Tips for a healthy diet for you and your teenager
Children form their eating habits from a young age, therefore, it is important to guide them in the right direction and give them an understanding of a balanced nutritional diet mixed with an active lifestyle.
There are many different websites and publications that can help you choose the best types of food for your child. But, there are a few things to remember:
- A healthy balanced diet is important to ensure your child grows and develops to their full potential;
- Healthy diets balanced with fun activities help strengthen their bones and muscles. It also helps brain development;
- Make meals a family occasion where you all sit down and have a chat;
- Try a variety of different food types, you would be surprised what your child likes;
- Encourage your child to become involved in food preparation, this will support an interest in food as well as providing an opportunity to spend some time with your child;
- Try and have a mix of vegetables, dairy, fruit and carbohydrates (like potatoes, pasta, etc.);
- Avoid fast food and food high in sugar and fats;
- Children should do at least 60 minutes of exercise a day and it doesn’t have to be done all at once;
- Make exercise fun and join in where you can… it will help you too.
- Do not force a particular food on a child, this will result in them never eating it and will probably make them ‘go off’ eating other food;
- Children do not need the same amount of food as adults;
- Try and limit the amount of treats given, treats should NOT be offered as a reward;
- Offer water instead of fizzy drinks.
Eating Disorders, concerns about weight, appearance and poor eating habits are very common in today’s society. Eating disorders are not just about eating too much or too little. Eating disorders affect the mind and the body. It is about food, body shape, body image, exercising, and dieting as well as other life factors. There are a number of eating disorders, of which anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are probably the types most people are familiar with. Young people may go through periods of binge eating or dieting. At times however, concerns about weight, appearance and inappropriate eating habits such as binge eating or dieting can become excessive and begin to affect a person’s health and well-being. This is the stage at which an eating disorder is said to exist.
Many young people experiencing an eating disorder do not seek help on their own. Indeed, many will try to minimise or deny their problem and hide their problem from family and friends. These conditions affect males and females and the impact of these conditions on a young person’s life can be quite serious and at times can even become lifethreatening. If it is identified and treated effectively early however, positive outcomes are more likely. As a parent of a child with a suspected or diagnosed eating disorder seek help and ongoing support. Talk to your local family doctor (GP) or health centre. Find out where they are located by visiting the HSE.ie online service finder. For more information about eating disorders the Bodywhys website is a great resource: www.bodywhys.ie and www.reachout.com.
Adapted from Foroige Mental Health Resource
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