Between changes going on in their bodies and hectic school days, teenagers have a lot going on. That's why it's so important that they eat well.
Some teenagers find healthy eating easier than others. However, there many teens that will pick the wrong type of foods to tackle their cravings.
As parents, it is important that we teach our children to eat well. Nutritious food gives them energy and nutrients to support their growth and development which is vital.
Here are some tips on encouraging your teenager to eat well:
Encourage healthy eating habits by being a good food role model as if you or anyone in your family is eating unhealthily on a long-term basis this won’t teach your teenager well.
Encourage all the family to eat a healthy breakfast and everyone should follow suit. Start the day with porridge, cereal and fruit or smoothies.
Talk to your teenager about food and how it helps with their energy levels etc so they understand why they shouldn’t eat lots of unhealthy foods such as crisps or chocolate bars.
As children grow into teenagers it is harder to manage their eating habits, especially if you give them money to buy their lunch. You may not be able to watch what they eat and therefore, you need them to understand the importance of healthy eating.
One main tip is to send them to school with a healthy lunch instead of letting them opt to choose their own. Of course, you could give them a few euro to pick up a snack, but you can manage what they eat by offering a full and healthy lunch every day.
A good school lunch should consist of fruit, vegetables, healthy snacks (savoury muffins, granola, rice cakes and crackers) and smoothies.
After school, your teenager needs to eat well with a healthy dinner and again, this works for the whole family. Make dinners that have everything they need and serve them with plenty of vegetables or a side salad.
If your teenager is studying after school, they’ll need some extra food to keep them going. As they won’t be eating dinner till later, they’ll need to keep their energy levels up. Make sure your teen has a healthy granola bar, fruit, muffin or scone. This will give them the fuel they need to work on for another few hours.
Don’t forget, teenagers should avoid fizzy drinks and drink water instead, as well as milk, juice or smoothies at other times during the day.
To stop the temptation of unhealthy eating, ban those types of foods at home unless it is the weekend or a special occasion. If they aren’t there, no one can eat them and therefore you are cutting out the risk of unhealthy foods finding their way into your teenagers’ diet.
Keep healthy food options at home with lots of fruits, chopped vegetables and dips as well as brown bread and wholegrain crackers. Once again, reiterate the importance of healthy eating and how it helps their mental health, physical health and well-being and talk about the risks that unhealthy eating causes like diabetes, heart disease or sleep problems.