Did you know, during the major developmental stage of adolescence brain development is a very big part of the deal? And did you know that without good nutrition during this stage of life, the brain’s ability to learn new tasks and skills decreases? And have you heard, not eating right during this important time of brain development can contribute to irritability, depression, and eating disorders? Now that you know, what can you do?
If you have set a solid example of healthy nutrition habits at home from the start, there is a good chance your teen will carry this foundation with them as they begin to be more independent. Even if that foundation is not as solid as you would like, you might consider asking them to join you in creating healthier at-home menus once or twice a week. Remember, teens are on their way to becoming adults. Engaging them in choosing and preparing meals builds their skills and their confidence with the added benefit of building your relationship with them. But wait, there’s more. . .
Today’s youth are the most racially and culturally diverse generation this country has ever seen. There are also signs that this diversity extends to their food choices. As a group, they tend to be more willing to try new dishes, have an interest in sustainability, are exploring vegetarian options in significant numbers, and see cooking as an opportunity for self-expression. Partnering with your teen to explore good nutrition might just open you to a whole new world!
By Nadine Smet-Weiss, translation by Ana Villaman