A parent could prepare healthy meals packed with the necessary nutrients for their children, and yet they may still eat unhealthy foods when they’re away from home. For teenagers, especially those who are away from home to pursue their further studies, access to junk food, busier social schedules, and peer pressure can all make eating healthy a challenge.
By teaching teens the value of good nutrition, you can increase the odds of them reaching for an apple instead of a chocolate bar when they’re out.
Set a good example
The more at-home family meals, the better a teen’s health. Children and teens who often share meals with family are more likely to eat healthier foods and maintain a healthy weight. So try serving healthy family dinners at least three times a week.
When life gets hectic, shared breakfasts and weekend lunches offer the same benefits. Family togetherness at mealtime instils values in your child around healthy eating they’ll carry with them wherever they go.
Teach them to make smart fast-food choices
When your teens go out with their friends, they want to fit in. When the gang ends up at a fast-food joint, make sure your teens know to choose what’s best for their body. For example, choosing a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a double cheeseburger, or a small order of fries instead of the large-size are both steps in the right direction.
Also, encourage your kids to drink an adequate amount of water. These days, it’s cool to carry a water bottle so make sure kids use it when they’re eating out.
Give them options at school, college or university
As kids enter secondary school, college or university, they can eat from the vending machine or fast-food drive-thru instead of the school canteen if they want to. In some cases, the school canteen doesn’t do a much better job at providing healthy alternatives.
If your children purchase canteen meals, stress the importance of healthy choices whenever possible. For example, encourage them to healthy dishes like fruits and vegetables and lean protein over fried food and sweetened or carbonated beverages.
It’s about making smart choices in less-than-ideal situations.