Thanks to sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits, childhood obesity has become a serious problem in the United States. Many teenagers are struggling to lose weight.
What can you do to help your child? Consider investing in a medical weight loss program or take the action of helping them make simple everyday changes. Here are some key habits that can help kick-start successful weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.
Even if your teen loves to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock, encourage them to get up 10 minutes earlier and have a nutritious breakfast before leaving for school. Studies show that individuals who eat breakfast are more successful at losing and maintaining weight than folks who don’t.
A nutritious breakfast will kick start your teen’s metabolism and keep them from eating too much later in the day. Aim for a combination of high-fiber and lean protein, such as whole-wheat toast and Greek yogurt.
Teens need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. It doesn’t have to be 60 minutes all at once. Consider biking to school in the morning, walking a few laps around the hallways, or even shooting hoops after school. These are easy ways to incorporate physical activity into the day without it feeling like exercise.
It’s inevitable that teens are bound to get hungry in between meals. If they are at school, snack options may be limited to vending machines stocked with chips and sugary sodas.
Help your teen plan ahead by sending them to school with healthy snack alternatives. Consider a bag of low-salt pretzels, fresh fruit, or low-fat string cheese. These options all are tasty and will help give your teen the fuel they need to stay active until dinner.
Cut Out Liquid Calories
Don’t drink your meals! Research shows that soda consumption and high-calorie coffee shop drinks are directly linked with weight gain. Even fruit juice may be causing your teen to pack on the pounds. Teach your teen to read nutrition labels and make positive choices. Dump the sugary drinks and replace soda with sugar-free, flavored water. Or make your own fruit smoothie at home to eliminate unnecessary sugar and fat.
Get Fit Together
Most important, stay supportive as a family. Make getting healthy a family affair. Participate in the same medical weight loss program as your teen or adjust to new habits together. Here are three simple things you can do:
- Stock your fridge and pantry with fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks.
- Make family dinners a priority and eat together at the table, not in front of the TV.
- Hit the trails for a family hike, rather than having a movie night.
A positive attitude and positive reinforcement will boost your teen’s confidence and help the entire family adopt a healthier lifestyle.
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