Preparing Your Teen for College: Recipes for Success

Preparing for college can be a stressful time for teens and parents. For many teens, it will be the first time living away from home. No matter where your teen goes for higher education, near or far, now is the perfect time to start preparing for their journey. Full Sail Labs is here to help by providing articles that pertain to your teen’s transition into adulthood.

You’ve probably heard the saying: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But what about those other meals? While hamburgers and pizza may sound awesome seven nights a week, this can be costly and unhealthy. Nutritious meals can lead to better overall health and well-being.

Full Sail Labs Learning Manager, Michelle Gaudette, started preparing her children to cook from an early age. Her process includes the following steps:

  • Kitchen Helpers - Children collect, add, and stir ingredients. If capable they can chop vegetables, too.
  • Sous Chefs - Children complete the entire cooking process, through direct supervision of a parent.
  • The Sunday Chef - Children are given more responsibility to find a recipe, determine what ingredients are available, and make a list for what is needed. After the parent purchases the missing ingredients, the child preps, cooks, and serves the meal on their own. Of course, the parents are still available to help answer any questions or provide guidance, if needed.

What does this do for everyone involved?

  • For the child/teen: This process provides a playground of creative-thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, and growth. They get full control over something, which boosts confidence. They get to flex their "acts of service" muscles, learning and seeing the real benefits of working hard to prepare an engaging and meaningful experience for others.
  • For the parent: This provides a day off of having to prepare the family meal, it allows parents to witness the incredible discovery and growth of their children, and it provides evidence that some day when those babies are grown and on their own they will actually be able to feed themselves! Not to mention: how cool it is to see your child demonstrate a bit of altruism as they work to provide for others?

Here are a few healthy and quick recipes teens can follow:

  • Spaghetti with Meat Sauce: A popular family favorite that any teen can enjoy! Perfect with a side of broccoli or a house salad with Italian dressing.
  • Cheesy Chicken and Yellow Rice: This recipe adds green pepper and tomato to the classic mix.
  • Tuna Casserole: Add some peas and carrots for a good healthy option. Goes great with a green salad, too!
  • Honey Mustard Pork: A delicious and savory take on the other white meat. This recipe includes preparation for spinach and smashed white beans.
  • Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup: Wonderful for any night, warm or cool. Mmmmm, cheesy!
  • Vegetarian Chili: Who says chili has to be made with meat? This is a good alternative that anyone can appreciate.

The best time to discuss food prep and safety is while your child is still living at home. After all, once they are grown and out of the house, you should be able to enjoy your newfound time with peace-of-mind!

It is our goal as parents to prepare our children to live successfully on their own some day, and being able to cook healthy, well-rounded meals for oneself is essential to that success. - Michelle Gaudette

We hope the recipes above help get your teen started and excited about cooking. While this is a major point to discuss with your teen, food is just one of the many things that will change when they begin their college journey. Check back monthly for new topics on the series - Preparing Your Teen for College.

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