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Healthy Eating for Teens:
Nutrition & Treats

GT Mashup Blog:
Episode 012

Written By : Daniel Currie

Published On : 2/29/2024

 Caucasian teen boy with blonde hair sipping on orange juice with his blonde girlfriend behind him eating a breakfast pizza

Hey, parents! Steering your teen through these transformative years can feel a bit like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube in the dark. And when it comes to their eating habits? Well, it's like adding another layer of complexity. But here's the lowdown: helping your teen embrace healthy eating isn't about policing every bite; it's about empowering them to fuel their bodies and minds with the good stuff- while still savoring the joy of life's tastier treats.

The Real Deal on Nutrition

Michael Pollan hit the nail on the head: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." As your teen's body morphs at a rate of knots, it craves nutrients like never before. This is your chance to be their guide, showing them how a mix of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats can be both delicious and satisfying. It's not about enforcing a diet of despair; it's about inspiring them to make choices that make them feel energetic and alive.

The Skinny on Indulging

Julia Child had it right: "The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook." A life without indulgence is no life at all, especially in the vibrant world of a teenager. The trick is teaching balance, not banning joy. Show your teen that it's okay to love food, to celebrate with it, and yes, to indulge in it—mindfully.

Empowering Balance

Here's how you can help your teen find that sweet spot between nourishing their body and indulging their soul:

Tune Into Their Body

Encourage them to listen to their body's signals. "Listening to your body is wisdom. Ignoring your body is sickness." Remind them that their body knows what it needs.

Rock the 80/20 Rule

Guide them to fill 80% of their plate with nutrient-dense foods, leaving 20% for those moments of indulgence. It's about enjoying the full spectrum of food.

Plan Cheat Moments Together

Make planning for treats a joint activity. It turns indulgence from a secret sin into a shared celebration.

Stay Active Together

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live," said Jim Rohn. Encourage an active lifestyle as a family. It makes all the difference.

FAQs for the Nurturing Parent

Q: How can I encourage my teen to eat healthier without nagging?

A: Lead by example and make healthy eating a family affair. Involve them in meal planning and preparation to spark interest and ownership.

Q: Is it okay for my teen to have fast food occasionally?

A: Absolutely. It's about balance, not absolutes. Guide them to make better choices when they do opt for fast food.

Q: What if my teen rebels against healthy eating?

A: Don't turn it into a power struggle. Provide healthy options at home, but allow them autonomy to make their own choices elsewhere.

Q: How do I handle my teen's cravings for junk food?

A: Keep healthy snacks readily available at home. When cravings hit, they're more likely to reach for what's convenient.

Q: Can we still enjoy family dessert time?

A: Of course! Dessert isn't the enemy. It's a chance to teach moderation and celebrate the sweeter side of life together.

Navigating the Journey Together

Empowering your teen to navigate the world of food is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It's not just about the nutrients; it's about instilling a lifelong relationship with food that's balanced, joyful, and healthy. Remember, your role isn't to dictate their diet but to guide them towards choices that fuel their growth, happiness, and health. Here's to enjoying the journey, one delicious, balanced meal at a time.

Until Next Time...

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