Should I say anything to my teen about her food?
I am going to start the week on Mondays with questions I commonly get from my clients. Feel free to comment on any questions you would like answered!
Should I say anything to my teen about her food intake? I notice that she is gaining weight and I don’t want her to struggle with weight issues like I did at her age.
This is a common concern that I hear from many parents. Your teen is spending more time away from home — whether at a friend’s house after school or going out with friends on weekends. School is getting more pressure-filled, and some kids eat out of stress, boredom, avoidance, as well as take less time being physically active.
It is important to approach the situation sensitively but it is best to address it if you have concerns.
1) Talk to your child and tell them you love them but you have noticed that they seem to have changed their eating and exercise habits. Let them know that you love them regardless of their size or shape, but you are there to help if they want it.
2) It is important not to nag your child, or hyper-focus on their food intake – this usually backfires and your teen may end up eating more as a result.
3) Stock your refrigerator and pantry with healthy snacks, such as fruits, vegetables, low fat cheese and yogurt, and healthy grains like popcorn and whole grain crackers.
4) Aim to have family meals as often as you can. Studies show that teens who have family meals consume more fruits and vegetables and smaller portions in general than those who eat on their own or out with friends often.
5) Be a good role model for your child, and offer to help them work on healthier habits such as exercising and eating for hunger only, rather than emotional eating.
6) Home should be a safe haven and you want your child to talk with you about what may be causing their weight gain.