Junk food is fun
When it comes to preparing nutritional meals for children, teens are the hardest to cater to. With their increased independence they often skip family meals and opt for fast food over healthy home-made meals. It is more fun to eat out with friends
Peer pressure often leads them to make unhealthy choices in a bid to maintain what they consider the ideal body. Studies show that a high percentage of teens skip the most important meal of the day, breakfast. Regular intake of food is compulsory for growing bodies and brains, missing breakfast means they are going for long periods of time without food. Not only does breakfast provide the energy needed to start the new day but it also helps in controlling a healthy weight and enhances performance whether in the class or the playground.
While we harp on the importance of nutrition for kids they prefer to fill themselves up on junk food snacks. This is providing them with plenty of unwanted calories and no nutrition. They have a low satiation value (they leave you unsatisfied) and this leads to over eating. Some harmful effects of junk food are increased rate of bone fracture and risk of osteoporosis, increased risk of type II diabetes, obesity, dental problems and even increased risk of kidney stones. Not a pretty picture, but one you should share with your teens. Don’t lecture them on it though, they usually just tune out. You need to take out some time, sit down and have a heart to heart, this is serious.
The thing is junk food is just so much easier and more addictive than healthy food. You need to invest some time and effort to get your teens on nutritious meals. Having healthy snacks that are ready and easy to eat on the go is must. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts can be life savers. Washing, cutting and packing fruit and vegetables into air tight containers makes them easily accessible to the kids. The thought of having to do all that themselves is often the reason they won’t bother to eat them at all. Serve them with a home-made dip and they become even more attractive alternatives to junk food. Some granola bars are great and you don’t have to do anything but hand them out ( I still prefer fruit or veggies though). Go through the healthy benefits of fruits on the internet with your teens and get them into helping out by making smoothies for everyone. Girls are easily hooked when they realize just how much their skin and hair are going to benefit.
Cut junk food off the grocery list
Take a critical look at your weekly menu. Are you serving three balanced meals a day? Do you have healthy snacks available at all times? If you aren’t going to include soft drinks, chips, and candies on your grocery list you won’t buy them and they won’t be on hand for kids to eat them whenever they want. It is easier to keep healthy eating habits so start when they are young! Encourage drinking more water and only buy the sugar-free juices, although dentists say that just plain water is really the best for everyone. Rather than frying, broil or bake, it tastes just as good. Cook more chicken and fish, it is much healthier than beef. And don’t forget to talk to your children about food and nutrition, get them more involved by taking them grocery shopping and helping out in the kitchen. You can even let them try out new recipes they want.