How to Improve Your Teenager’s Eating Habits

Obesity is a rising problem among teenagers. More and more young people today are spending their time inside in front of the computer, a game console, or a television instead of playing outside. This combined with the increasing pressure of school and other activities causes a lot of teenagers to turn to quick, unhealthy snacks and fast foods instead of taking the time to eat solid meals. These bad habits often carry over into adulthood.

The stakes are high. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke are just a few of the medical complications associated with obesity. Plus, there’s the effect of obesity on your teen’s self-image and quality of life to consider. However, with a little bit of effort, bad eating habits can be broken now. Here are some tips to help you improve your teenager’s eating habits.

Talk to Your Teen

Any parent knows how stubborn teenagers can be, and getting one to improve his or her eating habits without being on board with the idea is going to be a losing battle. Addressing the subject takes a lot of tact, however. Your teen may really have no idea what a good eating pattern really is. Discussing healthy eating and how to achieve it will go a long way toward improving how your teen eats.

Make it a Family Project

Your teen might be more willing to go along with the idea if he or she doesn’t feel singled out as the only person in the family who needs to improve. It’s likely that everyone in your household would feel better and be healthier if they examined their eating routines, so make this something that the entire family can do together.

Get Your Teen Involved in the Cooking

Your teenager might be more likely to be engaged in healthy eating if you can spark his or her interest in cooking. Seeing what actually goes into a healthy meal can be instrumental in changing eating patterns. Plus, being able to tweak recipes and create meals that taste fantastic can really raise your teen’s involvement in what he or she is eating.

Identify Problem Areas

Most people tend to have certain behaviors that trigger poor eating. Watch your teen to find out when he or she tends to lapse into poor eating habits so that you can find alternatives or avoid the problem. For example, some people reach for an unhealthy snack when they are bored, or turn to foods packed with the quick energy found in simple carbohydrates like sugars when they are overly tired. Some splurge when they are stressed or depressed, and others mistake dehydration for hunger.

Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand

Snacking is actually a very healthy behavior, as long as it is done in moderation and with the right foods. To encourage your teenager to turn to healthy foods instead of junk, keep good snacks on hand. Ideas include washed baby carrots and cauliflower florets, trail mix made with low-sugar dried fruits and just a little bit of sweetness, and celery sticks filled with peanut butter and raisins.

By following these five easy steps, you can introduce your teenager to healthier eating, which will put him or her on the path to more energy, sharper wits, and a longer life.

Article provided courtesy of Only Cookware – a resource for cookware sets, stainless cookware and enamel cast iron cookware.

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  1. Wonderful post. You have shared some easy, doable tips that can help us as parents help our teens improve their eating habits. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I always try to keep healthy snacks on hand for my entire family. If possible, I try to keep them out on the counter in a bowl.

    Thanks for sharing your tips!

  3. Awesome, awesome post!! I think I should do a show about this very topic!! Thanks!!

  4. I think the one about stocking healthy snacks is probably the most important. Kids tend to eat what’s put in front of them, and they eat what we buy. If there’s no junk in the house, they eat what IS in there. :) And it’s up to us to bake and make healthier treats too.
    Great post.

  5. casual friday everyday says:

    I bet it has to do with how your raise them as kids, too. Instilling that in them young.

    Great tips…I don’t have a teen, but all too soon I will.

  6. Thank for the great post!

  7. Thanks for this post! Making healthy eating a family project can address many issues with one task. We had a water challenge in our home where we set goals as to how much water we would drink each week. Everyone could pick the size cup they wanted (bathroom cup size to guzzlers). I also kept a cooler of ice cold water where they could dispense water whenever they wanted. It was a hit and I am so proud that they ASK for water now or don’t show any negativity to it being placed in front of them.

    The only other big thing I do now has to do with prevention. I no longer use food as a reward or incentive to do something. This will be a little harder to get others (teachers, doctors, well meaning church members, etc.) to help me with but it’s a good start.

  8. The Charmed Life Online says:

    What an important topic! Even though my children are young, these tips are really useful. You have given me ideas to start trying with my kids right now!

  9. Diana Walker says:

    Oh, Wendy — you have a wonderful article here — this is such an important subject, and I know it’s a hard job to be a Mom, and make sure your children grow up healthy in this junk food world!
    I like the way you have it broken down into steps.
    Diana Walker

  10. I’ll even pay a bit extra to get a veggie platter with dip. It all comes so neatly packaged and for 9-12 bucks I can get a smaller one or a big one for 12, I usually get the bigger one. And the kids love it! I often sit it on our kitchen island so they can snack before and after dinner.