I take pride in having a healthy family.
We eat well, exercise, and lead well-balanced lives.
Now, I’ll admit that Michael’s 12th birthday party this past weekend included Hot Cheetos, a donut cake, and sugary drinks. But that’s where the balance comes in, right?
As the parent of a tween (ahh! he’s almost a teen!), it’s a struggle to teach about healthy choices when all of the kids at school are eating Doritos for lunch. Just saying no isn’t effective, as Michael gets frustrated that he can’t have what his friends do. I have found that explaining our decisions about food helps Michael to understand why we feel the way we do. Instead of saying “no, you can’t snack on a candy bar after school” we explain that he needs something filling and healthy after school so that he’s not hungry again right before dinner. Snacking on something like apples and peanut butter fills him up longer and leaves him satisfied.
As part of a series I am writing about teenage health and weight, I interviewed Jenny Flora; a Nutritionist at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. Jenny is familiar with teenage health and weight and is currently working on their Healthy Weight for Teens program.
Health isn’t all about weight, Jenny says. Teaching young people where to start so they don’t feel overwhelmed is important. Being a healthy teen is all about moderation, and you can help your child achieve this by helping them “have a more mindful experience with eating. Not concentrating on good or bad food, but finding a balance.”
A balance. How do you find a balance?
If your teen is heading to a sleepover tomorrow, where you know they will probably be snacking on chips and candy, dinner tonight could be balanced out by eating a healthy meal with no sugary snacks afterward.
Health isn’t all about what you eat, though. It’s also about getting up and moving.
Family bike rides, basketball games in the driveway, and even active video games like Just Dance can help get your teens moving. Jenny says that just 20 minutes a day of exercise can make a big difference with how many calories you burn. Make exercise consistent, and plan to refuel your body with protein after breaking a sweat.
If you need more tips about making your house healthier, for both you and your teen, Canyon Ranch has something for you. Healthy Weight for Teens is a week-long program that focuses on all aspects of healthy living. The best part? It’s a family program – you go with your teen and learn together. There are individual sessions as well as family-style sessions. There is also some fun nighttime entertainment planned.
Can’t make the trek to Canyon Ranch? That’s ok, stay here and check back next week for tips on how to make your home a healthier place for your teen. I’ll be talking about grocery shopping, making healthy meal choices, and ideas for family activities that will get everyone moving.
How do you and your teen (or tween!) achieve healthy goals like eating well and exercising? What does healthy mean to you?
I’m partnering with Canyon Ranch to raise awareness about healthy weight for teens. Canyon Ranch hosted a friend and I for a complimentary Spa Day in exchange for a series of posts. All opinions and words are my own, and I would never endorse a company I don’t truly believe in.