How to encourage teenagers to be healthy

Encouraging adults to adopt a healthy and fit lifestyle can be hard enough, but enouraging teenagers can take this to the realsm of whole new difficulties! We were all the same…as teenagers we are bullet proof. We have huge reserves of energy that may or may not be utilised, any sense of mortality or the notion of our lifestyle choices leading to health impacts, is years away!  And today’s teenagers have the ‘issue’ of technolgy acting as a further potential bar to healthy and active lifestyles.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with teenagers lately and one thing you learn quickly when you’re around this age group is they certainly don’t want anyone telling them what to do.


Advise and instruct

So how do you get your teenager to embrace healthy habits during a time when they are trying to be more independent and self-expressive? The most important thing you can do is to advise and not instruct them about what to do.

I know it’s hard to step back sometimes and set aside the parent hat you’ve been wearing for 13+ years and switch to being a friend and equal, but these three tips will help make the process a bit easier when it comes to giving your teenager advice on adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Great advice you can offer your teenager about the benefits of embracing living healthy:

Healthy habits = better appearance

Let’s face it, one of the biggest concerns your teen has these days, boy or girl, is how they look.

And while having a healthy self image is important, letting your teenager know that eating well and drinking plenty of water will have a positive impact on their skin and overall appearance is powerful.

encourage teenagers to be healthy_2Muscles make you look good

Most kids will agree that both men and women look good with lean strong muscles. And we all know that more activity = a better physique. But staying active – that is including at least 60 minutes of exercise daily – also increases metabolic rate which means more energy and the ability to eat more without worrying too much about it.

And for parents of teenage daughters who may think they’ll look “manly” if they work out, let them know that this won’t happen unless they get really heavily into bodybuilding and all the massive supplementaion that goes with it.

Enjoy the ‘junk’ in moderation

Let your child know that it’s OK to enjoy fries and a burger as long as they balance it with wholesome foods more often. Giving them the freedom to enjoy their favorite foods on occasion will make them see that eating healthy on a daily basis is not such a chore after all.

Support and sustain

Once you’ve got them started, it’s a matter of offering them support as they take steps towards change. Some things you can do to help them is ask them for input when you plan meals and give them healthy options they enjoy to choose from.

You can also find more great ideas from the Academy of Nutritionists and Dietitians

Remember actions speak louder than words – so if you don’t practice what you preach, chances are your teenager is going to follow your example.

Connect with Expert Ussma Ghani

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