The teenage years are years of exciting freedom – on so many levels. Many parents experience freedom as rebellion, and food is one of the issues that causes some parents plenty of grief. Dr. Susan Rubin wrote a great post on getting teenagers on the right side of the good food equation, which I’ve re-posted here. If you want to share your successes with teenagers and food, we want to hear them!
Dr. Susan Rubin: Rebellion is most certainly part of a teenager’s job description. Its part of our kid’s journey to become independent adults. As a parent of two teens and a twenty year old, I’ve endured my share of this energy over the years.
An anguished parent of a teenager reached out to me today. Her teen-aged son has a job working at a food store and is eating huge amounts of junk food as a result. This mom wanted some help in finding a way to get her kid to see the light about chemicalized processed packaged food. After all, at home she cooks great food from scratch using real ingredients.
The toxic food environment is everywhere, and the older our kids get, the more they are immersed in it. At a certain point, all we can do is cook really good food, don’t preach (too much) and hope that at some point our kids realize that our food values are worthwhile.
But if you want to do a little gentle preaching with your teen, here are some ideas on how to go about it.
ZITS: Connect the dots between clear skin and clean food. Mark Hyman’s recent piece about Ance and Sugar is worth a read. Perhaps a 21-day elimination diet that includes lots of fresh water (and no Gatorade or diet soda) will show some results that will keep your teen eating clean.
MANIPULATIVE MARKETING: Teenagers hate being taken advantage of. Once they learn more about the $4.2 BILLION dollars spent to lure them to eat junk food, they might re-think their choices.
ADD/ADHD: If your teen has a hard time staying focused, junk food may be the culprit. Recent research in the Lancet medical journal suggests that ADHD can be induced by food. In the new study, kids with ADHD were put on a “restricted elimination diet” containing only rice, meat, vegetables, pears and water for five weeks. The authors found that ADHD symptoms were reduced in 78 per cent of children placed on the diet. 5 weeks of clean food may result in your teen getting more homework done in less time. It is well worth looking into.
But always remember, at the end of the day, your best bet is to invest in a good meal made at home from excellent ingredients. Our walk is more powerful than our talk!