It is a proven fact that teenagers eat more junk food than is good for them. However if you are a parent, nagging at them about nutrition does nothing to keep your relationship on an even keel. In fact it may have the opposite effect. It is also an unfortunate sign of the times that most of your teenager’s favorite actors and entertainers will most likely be stick thin. So how do you go about getting them to eat nourishing meals that will keep them healthy?

Firstly, try to ensure they start the day right with a good breakfast. Skipping breakfast means they won’t function at their best during the day. As we all know, the brain needs food to help the mind function as well as keep the body moving. You may find a win if you point out that skipping breakfast slows down the metabolism and along with an abundance of take-out food, could lead to weight gain. Ensure you set a good example by having a healthy breakfast yourself.

Discuss dietary matters with your teenager without resorting to nagging. A few well chosen books and teen magazines that stress the importance of correct nutrition will have more of an effect on their outlook and you can also talk about recipes and meals they might like to help prepare.

Ensure that they have a packed lunch and lots of nutritious snacks to get them through the day and hopefully they won’t feel the need to rush to the nearest take-out. Let them choose the contents of their packed lunch. In this way they will be more likely to eat it rather than just tossing it into the nearest trash can.

Have family meals at night around the dinner table away from the television and computers. At weekends, insist that your teenager attend at least some of the family meals. Not only is this a good time for social interaction (especially if your teenager has reached the sullen stage) but it also endorses good nutritional habits.

One of the most important things you can explain to your teenager is that they should minimize their intake of refined sugars and soft drinks. These products are designed to induce cravings so that more and more of the substance is required. Try to encourage them to drink fresh fruit juices which are more refreshing and thirst quenching than cola. Water is an important part of nutrition, especially when you consider that more than half the human body is composed of water.

Find out what foods your teenager does like. You may be surprised to learn that they like roast chicken and vegetables, a healthy casserole with dumplings or a nice nourishing soup. There are many ways to ensure they are eating healthy, nutritious meals, it may just take a little time and effort on your part.

Teenagers today are generally quite knowledgeable about nutrition as they often learn about healthy eating in school. So hopefully there won’t be too many traumas in your household around food and if you are concerned about their dietary intake you may consider encouraging them to take supplementary all purpose vitamins.

The teenage years can be frustrating for parents, especially when it seems that all those childhood years spent instilling good values and eating habits have accounted for nothing. Just remember that in most cases once they reach adulthood they will return to the values and eating habits taught to them as a child.

Author's Bio: 

Benni Jenyfari is a freelance author for Only Cookware - a resource for cookware, stainless steel cookware and cast iron cookware.