FoodfindsAsia.com | Best Ways to Motivate Your Teenager to Eat Healthily and Work Out | Most parents know how to handle teenagers—they give them what they want, leave them in peace and wait for them to go to college. While this approach makes a peaceful home, it does not produce healthy and fit teenagers.
Parents need to pay more attention to their teens’ well-being and encourage them to eat well and exercise regularly. This is not an easy undertaking because teens tend to boycott everything parents recommend, but if you stay strong and manage to instill good eating and workout habits in your teen, you will have happy and healthy kids. How can you do so, you ask?
Be a role model
Parents have a huge effect on the kids, including what they eat and how much they pay attention to their physical health. So make sure to teach by example and eat well and exercise regularly. And you don’t have to run marathons. Going for a walk, riding a bike and gardening outside are also activities that improve fitness so make sure to engage while your teen is at home and can see you.
Encourage slow eating
When you eat slowly, it’s easier to detect fullness, so make sure to tell your kids to wait for 15 minutes before reaching for a second serving. Also, the second serving should only be a few extra bites. And do your best to have pleasant mealtimes with the whole family, sharing conversation instead of arguing and scolding. If you make dinnertime awkward, the child might try to eat as fast as possible to leave the table, associating eating with stress—this is, unfortunately, a very common basis for eating disorders.
Your teen might not be thrilled to cook with you, but this activity is crucial for their development and health. Cooking can also help boost mood and strengthen the bonds between people. The reason why you should encourage your teen to help you in the kitchen is that you can teach them how to prepare healthy foods, how to make any meal healthier and how to properly prepare fresh ingredients instead of only relying on fast food, take out and snacks. If you don’t know too many cooking tricks yourself, you can always consult the helpful Mumli app for mothers and get a ton of amazing recipes and tips on how to prepare healthier meals. With other moms on your side, you’ll teach your kid all sorts of useful cooking tips and show them that healthy eating can be both easy and tasty.
Guide their choices
Teens don’t do well with orders, so make sure to gently guide their choices towards healthy food. Leave junk in the store and bring home a bunch of healthy food options. Also, serve water with meals instead of soda or juice. This will help your kid make good eating choices by themselves.
Make workouts enjoyable
Does your teen daughter love dancing? Sign her up for classes at your local school, church, community center or YMCA. Does your son love animals and nature? Many clubs and organizations sponsor outdoor activities like hiking, camping, fishing and bird watching. Even activities like theater class will encourage more activity than sitting at home playing video games.
Consider strength training
Many older teens, boys especially, start craving muscular bodies, so strength training is a perfect opportunity to boost their physical activity. And doing resistance training a few times a week can lower body fat, boost muscle, improve strength and endurance and encourage healthy eating in obese or underweight teens. And don’t think you have to take your kid to the gym every day. With pushups, crunches, dumbbells and resistance bands, you can organize a full-body session with very little cost. Just be sure to consult with their doctor before you allow strength training.
If your kid is too out of shape for any serious workouts, you can start small with chores. Any activity that will get them moving counts, outdoor and indoor chores included. Enlist your kid’s help with mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, shaping bushes or doing volunteer trash collecting at the local park or beach.
Make workouts social
Working out with friends keeps people dedicated, disciplined and more inspired to push. If you want your teen to form good habits, incorporate their friends into the mix. For instance, the entire family could go to the park and play basketball in the evenings. Or you can make a basket at home and encourage your kid to invite friends over after school. You can even offer to drive your child to a skate park—it’s a great social and physical activity. Also, allowing your child to spend time with friends by instead of offering a ride, give them a bike. All of these might get your teen excited to get moving.
Being a teen is not easy, but if you as a parent stay consistent and set good examples, your teen will grow out of their awkward and rebellious phase with healthy eating and good exercise habits that will last them a lifetime.