Your teenager is so busy that eating meals take a back seat. In and out-grab and go is often the name of their game. This can lead to making poor choices of food to eat. At this time in their life, your teen is very busy socializing with friends, school, practicing for the sport after school, or involved with some extracurricular activity. You also need to remember your teenager is dealing with peer pressure that can interfere with good choices. Being cool outweighs being healthy. However, having and finding the right approach will produce the best solution.
Here are some tips to help you make your teen eat better.
Everything Starts at Home
What you prepare at home is what your teen eats. Preparation is the key to good nutrition. Parents and teenagers are so busy that convenience is often substituted for preparation. As much as convenience saves time and aggravation, it usually is not the best choice. Ordering food, eating out, or serving pre-prepared frozen meals are not so healthy. Don’t become a slave to convenience. Make time in your schedule to cook meals. Preparation seems so small of detail that it is the catalyst to be healthy. So, be a role model. Make your health a priority and learn to prepare meals, and show your teen the value.
If you make it, they will eat. If you think your athlete won’t, they will because they are hungry. Breakfast and dinner are the best ways to influence your teen. Stress the importance of the foods they eat. For example, prepare breakfast like eggs and toast or oatmeal and fruit. Show them how fast and easy they are to make and let them know how healthy these foods are. And, as for dinner, whatever you put on the table for dinner, you need not worry. It will be eaten. Your teenager is growing, and their hunger makes them gobble anything they can find. So, make it healthy!
Make Your Teens Lunch for School
The school menu many times is not the healthiest one. If you give your teen money to eat lunch at school, you have an extra step to get them to choose the right foods and eat well. Make their lunch for school instead of buying it. Making their lunch is another way you can control and influence your teenager to eat healthily. Peanut butter and jelly are an excellent option.
Keep Only Healthy Things at Home
Prepare meals and put them in the fridge. Let them know you prepared meals ready for them to eat. Preparing meals for a few days in advance will also help you save time! Also, keep healthy snacks around like, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, and fruit. This way, when they want to binge, they will have to binge on good snacks.
Give Them What They Want
Make and buy the foods your teenager likes. Just make sure you buy the healthy options of their food. If your teen likes sandwiches, then make them peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If your teen does not like that, then buy turkey or chicken instead of ham. Also, make sure the meat you buy is less processed and low in sodium. You can purchase real chicken breast and slice it thin to be on a sandwich with cheese. You can add some other extras as well; just not processed condiments like mayonnaise.
TLS- Teenagers Love Snacks
Yes, as parents, we can develop our own acronyms too! (LOL) Teenagers love simple things, which is probably why they love snacks, and snacks are great socializing foods. Teens are always running around the place to place, scared they are going to miss something fun. Therefore, you know how it is and how it works, and you need to use this wisdom to your advantage. If you keep healthy foods and snacks around, your teen will take it and go. Your teenager is probably not used to preparing foods for each meal just yet. So, they depend on you to feed them because you have the primary opportunity to influence them.
Create the Proper Messaging
Use the proper messaging when talking to your teenager. If you try to tell them that eating well will be good for their cardiovascular system, they will tilt their head and look at you like a confused dog. They will not relate to it. Instead, tell your teenager how much energy good food will give them and that the energy from healthy foods will last longer than unhealthy foods. If your teen is playing sports or doing extracurricular activities after school, try to influence them about how eating healthy will impact their creativity, motivation, and performance. Make your teen understand the value of good nutrition and healthy foods will affect their interest.
Repetition is key. If you keep giving them the right foods, they will understand what is good for them if you keep feeding them healthy dishes.
The main thing for parents to do is to relax and don’t stress out over it. Understand that they’re not going to eat all the time ideally. They are going to sneak in that junk food. And, it is perfectly ok for you to allow them to have some. The key is moderation and minimization. If you can control the food in the house, make their breakfast, lunch for school, and sit down for dinner, you can consider that success!