If you have teenagers, you know how difficult it can be to get them to eat properly. Most teens today have busy schedules with many interests competing for their time. You can plan healthy meals for them, but what about the in-between times when they're craving a snack?

The solution is to provide teens with a kitchen full of healthy, convenient snack choices. If it's easiest to grab a bag of chips on the way out the door, that's what they'll do. By making healthy foods more accessible, you can encourage them to change their habits.

Replace the cans of pop in your refrigerator with individual bottles of milk, drinkable yogurt, small cans of vegetable juice, or flavoured sugar-free water. Take time at the beginning of the week to wash grapes, cut up a melon, and prepare raw vegetables. Distribute these into easy to grab containers or bags. Purchase string cheese or cut up cubes of cheese in advance to eat with whole grain crackers. Individual yogurt cups provide nutrition and calcium, a nutrient especially important for teenage girls. Try making your own trail mix with granola, dried cranberries, and nuts.

If your teen loves potato chips, baked pretzels with mustard are a great alternative. Sunflower or pumpkin seeds and nuts can provide quick protein boosts. If you have a little more time to make up snacks, try English muffin pizzas, fruit and yogurt smoothies, instant oatmeal with milk, or toast with peanut butter and bananas.

Marlene Veloso