It happens all too soon, they grow too fast and before you know it, they're teenagers. All of a sudden, they're mysteries, and all the healthy habits we taught them and thought they would carry on for life seem to have been chucked out the window...
Okay, that might be a bit melodramatic, but any parent of a teen knows how healthy eating can be difficult for teenagers, especially teenage boys. The influence of friends, not wanting to bring packed lunch to school anymore, and hanging out at the mall where almost all snack stands are high in sodium and low in nutrition are some of the reasons why teens end up eating a lot of junk.
The fact remains, however, that the other side of a typical teens' life: the staying up late, the hormone changes and bursts, and all the school activities are factors that almost require them to eat healthily in this stage of their lives more than ever! Healthy food will help teenagers feel better about their bodily changes and moods because the nutrition in the food is covering all the aspects of food that their body needs. It will also help with the lack of sleep because their bodies are processing good energy.
If you've started your children on a healthy eating diet when they were young, there's a good chance that it won't be too difficult for them to carry this on while they are teens. Don't underestimate the power of peer pressure, though. Teens have a want and need to belong to a group of friends, so it's very likely that they will eat what their friends eat. So no matter what the situation is, the best you can do is continuously serve healthy food at home, and hope that they are making healthy choices when they are away from your kitchen.
Try talking to your teenagers, and discuss some of the healthy alternatives they may find in the malls or when they're with they're friends. If they understand the food pyramid, and know what they need on a daily basis, they may try an start fulfilling these requirements without your ever watchful eye.
You can also encourage them to bring their friends over and hang out at your home instead. Serve them fruit smoothies (banana, strawberry, mango, or melon are some good flavors), whole wheat pita bread with hummus and cucumber, kettle chips with home made salsa, or other healthy snacks that cover serving requirements in the food pyramid. If you can constantly serve good food, and you can afford to feed a pack of hungry teens, then having them all at your house is one of the best ways you can assure yourself that your teen is eating healthy. If the food is yummy, chances are you won't have to invite them back, they'll just choose to hang out in your house. This also makes you feel better, as you know exactly where they are. Other parents will feel good about it too.
Healthy eating for teens is pretty similar to that of for younger kids. You just have to have a few tricks up your sleeve, and change the recipes so they don't feel like they're eating kids food!
The best way to make sure your teens eat healthy is to start them young. Healthy eating for kids can be a challenge, but with the right guides, an easy enough task to get done. Check out Kids Food Secrets for more details on how you can get your teens eating healthy all the time!