Healthy Eating for Teens

Reinforce healthy eating for teens

Teenagers are more likely to reach for a bag of chips than a fresh fruit or vegetable, but don’t give up and trying to promote healthy habits in your teen. By teaching and modeling healthy eating for teens you can help your teen make healthy choices and have good nutrition.

Be a Role Model for Good Nutrition

Rather than nagging your teen about how and what to eat, model the ideal healthy eating for teens yourself. Engage your teen by building a shopping list together and talking about the different nutritional values of foods while at the grocery store.

Don’t Give in to Junk Food Requests

Let’s face it, your teen is surrounded by friends and classmates whose parents may not place as high an emphasis on eating and living healthily. Additionally, magazine ads and TV and radio commercials feature sports drinks, candy and prepackaged foods – all of which are loaded with sugar, artificial coloring and chemicals that rob teenage bones of calcium. Through open dialog with your teens and finding foods that taste good, are easy to prepare, and have a high nutritional value, you can start to encourage healthy eating for teens and sway them away from those nutrient-poor alternatives.

Think Like A TeenTeen Nutrition

When you were an adolescent, what did you think about? Most likely your appearance was one nagging concern. If you position nutrient-rich and calcium rich foods as a way for your teen to grow taller or have healthier skin, they may be more apt to listen. Keep your conversations relevant to your own teen’s concerns and be specific. Like less acne! Make sure you understand how nutrients can affect their specific concerns prior to engaging in the discussion.

Eat More Key Nutrients

This includes Iron, Protein, Zinc and Calcium. As males begin to grow more muscles and girls begin menstruation, they need more iron, Males will also need more protein. Adolescent males and females also should have more zinc as they go through puberty. Healthy eating for teens must include more calcium for males and females.

Increase Your Vitamins

As your teen grows from preteen to adolescent, find ways to increase their vitamin intake. If adding the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals is not achievable through a healthy diet, be sure to have a multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement alternative.

Eat Smart Fats

Healthy eating for teens needs to include good fats that help with brain development. During adolescence, teens tend to lack essential fatty acids that help with brain growth and development, because they eat more saturated fatty foods and foods that contain hydrogenated fats, which can compete for space in the brain, displacing the healthier fats. Your teen may also not understand the difference between different types of fats and decide to cut it out of their diet all together. To overcome this, serve foods like fish for dinner and cut down on fries.

Promote a Healthy Body Image

Teen magazines consistently promote images of models and celebrities with “perfect” bodies. Your teen may learn to see these images, many of which have been air brushed to look “perfect” , as who he or she should strive to be. As a parent, you should teach your teen about beauty and the media’s unrealistic perception of “perfection.”

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