Healthy eating for teenagers. Now there's a thought! If you're like me, the first things you think about with teenagers and their eating habits are burgers, French fries, pizzas and lots of fizzy cola.
Healthy eating just doesn't sit well with most people's ideas of a teenager's meal time antics.
If you are a teenager, it's difficult to eat healthily whilst all your friends are munching their way through burgers or toppings-laden pizzas. Sure you can choose the vegetarian option but the chances are that it contains at least as many calories as the meat eater's feast.
So how do you encourage healthy eating for teenagers?
The best way is probably by gradual change. You may need to accept the fact that the average teenager won't make every meal a healthy meal. But chances are that they'll eat at home at least some of the time. It's on the home meal occasions that you can probably make the most difference.
Start by making sure that your home is stocked with attractive but healthy food. Get rid of the sugar laden cereals and bring in alternatives. Muesli can make an alternative breakfast cereal. It's still got the sweetness that teenagers crave, but at least that comes from natural ingredients like fruit.
Make sure that the snacks you have around the house are healthy to eat. You'd be surprised how often things like bananas and apples will get eaten if they're just sitting around the house looking tempting to eat. After all, strategically placed, they even cut out the need for the walk to the fridge. So play on the inherent laziness of teenagers and make healthy food available at arm's reach in your household.
When you're dining out with your teenagers, you can still encourage them to eat healthily. If they're undecided about what to choose – especially if they're not sure whether they've been given free reign on the menu – then you can guide them to healthier options whilst still making sure that the food sounds attractive.
Ultimately, healthy eating for teenagers is something they will need to learn for themselves. But parents can play their role by making sure that their teenagers have enough information to be able to make an informed choice about their food.
You can find ideas that include healthy eating recipes that can be introduced to your children at http://healthy-eating-for-kids.com/