Healthy eating is one of the key ingredients to overall well being in teens. In fact, if a teen is struggling with a mental illness, eating well is a way to promote mental health. For instance, healthy eating can facilitate:
- mental clarity
- higher levels of energy
- positive, feel-good feelings
- fewer, if any, health problems
- less stress
- improved mood
- fewer cravings
- brain power
Yet, healthy eating isn’t always easy. Often, people turn to healthy eating when they are forced to. If you’re a parent or caregiver who knows that importance of eating well, then perhaps you’re already familiar with the following tips. And if you are, then you know how important they can be. And you can encourage your teen to not only eat well now but to carry their healthy habits into adulthood.
Choose to eat foods that will create optimal health. Everyone’s physical health will require different foods. However, in general there are common healthy choices to make, such as deciding not to have dessert, choosing fruits instead of cookies for sweets, or staying away from sugar and sugar substitutes. In addition to the basic healthy food choices, you might also be aware of the unique foods your body needs. You might have uncovered that your body doesn’t respond well to dried fruit or caffeine or alcohol. Following common healthy food choices as well as the signs that your body gives you can contribute to creating optimal health in your body and minimize unclear thinking.
Avoid using food as a reward or as a way to help yourself feel better. People eat for all sorts of reasons. They might have just won a sports game and feel like they deserve an ice cream. They might be feeling sad and want to indulge in a piece of chocolate cake. But it’s important to remember that foods are not there to tend to our emotional needs. Food is simply a tool to give your body and brain the energy it needs. When you see food in this way, you’ll be less likely to turn to it when you’re angry, sad, or feeling victorious.
Make eating a pleasurable experience. Many men and women enjoy the experience of eating. However, this is often when the foods their eating is filled with sugar, salt, or carbohydrates. As mentioned above, food is not a means to change our emotional state. However, when food is being consumed, especially food that is healthy for the body, experiencing pleasure while eating can add to the health of the body even more.
These are suggestions for eating in a healthy way, which you can encourage in your teen. Remember that healthy eating is often hard for those who have had other eating habits for most of their life. Yet, if teens learn early that healthy foods are the way to go, then they are more likely to continue their healthy habits into adulthood.