Want to introduce healthy eating to your teenager? Because of a newfound sense of independence, a developing personality, and new experiences at school and among friends, getting to know your teen can prove to be a challenging task, and getting them to eat the right foods can be even harder.
We're here to help! Understanding their mindset and the environment in which they find themselves can help you better grasp their situation - and what it might take to get them to eat right!
As of 2015…
- Teens are spending as much money on food as they are on clothing.
- Starbucks remains the number one choice among teens for food and drink spending.
- Teens are spending more time on the computer for non-homework activities and it has exceeded TV watching as a sedentary activity. Encourage your child to participate in activities away from the screen, big or small.
- Engage your teen to try new foods and increase the chances of them liking new things. Individuals consumed 20 percent less food and achieved satisfaction quicker when they consumed something they liked.
- One in 5 children in the U.S. have abnormal cholesterol levels. Consuming more fruits, vegetables and high-fiber foods like oats, barley and beans through snacks and smoothies can lower their levels.
- Many beverages like energy drinks, blended coffee and some enhanced waters contain caffeine that can increase agitation, anxiety, poor sleep and increase heart rate and blood pressure. Limit caffeine intake to 1.25mg of caffeine per pound of body weight (for example, 144mg of caffeine for 115 pound teen).
- Watch out for your teens if they are focused on dieting. Those who diet during their teen years are more likely to do it into adulthood and experience more body dissatisfaction, depression and nutrition deficiencies.
Most importantly, set a good example. If you enjoy healthy foods at home, your teen is more likely to accept new flavors and enjoy those foods with you. Not having certain packaged foods in the house, things like chips, cookies and microwave breakfast pastries, can also help keep your kid from developing a dependence on sugar and its accompanying unhealthy habits.