In a blog a couple of weeks ago, I highlighted a few ways to improve nutrition for your kids’. While another blog on nutrition and teens may seem redundant, I assure you it’s not. It’s no secret that social media is a dominating force in our society. As adults we struggle with what we are seeing on Facebook and Instagram, as we compare and contrast it to our own reality and often (admittedly or not) feel inferior when it may not match up to the social media standards of perfection. With this in mind, you can imagine the effect this phenomenon has on teenagers who are growing up in a culture where a Kardashian wearing a waist trainer is looked up to as a role model.
Now, more than ever, your teens need you to set the example. In the ideal world, we-as parents-are modelling the behavior we want our kids to exhibit. However, this is not always the case with nutrition. Attempting to implement the “Do as I say, not as I do” rule is not going to do much good when it comes to helping your kids develop healthy nutrition habits. If this is something you struggle with-it is never too late to make changes, and even more importantly-make an impression. Show your teenager that you are taking control of your health and making nutrition a priority, and-even though they may not say it-it will have an impact on them.
One of the most essential things you can do for your teenager, is to help them understand that food is fuel. If your son or daughter plays a sport, help them to see the correlation between what they are consuming and how they show up on the court/field/track, etc. Do they have a goal in relation to their sport? Are they looking to make the varsity team, or get a PR in the 400 m hurdle? This is a great way to integrate behavior modifications that will get them there. What do I mean by behavior modifications? Teaching them to carry a reusable water bottle with them, to load up their plate with vegetables, to include a lean protein source at meals, to eat breakfast, etc. Help them focus on what they should be putting into their bodies, as opposed to what they shouldn’t be.
Additionally, have them help you with grocery shopping and meal prepping. If there’s a meal they really love that may not be the healthiest, work together to make ingredient swaps that will clean it up and make it more nutritious. If the morning is a mad dash as it is; trial smoothie recipes with them to find something that works. Offer them some autonomy when it comes to nutrition and help them to build confidence in making healthy choices. We say it a lot, but nutrition truly is the foundation of health and wellness. Set them up for success by being a role model and teaching the importance of feeding the machine using food as fuel.
CrossFit Simsbury | CFS Kids & Teens Coach | CFS Nutrition Coach
Certified Health and Wellness Coach