Between media messages (including social media) and commercials that distort ideas of acceptable body images, glorify junk food and fast food and hype crazy fad diets that are all too accessible for impressionable teens, it’s vital for parents to take extra steps to ensure their teen maintains healthy eating habits that can make it easy to maintain a healthy weight and good health for life. The following are some important steps to healthy eating for teens.
1. Breakfast is a Must
Many teens skip breakfast, but it’s not a good idea because breakfast helps teens (and everyone else in the household for that matter), with doing well in school through its impact on brain function, concentration and energy, and it helps with maintaining a healthy weight.
An ideal healthy breakfast includes high quality protein like smoothies with whey protein, eggs (more egg white in proportion to whole eggs to balance cholesterol if they have them frequently) which can be made to go in a whole wheat pita, tortilla or English Muffin, turkey bacon (nitrate free if possible) or a quality energy bar like Quest Nutrition bars made from whey protein.
2. A Clean Plate is Not Always a Good Thing
Many of the weight loss coaching clients I work with today who struggle with weight issues can trace the messages of “clean your plate” drilled into them as a child, and often with the addition of “don’t you know there are children starving in the world” to magnify the guilt of leaving the table without finishing everything. While you want your kids to have sufficient nutrition, it’s really beneficial to help them develop the good habit of using their own body cues to tell them when they have had enough food.
3. Don’t Stigmatize Food
Don’t tell your teens that a food is “bad” or “good.” All food is fuel, of course some fuel is a better choice than others, and what we have is simply a matter of choice. You want to refer to foods in a context like “everyday” or “always” instead of “good,” and “sometimes” or “every now and then” foods instead of “bad.”
This is another common thing I have to work on with my coaching clients who have weight challenges that’s been ingrained since they were very little who often refer to themselves as “being bad” or “being good” when they consume certain foods. When a food is dubbed as “bad” teens can end up with guilty feelings about it which could lead to eating disorders. It also can become more desirable as something forbidden or rebellious and can foster cravings that lead to overindulgence or even bingeing that would not be the case if the food was not given special status.
Healthy Lombard Partner and Certified Health and Wellness Coach Melanie Jordan specializes in helping others get back to their dream weight for good without gimmicks or deprivation. Weight Loss Coach Melanie really “gets” those who are challenged with losing and maintaining their weight as she has successfully overcome her own weight struggles and kept off 48 pounds. Melanie is also an ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor and Silver Sneakers FLEX Instructor specializing in Senior Fitness (Zumba Gold® Licensed, Ageless Grace® Certified Educator and Silver Sneakers® Classic Exercise and Circuit Training Certified).
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