Teens may be the most difficult ones to convince to choose healthy meals and snacks. When they were babies they were more open to discovery and tasting a variety of foods. However the healthy habits don’t always remain and you will notice your teen reaching for more junk foods.
It is very important to encourage your teen to choose healthier foods, not only because it is better for them but because this is where the larger growth spurt occurs. The vitamins and minerals needed during this crucial time will only be found in healthy food choices, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
One way that you can encourage your teen to eat more healthy meals is getting them involved in the cooking. It’s amazing to watch their creativity flourish when they are involved in the food preparation and this will not only be preparing them for adulthood but helping them make wiser food choices. Of course eating as a family is another wise choice. When put in a situation where the entire family is eating the same meal, full of vitamins and minerals, they will not have much choice but to participate. Family meals are great way to bond and connect with your children after a long day and this is also essential to their over all well being.
Another suggestion that may seem obvious but is quickly thrown to the side is simply having only healthy foods and snacks available in the home. Having plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grain snacks will keep them from reaching for the sugary and calorie ridden foods. Not bringing the junk food into your home will mean they don’t have much of a choice when they’re hungry, so they’ll have to get the stuff that’s better for them. Quite honestly this is something that we should all adapt into our lives. As the adults we are the ones that determine the menu as well as the grocery shopping. Training ourselves to stay away from the sugary snacks will not only help our children but will help the entire family as a whole.
Which leads me to your role as the good role model. If your teen sees you making a conscious effort to eat healthier foods, it will encourage them to do the same. If all they see is you eating chips, brownies and ice cream, they will be less likely to eat healthy foods.
The teen years will see your children grow toward adulthood and independence. If you’ve encouraged your teen to eat healthy foods while they’re at home with you, they’ll be more likely to continue eating well when they move out of your home.