Author of Could It Be Insulin Resistance? (Hammersmith Books)
Tip #1: Educate your teens
Education is one of the most important things if you want to bring about a lifestyle change, as cutting out sugar may be challenging. Educating your children is very advantageous, as building an understanding of the topic of healthy eating could motivate them to opt for healthier foods themselves. The WHY is very important. Simply making them eat healthier “just because” would not help make long term changes.
Tip #2: Learn to cook a wide variety of healthy meals
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about healthy meals is salad. Letting your teenager know that healthy meals can actually be much more than this, delicious and filling, would surely help. When they regularly eat healthy meals every day, sugary snacks are not needed.
Tip #3: Start slow
Abruptly changing up their lifestyle could come as quite a shock and cause a negative reaction. This is something that is best avoided, as it is important to know that these things take time. Replace each meal with healthier alternatives one at a time. This would help your teenager grow accustomed to a healthier diet without sugar.
Tip #4: Replace soda with herbal tea
Soft drinks such as Pepsi can be very addictive, so simply replacing them with something that can be equally as addictive could counter this problem. Kombucha is a great alternative. Not only is it pleasing for the taste buds, it also provides probiotics, which is essential for gut health (make sure to get one with no added sugar). If you can’t obtain kombucha, then herbal tea with small amount of honey should suffice. Now, if you think that replacing sodas with diet sodas is more ideal, you have been misinformed. There are many articles on the Internet that provide valuable insight on the subject.
Tip #5: Do not keep sugary foods and snacks in the house
Trying to relieve your teenager from their sugar addiction would be a futile attempt if there is still sugar lying around in the house. If you want your teenager to make a lifestyle change, then the whole household should participate as well. Switch out sugary snacks with some healthy ones.
Tip #6: Get creative with your meals
A fun way to get creative is to make alternatives for your favourite junk foods and desserts. There are many websites online that provide delicious recipes for you to follow and tweak to your liking. Personally, I find that the healthier alternatives taste better and make you feel good. There are also examples of our family favourites in my new book.
Tip #7: weight loss
This isn’t a tip, but something that I must talk about. Some teenagers believe that they need to under eat to the point of starvation if they want to lose weight (especially if they’re overweight),or replace meals with sugary snacks. Teenagers need to be educated on the fact that weight loss does not work that way. Teenagers go through rapid growth and development, so it is essential for them to eat the right foods and the right amount to avoid long term problems.