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When children are younger, it’s easier to make decisions for them to help them have a healthier lifestyle. You can decide how many vegetables they need to eat, well, in theory. You can tell them to go play with friends outside. You make sure they get extra sleep with bedtimes and naps. As children get into their teen years, however, they start having more chances for independence, and they can lose that sense of healthy balance.
It can be easy to just chalk that up to some independence and let them do what they want. However, the teen years are a vital time for learning how to live as an adult later. This is the perfect time to teach them about living a balanced, healthy lifestyle in regards to their food, beverage, and physical activity options. With having teenage boys in my house, caloric intake and balancing that with physical activity just isn’t something they think about much. Thanks to the American Beverage Associations and its Mixify™ effort, I’m looking at some things you can do to help encourage those habits.
Ways to Encourage Teens to Lead a More Balanced Lifestyle
Encourage active time outdoors.
I don’t know about your teens, but mine would often opt to hang out inside and play video games or on their iPhones. It’s okay to do that sometimes, but not really all the time. Teens need to learn how to balance those sedentary activities with some active ones.
We try to encourage outdoor activity in little ways, since our teens aren’t very athletically inclined. If they’re hanging out, I’ll sometimes say something as simple as, “Hey – you guys should go take a walk while you’re talking.” Often, they think it’s a pretty good idea. It gives them more privacy as well as some activity, sunshine, and fresh air.
We’re also lucky enough to live in a neighborhood and some of the preteens and teens living near us will sometimes organize kickball games or go out and shoot hoops. In addition to that, we live near bicycle trails, which encourages the whole family to go biking.
Of course, active time indoors is great too! It’s just that it’s a fabulous idea to get that fresh air and sunshine that the outdoors has to offer, and teens may be less likely to want to do that on their own.
Work on a Balance Between Sodas and Water
We have always been a soda household. That’s just the way we roll. In an effort to help our kids find a good balance with soda drinking, however, we have always had limits on how much soda they can drink each day.
It’s actually such a habit for them that on a special occasion when we tell them they can have more than usual, most of our kids will decline, even though they enjoy it. To find that good balance, we encourage them to drink water at other times, as well as either water or milk with meals. I think that they’ve come to realize that they feel better when they balance sodas with plenty of water consumption.
A great site to have your kids check out is the Mixify site made just especially for teens.
Talk about and Model a Balanced Diet
It can be easy for teens to go to extremes when it comes to their diet. They might take the chance to binge on unhealthy foods once they get a chance to make some of their own food choices. Or, they might go the other way and try to completely cut out certain types of food because of fears for their appearance. This is a great time in their lives to try to teach them that neither of those options is a great idea. The best diet is a balanced one.
We have tried to encourage our teens (well, and the other kiddo too) that it’s okay to enjoy some not as healthy food choices in moderation, but that it’s also important to have meals that feature healthier food options. We’ve been especially working on that in the last several months. It’s my hope that by modeling what a good meal should look like, then when they are on their own, they’ll want to recreate those kinds of meals.
A Message about the Mixify Effort
Coke, Dr Pepper and Pepsi understand that getting a balanced mix of foods, drinks and physical activities for your family isn’t always easy. That’s why they’re coming together for the first time ever to talk to teens about balancing what they eat and drink with what they do. With tools to help teens get active and information to help them think about when they’ve had too much, or maybe when it’s time for a treat—America’s beverage companies are supporting our efforts to find a balanced mix that works for our families.
Your Chance to Win a $100 Visa Card Sweepstakes
To enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, just answer the following question:
When it comes to achieving a balanced lifestyle for your family, what do you struggle with most?
You can share not only what you struggle with, but maybe some things that you’re doing to help that struggle or just some things that you feel that you’re doing right to help your family have that balanced lifestyle.
To find out more about the Mixify campaign click here: Delivering Choices.
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|Angie, a domestically challenged nerd and mom of three very fun kids, is the founder of Real Life at Home. Angie also listens to music every chance she gets, writes eBooks, podcasts, loves Pinterest, documents the little moments in life on Instagram, and occasionally sleeps.|
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