

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