As a parent, you do not only have a huge part of how your child is going to act and feel in the future, but you also probably want nothing but the best for them. Preparing your teen for a life of success, happiness and health means you need to instill some healthy habits into them, mainly when it comes to eating and exercising. Teens are especially hard to influence because they always aim to rebel, but if you approach a healthy lifestyle from a good perspective, you can manage to get them on a good path. Here are a few good ideas on how to get your kids to fall in love with healthy eating and fitness:
Be a role model
Firstly, children are like sponges, no matter their age. The way you act as a parent will have a huge effect on how your kids behave, so make sure to practice healthy eating and plenty of physical activity. To get your kids to learn by example, you don’t have to do anything drastic—just prepare a few healthy meals a week and show them that being active can be very fun. For instance, you can grab your bike and go do errands or walk to the store to buy groceries.
Work out together
There’s no way you can get your teen to hit the gym with mom and dad, but gyms are not the only source of exercise. Your teen might be a bit embarrassed by you today, but you don’t have to work out with them in public. “Less embarrassing” forms of physical activity kids can do with parents are biking, gardening, hiking, etc. These things can be done together and are a good way to show kids that exercise can be a great way to bond with people you love.
Being healthy depends on exercise, but a healthy weight is made in the kitchen. Again, your teen might not be thrilled at first to spend time in the kitchen with you, but learning how to prepare healthy foods is crucial for their development. Plus, cooking can be very fun and a great mood booster for everyone involved.
One of the main reasons why you should encourage your teen to help you with cooking is to teach them what to do and what not to do in the kitchen. Everyone can order pizza or rely on fast food but allow your kids to learn some other options. With a few healthy recipes you get online, you can show your kid that healthy eating can be easy, cheap and tasty. If you need some cooking tricks from parents who have already been through lessons you’re covering, you can download a practical motherhood app where you can connect to other moms and share tips. You’ll certainly get a bunch of easy recipes that always work on teens, as well as tricks on how to get your kids to join you in the kitchen. When they go to college and have a family of their own, these healthy recipes will enrich their diet and ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
Don’t enforce an empty plate
Cleaning your plate should not be a condition to get dessert or watch TV after dinner. Kids need to be encouraged to listen to their own bodies and recognize when they are full or hungry. Every teen is different and sometimes they will feel more or less hungry. However, one thing you should always encourage is a reasonable attempt to try a new food or finish their greens.
Plan for healthy snacks
Teens are growing rapidly, so sometimes, your meals are not enough to get them through the day, which is totally normal. Snacks are a great addition to a nutritious diet, but they can be done without spoiling the appetite or overeating. If your teen is asking for a snack, you can quickly cut up some fresh veggies and make a yogurt dip. Small peanut butter and banana sandwich is also a nutritious snack that’s not full of sugar.
Don’t talk too much about weight
Today, many teenagers are obsessing with their weight which can lead to negative associations with food, skipping meals or overeating. When you’re discussing healthy foods, don’t focus your attention on weight and calories. Instead, focus on nutritional value, protein, fiber and vitamins.
Use affirmative language
Like all of us, teens need and love praise, so when they do something positive for their wellness, make sure to comment on it. Say things like “Whoa, that’s a great snack” or “That looks delicious” when they fix up a balanced plate. The same goes when your teen decides to work out, ride a bike or take a walk.
It’s never too late to adopt new and healthy habits, so no matter how old your teenager is, make an effort to educate them and stir them in the right direction. They will be grateful sooner than you thought.