February 29, 2020 2 min to read
How to discuss the importance of healthy eating with teens
Talking to kids about nutrition is pretty easy when they’re younger. They might not readily eat the peas you put on their plate, but you have much more control over what they eat. So, you at least know vegetables make it onto their plate.
But as your children grow, you will have less control over what they eat. And that’s a good thing! They must learn how to find healthy, filling foods before they have to live completely independent of their parents.
Knowing this fact, however, doesn’t make the task any easier. Most teenagers have heard the speeches about avoiding excess weight gain or extreme weight loss, as well as avoiding unhealthy food.
But few of these speeches actually address teenagers’ concerns or their growing need for independence.
Touching on these issues when you talk to your teen increases the chances that they’ll listen and that they’ll act on what you’ve said.
Here are a few tips for discussing the importance of healthy eating with teenagers:
1. Don’t Make It About Weight
The first snag most parents hit is that they focus on how unhealthy eating habits can lead to weight gain. Most teenagers are already insecure about their bodies.
And, for some, weight gain is going to happen even if they eat healthy and exercise regularly. Each human body is built differently.
So putting an emphasis on weight builds a sense of shame into healthy versus unhealthy foods. This, over time, damages your child’s overall relationship with food.
That’s a surefire way to create negative eating habits throughout their lifetime. These habits might be as small as liking chocolate too much or as aggressive as an eating disorder.
Instead of their weight, focus on the health benefits of a balanced diet. Zero in on the energy boost they’ll feel, the stomach troubles they’ll avoid, and the decreased risk of diseases later in life.
All of these are reasons that won’t shame your teenager, while still emphasizing a need for good nutrition.
2. Emphasize Your Teen’s Independence
Teenagers, as a general rule, crave independence. They might not want to move out and pay their own bills – and who can blame them – but they do want to figure things out on their own.
It can be hard for parents to step back and let this happen. If not you, then at least one of your friends certainly had parents who refused to let their kids find that independence they so craved.
You might have even known people whose parents took it as an affront when their children wanted to exert their own will or make their own decisions in even…
Continue reading the article and learn more about healthy eating on Life Is An Episode website.