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Health and nutrition for teens

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Contributor:
Eva Maria
Eva Maria

This topic is very personal for me at this point in time. Ever since I started University, I have been an absolute mess in the nutrition department – fast food, hot, unhealthy chips and pies, mixed with bad takeaway coffee has taken a toll on my skin and I ended up breaking out into a total pizza face. This hasn’t happened to me for a good 5 years – I remember when I broke out in MASSIVE pimples during the year I was finishing most of my exams – late nights, too much caffeine and fast food was really ruining me. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, because as soon as I start eating really badly, my face breaks out into a hideous mess, but for many, that hideous mess stays on the inside, and dare I say, can turn into stomach ulcers, and many other gross things...or so I hear.

In a world where almost half the population is considered ‘obese’, and are likely to have health complications later in life (due to lack of organic produce in the world with all the processed food, etc), health and nutrition is not something to be overlooked for your growing teen, so here’s a few tips you can instil in them to make sure they NEVER have to worry about short-term as well as long-term health complications, due to lack of good health.

Health and Nutrition is broken down into two parts: Exercise and Food, so let’s take a look at both:

Exercise:

I’m not talking going for 10km runs every day, but there are many ways you can get your teen to get a bit more active:
- Get them to track how much time they spend in front of the computer, or the TV and sit down and try to schedule in a half an hour or an hour for them to walk, run or jog. Vitamin D (sun) and Fresh air is something most parents and grandparents swear by – this can really enhance and help you become healthier if you expose yourself to more of both on a daily basis. Plus, it’s also a great way to slowly start losing weight or gaining muscle.
- Go for a walk with them. If the supermarket is within walking distance, get them to come with you to buy a couple of things and walk back. Or perhaps there’s a tennis court or a swimming pool nearby – walk there, do some exercise, and head back.
- If they drive, or if you pick them up from school, get them to catch the bus once in a while – the walk from the bus stop and your house will do them good.
- Get them to run an errand – my mum used to get my brother and I out of the house by telling us to go drop off a letter at the post office when she needed to send it that day. Of course, any one of us could just drive down, but walking has its own benefits for such a task.

Nutrition:

Get your teen into healthier eating habits:
- Include them in the regular grocery shop to make sure they buy what’s healthy, and what they will eat
- Get them to pack their own lunch
- Get them to cook a healthy dinner – start it off with once a week, and slowly make it twice a week, three times a week, and before you know it, they may have even developed a new passion for cooking
- Research healthier eating options online, or get them to and start incorporating this into your daily life
- Get them to grow a veggie garden in your back yard, or the balcony. Organic food is choice!

What are some other tips you have, or would like to share with teens?

Photo credits: sunstoneonline.com

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