To say teens eat and sleep a lot is an understatement. The most apparent reason is that teens experience a growth rate between ages 13 and 19 is exponentially more than any other time in their lives. This can lead to these drastic health changes.
Establishing healthy routines, like knowing when to put up the books or turn off the television are important to development through this stage. Many nutritionists will argue that a well balanced diet and lifestyle is essential to help curb the negative health changes: i.e. mood swings, significant loss or gain of weight. Providing healthy eating choices, including encouragement not to skip meals and eating healthy snacks are great starts to health routines in adulthood. Here are a few more tips to get your teens started on the road to health.
1. Educate on the healthy choices
This is not necessarily an obvious change, but simply providing them with healthy choices is not always going to solve the issues. In conjunction, provide your teens with the “why” fruits, veggies and healthy whole grains are important.
One word: fiber. This miracle substance keeps you “full and focused” as one brand likes to claim their product does. By eating more fibrous food, you can show your teen that feeling of hunger doesn’t need to dominate their choices. For more tips on how you can get your five fruits and vegetables, contact us to receive a log in and visit Reality Check at www.insearchofmecafe.com.
2. Teach them easy cooking techniques
Let’s face it, one day our teens will become adults and …dare we say it… have to live on their own. As much as we may be anxious about this thought, one great tool you can provide them for a life of healthy eating choices is teaching them simple (read: college dorm worthy) cooking techniques. One of the first and easiest is microwave-steaming veggies. Adding frozen veggies into a bowl with some seasoning (our favorite is garlic power) and water, covering it with a paper towel to avoid splattering, microwave the frozen veggies for 2 – 5 minutes for an easy side dish. Yes, this is slightly more work than a bag of chips, but practicing tips in #1 will help your teenager understand why veggies are a better idea. Want to know the five biggest mistakes made with food choices? Visit Reality Check at InSearchofMeCafe.com.
3. Family Activity Days
With technology taking over the living room, dining room and every other room in the house, it’s hard to unplug. Changing this in your family is as simple as creating family activity days regularly. Going to the local zoo, park or downtown shopping area gets you out of the house, moving and possibly even talking about your lives with family. If you partake in exercise routines, this can be another way to bring family together.
4. Review nutrition labels
An alarming amount of teens (and some adults) have admitted they have never looked at nutrition labels on the food they eat. While everyone has different views of what is good v.s. bad, having a basic understanding of the labels that are federally mandated to be on the food we consume is an important skill to teach children. This can also help them make healthier, pre-packaged choices. For a quick video tutorial on this skill, check out KidsHealth.org.
5. Recognize signs of eating disorders
While we never imagine it can happen to someone we know, eating disorders are an unfortunate commonality among teens. When you can recognize the signs of eating disorders, you can be more prepared to handle an issue before it becomes worse. According to WebMD, some of the signs of binge eating include consuming large amounts of food at one sitting at least two days a week for six months. Approximately 4 million people in America experience binge eating at some point in their lives.
We never want to think that our teens have issues with nutrition, but having a prepared mindset put you in a position to prevent issues from appearing. If you ever have concerns about your teens health, consult your doctors or health care provider. We certainly hope these tips are helpful to you and your families. If there are any topics you would like to learn more about, please contact us. For a safe and secure environment for your teens to express their own thoughts on the subject, provide and receive support from their peers, visit www.insearchofmecafe.com.