According to the CDC, teens generally have little variety in their diets
, eat high amounts of fat and tend to take in fewer nutrient-dense foods. Also, fruit and vegetable consumption is lagging among teens. What tips and tricks do you employ in your home to get your teen to eat healthier?
Stick with What They Like
- Find what your kids like, even if it's only a few things -- for example, my daughter loves smoothies, will eat certain veggies (artichokes, asparagus, broccoli) and loves Greek salad, so those are what we have.
Quick yogurt/fruit smothies
- My kids won't drink milk. Fatfree plain yogurt, frozen mixed berries or whatever fruit you prefer (if fresh, add a few ice cubes) one or two bananas. A couple of minutes in the blender and you have a quick breakfast or healthy snack that fills them up.
- —Guest Mari
Getting your teen to eat healthy
- Wonderful idea is to engage them in the every day activities, such as shopping, preparing meals and snacks and excercising with them. This way you will be prparing them with life skills. I do this with my 16 year old and it is working beaitifully.
Careful with the Too Perfect Diet
- It looks crucial not to make a big deal about what to eat so that teens do not become stubborn about eating the foods we least want them to eat. If once in a while - once a month- they get to eat what they insist on having despite the unhealthiness of it, we can manage for them to eat the right foods most of the time.
- As a teenager, I ate terribly. I refused to eat any vegetables and was really picky. I wouldn't eat most of what my mother cooked. She used to despair - my parents were very healthy eaters, lots of vegetables. And everything, including bread, was home-made.
However, I hit my early twenties and became vegetarian. Mom wondered what I would eat! But I started by eating one vegetable and not really liking it, then another, then another.
Now, in my late twenties, my diet is very healthy, just as my parents diet is - lots of vegetables and salads, which I love. The same thing happened with my sister, who refused to eat even baked beans as a child, and now cooks all her own fresh food and refuses to let her children have junk food.
So don't worry if they don't eat well at this age - they will still be influenced by how they have seen you eat as they were growing up, and will likely develop better eating habits as adults.
- —Guest ukgirl
Nutrition insurance policy
- Even I don't get the recommended 5-13 servings of RAW vegetables and fruits that are recommended a day, and I'm a nurse and know better....it's just too difficult in these busy times. So I give my kids 17 Raw fruits and veggies in a capsule. The awesome part is that they are getting it free since they participate in the Children's Health Study. We have noticed that the kids have had less time in the doctors office, less school missed and think twice before putting something unhealthy in their mouth. I just find that it is a wonderful health nutrition policy.
Packing healthy lunches
- My son is 11 and daughter 10. They have been packing their own lunches since last year. When making a grocery list I always ask them “What do you want as your item of choice for groceries?” I figure if I include them then they will learn how to eat healthy in the future and not feel overwhelmed like I did when I was growing up. My mother was single and worked so I did a lot on my own and didn’t understand the need for nutrition. In fact I often took my dollar that she gave me to spend on lunch and saved it to buy pop with reeses pieces when I came home from school. I also lost my mom early so I try to keep in mind that I never know how long I will be here to advocate for my children so I best make sure I give them as much tools as I can to build confidence and an ability to take care of themselves when or if they need to.
- —Guest Shawna
Some is better than none...
- Since I can't provide every meal now that my teenager is more independent, I make sure the meals and snacks she has at home are the right choices. If fruits and vegetables are what is available instead of chips and soda, that is what they will eat! I also think being the example eventually does make a difference - even if defiance appears to be the norm for the teen years. If you show them eating healthy is a part of your life style - they WILL notice! My daughter and I enjoy shopping for groceries, cooking and working out together - it makes a big difference when they are part of the decision.