You Are What You Eat: The Importance of Teen Nutrition
Most parents realize that getting teens to eat right can be a challenge. Here are some tips to make it easier:
Let your teen help with preparing meals. Use these times to talk about the importance of a well balanced diet made up of a variety of foods.
- Eliminate junk food from your home. Instead of keeping ice cream or soda on hand, make having it a special treat. The same is true of candy and high fat foods such as chips and dips.
- Encourage your teen to get enough calcium by having him start each day with a big glass of milk.
- Or make a breakfast smoothie of yogurt blended with frozen fruit that they can drink on the way to school.
- If your teen takes his lunch to school throw a few extra slices of lean meat on some whole grain bread for a healthier sandwich.
- Keep bowls of nuts around the house for a quick and healthy snack.
- If your teen is a vegetarian and you are not familiar with that lifestyle, take time to find out more about non-meat sources of protein.
- Set up a small salad bar for every meal. Take time on the weekend to wash and chop a variety of vegetables and store them in the fridge in sealed plastic containers. Then pull them out each meal and encourage your teen to make a salad with the ingredients he likes best. Make sure he has his favorite dressing, too.
- In addition to the salad bar, serve another vegetable at every meal.
- Keep bowls of washed fruit available for an on-the go snack.
- Encourage your teen to enjoy healthy snacks such as whole grain cereal, popcorn, baby carrots, apples, etc.
- When possible, buy fruits and vegetables fresh and in season. Not only will they likely be healthier, they will also be less expensive.