One of my goals is to bring the healthy concept everywhere I go. My family is already committed to live healthy. I don't buy any soft drinks, no 100 cal snacks (lots of artificial flavors and hidden sugar), I encourage my children to learn about nutrition, among other things.
I am aware how hard my battle is. Especially when it comes to school lunch. Have you reviewed what our children are getting for lunch? Although there are meal programs that address this issue, I believe there is still a lot to be done.
When it comes to teenagers, the problem is even worse. Their eating habits increase their craving for more sugary foods, to a point that they keep eating like there's no tomorrow. There is no consideration of how many calories; not to mention about how they're dividing the intake between carbs, proteins and fat. From what I have seen they eat lots of empty calories.
Encouraging our kids to acquire healthy habits from the time they are young will prevent lots of medical issues, as we all know.
I started to explore different options to spread the message of health to the teenagers, in a friendly way; rather than just merely saying: eat vegetables. Any ideas?
I am not a parent, but have a brother 8 years younger than me who is almost 20 so I watched him grow up and go through some crazy eating patterns. I led by example- he would see me eat muesli and Greek yogurt, and is now a huge fan. He tasted the homemade low-fat banana bread I made and now regularly makes his own (which he loads up with peanut butter!). Teenagers eat a LOT because they are growing and active- keeping healthy snacks on hand and making things interesting is key. My brother would never choose to grab carrot sticks for a snack, but when I made homemade parsnip chips and guacamole, he loved them. He didn't like things that were stereotypical "diet" or "healthy", but when he was left to find his own way, he gradually grew tired of junky foods and instead snacked on things like scrambled eggs, milkshakes made with milk, banana and peanut butter... Now, he is vegetarian, makes his own tofu and soy milk, and won't go near processed foods unless there is nothing else to eat!
I think all you can do is present healthy choices and open their eyes to new twists on things they might not otherwise eat- my brother's fridge always has homemade baked felafel in it which he snacks on when he gets home from school :) He always says (the same that I say) that being shown by example rather than pushed into a way of eating let him find a right balance for his body.