Teens are going through many changes during adolescence. They are growing rapidly and developing habits that will last a lifetime. Adults can help support healthy growth and development the 3-2-1 way.
3 Actions that adults can take to support healthy eating habits in teens:
1. Keep healthy, easy foods on hand and limit unhealthy foods. Teens have busy schedules and increasing appetites. They grab whatever food in convenient for them. Having available foods that are healthy and require little preparation, such as fruit and nuts, and limiting processed foods, such as chips and cookies, makes the choice easier for teens.
2. Talk to adolescents about food, but use a health lens. Research has shown that talking about food from a weight control lens, teens are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as binge eating or excessive dieting. Focusing on health and teaching teens skills, such as reading nutrition labels keeps the focus off these unhealthy behaviors.
3. Model healthy eating to empower teens. Part of growing up is learning to make your own decisions. When a child is young, telling them to eat a certain food is likely to be more effective then when the child turns a teenager. Adults can influence a teen's decision to make healthy choices easier if that adult is modeling the practice.
2 Actions Adults Can Take to Support Healthy Physical Activity for Teens
1. Encourage adolescents to find activities that they find fun. As with eating, teens are more likely to choose easy and fun physical activities. As adults, encouraging teens to be physically active may be as easy as encouraging the teen to try different activities until they find the right one.
2. Be Mindful of Over-Exertion to Help Adolescents Avoid Injury. If teens are excited about a certain activity or pressured to participate in a certain activity, it can lead the teen to overdo things. Adults can remind the teens to listen to their bodies so they know when to stop if the activity starts to hurt them. Adults can also monitor the teens for possible weight loss below normal levels or if the physical activity is interfering with other responsibilities.
1 Action Adults Can Take to Support Healthy Sleep Habits in Teens.
1. Help Teens Manage Their Schedules to Support Habit Sleep Habits. Parents can help teens prioritize sleep by assisting in cutting back on activities if they are too busy, establishing a bedtime that works for them, limiting caffeine consumption and computer and cell phone use right before bedtime.