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Nutrition for Teens: Healthy Choices

By Jodie Lynn

Have you heard the latest news? Eating together as a family is an excellent way to help teens become healthier and it promotes emotional well-being.

Teens frequently become depressed. This is more prevalent during the high school years. Girls are at a higher risk for falling into a rut of skipping healthy meals, thinking it will lead to losing weight.

The pressure the media place on looking thin via magazines, TV shows and Web sites is often times too much for teens to handle.

Now, being thin this has swiftly gained popularity among boys as well.

Obesity has become a problem even among children as young as 5, but by the time a child reaches the tender age of 12, many of them think that they are too fat whether they are or not. By the time a child is a pre-teen, many have developed erratic eating patterns resulting in poor eating habits. The challenge is that eating too much of the wrong food, even if only snacks out of vending machines, can lead to weight gain, which leads to feelings of loneliness, to depression and to suicidal thoughts.

With today's busy lifestyles, parents need to be sure that the family eats meals together at least four times a week. Doing that will have positive side effects: By the time the kids are pre-teens or teenagers, they will be less likely to use tobacco, alcohol or marijuana, and less likely to be depressed. Kids in families who eat together are more likely to perform better academically, too.

How does this work? It brings a consistent routine back into the children's lives and provides an opportunity for discussions that deal with better eating habits, manners, nutrition - anything that they want to bring to the table, so to speak.

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Teach Teens to Make Better Choices:

Eat three meals a day. Breakfast is important, but so are the other two meals. Many teens are simply in too big of a rush to eat breakfast or they just do not understand the importance of beginning the day with a healthy meal. Try to have simple, yet healthy choices available for them to grab in the morning.

Explain that eating healthier and making better choices do not mean having to give up their favorite foods. Eating a smaller portion of fries or chips, along with a piece of fruit, is a smart choice in cutting out fat and calories.

Got milk? Show them how selecting milk over sodas will benefit their ever-growing bodies. During this time in their life, their bones are rapidly growing and gaining strength and need as much of the right nutrition as possible.

Do not supersize. Teens have the liberty to eat out more often than many of us did when we were their age. Encourage them to order regular-size meals at fast-food restaurants.

Model good behavior. Let them see you eating healthy and perhaps passing up some of your favorite junk food.

Always remember, actions speak louder than words.

NOTE; This article is an excerpt from Lynn's latest book, Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer)TM - Having, Doing, and Surviving It All! and is used by permission.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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