Even if your daughter understands that nutritious foods are good for her, don't be surprised if she tells you that blueberry Pop-Tarts provide a serving of fruit and corn chips are a vegetable. Remember, her frontal lobe isn't fully formed. Let your superior knowledge about what's nutritious lead her in the right direction. Here are some recommendations:
  • Before going to the grocery store, ask your teen for her contributions to the shopping list with the caveat that her requests need to be nutritious, except for one junk item, if she so desires. And don't edit this request. No matter how bad her choice seems, it's important for her to be able to make choices without your interference. Then, buy a limited amount, and once it's gone, don't replace it for a week.

  • Don't harp on her choices. If you discover that she's spent her allowance at your local fast food restaurant, don't tell her a million times that her double cheeseburger will clog her arteries. She won't listen and she'll endlessly remind you of your dietary indiscretions.

  • Help her strike a balance between sedentary and physical activities. Insist that she participates in one physical activity or sport each semester, and don't buy her a television for her room if she can't self-limit.

  • Make sure you practice what you preach and that she sees you doing so. Skip the chips and make a healthy snack. Find a weekly physical routine that you enjoy and stick to it. If you make healthy living a part of your life, your daughter will be more likely to pick it up. While it may seem like your teen looks down her nose at everything you do, you'd be surprised how much she's actually taking in.
The opinions expressed by contributors are strictly their own.


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