Teen Diet: Promoting Healthy Eating without Being Too Extreme
Teen diet can be a difficult thing to discuss. You want to promote healthy eating, but you also understand that teen issues with body image and self-esteem can be quite sensitive. You don’t want to come off like you’re criticizing your daughter or telling her that she needs to lose weight, but you want to promote teen health. What’s a parent to do?
1. Make Changes Slowly
If your family has never had healthy eating habits, and you’re interested in changing that now, it’s wise to implement those changes over time instead of all at once. Most people tend to rebel against change, and since teens tend to rebel against everything, going from eating pizza and fast food multiple times a week to a strict diet is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, try slowly adding new healthy dishes to the dinner rotation. The change won’t be as shocking, and you’ll have time to experiment with new dishes to see what your family likes best. When you find something healthy that they enjoy, give that dish a permanent spot in the rotation, and then move on to try something else.
2. Make it Tasty
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be unpleasant! If your teens have never really indulged in fresh fruits and vegetables, they might be under the impression that these foods don’t taste good. Teen issues with picky eating are common, but you can counter that by creating nutritious meals that don’t lack flavor. If you need ideas, the internet is full of recipes. The Pinterest app might be a good place to start.
3. Don’t Ban Treats
Teen health is about balance. Your kids shouldn’t have to give up all their favorite junk foods. They just need to learn that these foods need to be consumed in moderation. Banning all junk food forever is too extreme, and it sets teens up for eating disorders by promoting this extreme way of thinking. Instead, allow your teens to pick out their favorite junk foods one or two times each week, and allow yourself a break by enjoying a meal out at a restaurant once in a while.