It's the new year and everyone is thinking about a healthy lifestyle. Turning over a new leaf, losing weight, eating right and exercising. If your teen seems to be making the wrong choices in their diet, the new year is a good time to offer a different way of thinking and eating.
As teens become more independent in their food choices, they tend to
make the wrong choices - even teens who were brought up eating healthy. Here are the four worst food habits teens have and what you can do about them:
Skipping breakfast is the leading bad food habit for teenagers. According
to the American Dietetic Association, more than half of male teens and
more than two-thirds of female teens do not eat breakfast on a regular
basis. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast
can upstart your teenâ€™s metabolism, which helps with weight control,
mood and school performance.
You can ensure that your teen eats a healthy breakfast by making the
foods readily accessible to him. Make it a part of your routine to put
breakfast on the table and sit with your teen while you both enjoy a
healthy breakfast. Or, if time is a problem, go for the grab and eat on
the way breakfasts that are now on the market.
The next unhealthy food habit teens have is increased foods from 'other' food group. Think
of the food pyramid, the 'other' food group is the smallest smallest
section at the top with what is supposed to be the least amount of
servings. Teens tend to eat too much high fat and calorie snack foods
that are categorized in the 'other' food group.
You can help teens break this habit by having fruits and healthy snacks available more often then having high fat and calorie snacks
available. It is easier to grab a bag of chips at the grocery store
then picking up a bag of oranges and remembering to wash, quarter and
put them out on the table during snack time. But the benefits to your
teen's health are worth the effort.
Increased eating outside of the home is another bad food habit teens have.
Teens hit the fast food restaurants much more often then they did when
they were younger. This tends to be because of school, sports and work
schedules overlapping regular meal times.
To circumvent this bad habit, talk to your teen
about only eating fast food once a week. Then make dinner and healthy
food available to him when he has the time. This is as easy as fixing a
plate for him and allowing him to heat it up when he gets home from his
sports practice. Or having sandwich fixings ready when he gets home from
school and has to run off to work.
Last, but not least, in this list of bad food habits is soft drink consumption.
A study looking at American youths aged 6-17 found an increase in the
prevalence of soft drink consumption from 37% in 1978 to 56% in 1998.
You can help your teen choose a healthier drink by having fruit juice
and water available and not buying soda. Or try fruit flavored
carbonated water instead of soda. My teens really like these.
One common denominator for getting teens to eat healthier and avoid
these bad food habits is your active role in providing healthy foods.
When you get in the habit of making these foods more readily available
to your teen, you will see a change in their eating habits.(Teens. About.com)
Keeping food available and ready to go is the key to getting your teen to ear right Breakfast can be yogurt and fruit, in a paper cup as they run out the door. A corn tortilla with scrambled eggs and turkey sausage. Cheerios or another favorite whole grain cereal, with banana or strawberries, served to eat on the go. Smoothies are always a good option.
Snacks? Raw vegetables and low fat Ranch dressing or hummus. Fresh fruit, washed and ready to go. Popcorn.. Lean meats and whole wheat wraps, or cheese and whole wheat crackers. Fajitas, grilled out earlier and ready to heat up. A sweet potato, microwaved and served with a small pat of butter. Guacamole and a few baked tortilla chips.
Weight Watchers is a great resource for healthy eating and losing weight. Really, anything that works and encourage your teen is a great way to start. Happy New Year, and Happy New You. chrissie