How to talk to your teen about health & food
Talking to your teens and children about health in a positive way is so important. Let’s face it, with constant comparison to media and body image advertisement it’s only getting harder to find the right words to say to our children about health & beauty right? We are seeing more disordered eating patterns, fear of food, over consumption of food, and restricted food diets with teens. I’m finding that the way parents talk about food, weight, and health has one of the biggest impacts on how their children feel because we are their biggest influencers!
As a dietitian it’s important that I know how to make my children feel confident and secure about the foods they eat and their health. Here are some positive strategies on discussing food with teens.
Strategies on developing positive conversation and eating environments for teen health
- Do not place emphasis on weight or body size. Instead, strive for a positive eating relationship with your child that includes healthful habits.
- Eat meals together and show your teens the healthy foods that you enjoy eating.
- Refrain from making negative comments about your own weight, body shape or size — or about the weight, shape or size of others.
- Set a good example for children in the way you manage your own weight and how you feel about your own body. Skip the lure of fad dieting yourself and focus on a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole-grains, & healthy fats.
- Talk about healthy food in a positive way and discuss how it makes you feel nourished & energized.
- Encourage your child to engage in daily physical activity to build muscles and coordination.
- Ice cream, chips, or cake is okay once in a while! Show your teen that you can enjoy these foods in moderation without feeling guilty.
- Help your child develop the social skills, self-confidence and self-esteem that can lead to a healthy relationship with food.
Engage in positive conversation about health with your teen and enjoy the benefits of healthy food together! Check out www.eatright.org for more helpful information.
Denny, S. (2014). Body Image and Young Women. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eatright.org
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2016). Your Role in Your Child’s Healthy Weight. Eatright.org
Set an appointment with a dietitian specializing with teens.