'The Green Teen Cookbook' teaches teens how to make healthy, budget-conscious meals


"The Green Teen Cookbook," edited by Laurane Marchive and Pam McElroy, is a book intended to help guide teens in the kitchen to create tasty, healthy, eco-friendly and budget-conscious meals. The book contains more than 70 recipes, a seasonal key to help ensure optimal freshness and minimize one's carbon footprint, and tips on how to go green. It also helps you get the most out of your pantry.

Chapter One is a "Rough Guide" that includes information on how to eat healthfully; how to eat seasonally; how to eat locally; eating organic; and more. Healthful eating includes getting enough vitamins and minerals (the authors advise starting with deep green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale) and eating superfoods (the authors mention maca and spirulina to start). The book tells where you can find more information on superfoods.

The authors say that eating seasonally not only tastes better but is better for you, because fruit and vegetables lose about half of their nutrients as well as a lot of their flavor during the first 24 hours after they're harvested. Because it doesn't take a lot of work to get the food to the market, local produce tends to be cheaper.

The pros and cons of eating organic are explored as well. Organic food is not only more expensive, but it contains no preservatives, and so it spoils if it's not used quickly. There is a controversy as to whether there are any health or nutritional benefits. However organic food is supposed to be better for the environment and better for the animals who are farmed as well.

There are also advantages to vegetarianism: a vegetarian diet isn't as likely to result in diabetes, obesity, heart problems or colon cancer as one that includes meat. Vegetarians also tend to have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than meat eaters.

However this book isn't just about eating healthfully; it's about enjoying what you eat. The recipes included are a testimony to that. There's a chocolate spread that combines hazelnuts, dark and milk chocolate, milk, honey and salt; you can make your own peanut butter out of peanuts, peanut oil and salt or sugar. And alongside staples like granola and energy bars, you'll find a squash salad, flour prawn soup and chicken noodle soup with cheese muffins.

You can purchase the cookbook on Amazon starting at $7.72.