Nutrition For Teens, How To Promote Healthy Eating For Active Teens
In American culture today everything is face paced including mealtimes. Teens begin their day by grabbing pre-cooked, pre-packaged snacks that are full of empty calories. At lunch they choke down the treats packed in their lunch or grab cookies in the lunch line. By the time dinner comes around they are scrambling to get something fast before sports practice, homework, or social events, or work. Teens today are constantly on the move and rarely making healthy decisions to support their busy lifestyle.
Helping your teen begin to eat healthy will take a little planning and deliberate action. If your child expresses a desire to eat or live a healthier lifestyle it is our responsibility as parents to help them. After all we are the biggest influence in their lives outside of their friends. In order to help our teen make wise nutrition decisions we need to begin by being good examples. Your teen has the same 24 hours in a day that we do and their responsibilities can be just as if not more demanding than ours at times. Not only are they supporting a rigorous schedule but they are still growing and have substantial nutritional needs.
Start the day by providing healthy options. Make a grocery list ahead of time and plan what will be available each day for meals. If necessary cook meals and freeze them on the weekends. Eggs can be hard boiled the night before and eaten with toast in the morning. It is highly recommended that you sit down with your teen/s and eat breakfast with them. At the very minimum provide them with healthy options. Have healthy foods available and do not bring prepackaged toaster pastries or other empty calorie foods into the house.
When discussing nutrition for teen with your child it is important to stress the importance of a healthy diet for their growing bodies and brains. They need protein in order to be able to think clearly and develop healthy brain function. This helps with concentration and sustained energy throughout a teen’s busy lifestyle.
Getting plenty of rest is vital for teens. This is the time that the body begins to repair itself from the stresses of the day. Without a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a teen barely has enough energy to make it through the morning. Many health problems are associated with lack of proper rest. Lack of sleep can contribute to higher instances of illness and can be detrimental to the mental health of our already over-loaded teens.
Nutrition for teens is a concern for everyone. After all, they will be our future leaders. Leaving a legacy of healthy living is a gift that will benefit not only the next generation but the many generations to come.