As a mother of a tween I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of helping my daughter develop and maintain healthy eating habits. Getting your teen (or tween) to embrace healthy eating during adolescence is more important than any other time in their lifespan.
Why? Because, between the ages of 12 and 18, teens will experience several growing spurts, which are associated with hormonal, cognitive, and emotional changes and failure to consume an adequate diet at this time can result in delayed physical development and growth. In addition, development of healthy eating habits during this time can help prevent adult diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
The big question is how? Two approaches that have worked for me: being a good role model and eating family meals together!
Being a good role model. You can help your teens move toward healthy eating by letting them see you make healthy choices, eat nutritious food and by inviting them to help you plan and cook family meals.
Eating family meals together. According to Pediatrics teens who ate three or more meals a week with their families, were: 35% less likely to develop disordered eating such as, fasting, restricting, skipping meals and using food substitutes; 12% less likely to be overweight; 20% less likely to eat unhealthy foods; and 24% more likely to eat healthy foods.
How do you help your teen embrace healthy eating?