Feeding Your Teenager
Parents can help teens learn to make healthy food choices.
Pick Your Battles
The house is stocked with healthy foods. You're home most nights for dinner.
You talk with your teen about skipping soda in favor of low-fat milk, and
choosing grilled chicken sandwiches instead of fried at the fast-food
restaurant. You even bought inline skates so you can bond with your teen while
working out. Still, his eating and exercising is less than exemplary. What
should you do?
Back off, for starters.
"Avoid power struggles over food," says Sonneville. Strict control
over what a child eats can backfire. "Your teen may respond by over- or
under-eating just to assert his independence," she says.
"Teens know they shouldn't drink soda or eat fries. They also know they
shouldn't smoke or drive fast -- but they do," Geller says. "That's the
nature of the beast."
Still, there's hope, especially when your own lifestyle is on the right
"I like to look at it this way: By educating them and providing healthy
foods, you're giving teens the skills to use now or at a later date,"
Geller says. "As a parent, that's about as much as you can do."