A Healthy Diet For the Teen

As most teenagers and adults have learned the teenage years are not among the easiest of times to control what we eat. Every day we are faced with so many temptations from fast food to pre-packaged snacks. In many cases even the food in our school cafeteria or vending machines is packed full of empty calories.A healthy teenage diet needs to be a top priority for the developing teenage body and mind. A proper diet helps us to look better and feel great which is a real plus when it comes to the dating scene and having a great time with our friends.

Faced with obstacles like video game sessions, bags of chips and carbonated soda can certainly thwart our best intentions.

As a teen few of us want a diet of flax seed and spinach (Yuk!) Yet a bit of creativity may be called for on the part of both parents and teens  to help make healthy diets a positive and appealing experience.

Here are some tips that will help parents and teens develop that creativity for a healthy yet successful teenage weight loss diet.

Have Healthy Bit-Size Snacks Ready

Parents! When your teens arrive home from school, they are often ravenous. They likely skimped on breakfast, maybe grabbed a quick lunch around noon, and now need something (anything!) in the stomach before dinner – and there will be little patience for taking time to make a healthy snack.

Instead of having too-tempting snacks like chips or pizza waiting at typical snacking times, provide your teens with handy and healthy alternatives. Foods such as  pre-popped popcorn,  baby carrots, humus and pita (sounds nasty but is rather tasty) are all great treats that your teen can grab quickly, enjoy, and find satisfying.  And parents the odds are that you also need to shed a few pounds and you will enjoy these too.

Remember, the less work involved in the preparation, the more likely a young person or adult is to eat it. (Isn’t that also true of most of us?)

Make Breakfast Easy

A healthy diet for teens starts with breakfast. A young adult who is running on empty will not only suffer with less ability to focus and concentrate in school, but he or she is also more likely to indulge in cafeteria and vending machine temptations later, such as french fries and chocolate bars.

Instead, provide easy-to-grab breakfast items that include organic granola bars (not the ones covered in chocolate), granola with yogurt, or a variety of cereals to be ready for those long mornings.

Keep in mind that “breakfast” is the breaking of an overnight fast, so that is the most critical meal of the day.

Pack a Lunch

Let’s face it – most teens won’t pack their own lunches. Instead, they tend to indulge in whatever is available at the school lunch room or nearby fast food restaurant that’s not only much more expensive, but also very fattening. Support your teen’s healthy diet by helping to make and pack lunches that are nutritious and tasty. Look at it this way teen, what you save on fattening fast food could possibly mean more money for dating, clothing, video games or other fun stuff!

There are choices here from a salad with salsa or low calorie dressing to slices of lunch meat such as beef and chicken. Or even a sandwich with low calories dressing or if your teen likes mustard they can skip the mayo completely and save a few extra calories.  Include some low- sugar, low calorie snacks. Today there are lots of prepackages 100 calorie snacks. As most of us have learned either a small bag of chips or a family sized bag of chips will satisfy our craving so stick with the small bag. Why not give low fat yogurt a try? Again the name yogurt tends to turn some people off but their are some tasty flavors of it out there. Another snack that can be bland or can be found in some pretty good flavors is rice cakes so you might want to add those too your list.  Another favorite is sugar free jello and even the old standby carrot sticks and celery sticks provide a bit of tasty crunch.

Talk About Fast Food

Most fast food is overly processed and filled with sugars, salt, and saturated fats. Instead of telling your youngsters to steer away from fast food, discuss with them about healthy options available at many fast food restaurants.

For example, a well-rounded and healthy diet for teenagers could easily include a sub sandwich from Subway, a chicken salad from Wendy’s or even a roasted chicken wrap from McDonald’s.

The need for weight control is a reality that many of us need to face. While we may not look forward to dieting by controlling our weight as a teenager it not only will improve our teenage experiences but will also give up a good foundation for our future as an adult.

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