Monica Bravo is a pre-med college student at LSU Honors College, who began blogging on Bravo For Paleo to encourage other young people to eat real food and improve their health. She began eating a Primal diet at age 17 after her father had a major health scare, that they now blame on the Standard American Diet. She attributes her healthy transition to her extremely supportive parents. You can find her story and her father’s story on her blog. Connect with Monica on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Getting a teenager to eat healthier is harder than it looks! At age 15, my favorite meals were cheerios, popcorn, tubs of peanut butter, and pizza! There wasn’t a single vegetable in my diet, and I thought eating a banana muffin counted as fruit. People who knew me then cannot believe where I am today. I haven’t touched bread or processed foods in a couple of years, and I live in a college town where there is little to no emphasis on health.
Today I will share with you 4 extremely important steps you must take to help your teenager or college student to transition into a better way of living.
- Lead By Example. As teenagers, we don’t ever like to admit it, but we look up to our parents and look to them for guidance. If you are on this blog, or this post, you probably have an interest in your own health, and hopefully you care about the health of your kids as well. If you lead by example, and provide a house that encourages good health, your kids will be more likely to carry it on for the rest of their life.
- Educate Them on What Is Healthy. The biggest roadblock for getting started is knowledge; keep in mind that knowledge is power. Most teenagers are completely uninformed on what the definition of real food is, and do not know where to start. It is your job to teach them that in order to feel your best, you have to feed your body correctly. Any health problems that they may have could be lessened or eliminated with a good diet.
- Get Them in the Kitchen. Before your teenager leaves for college, it’s important to teach them basics in the kitchen. You’d be surprised how many of my friends don’t know how to scramble eggs, or boil water. It starts at the grocery, so bring them along and teach them how to shop and read labels. Teach them how to shop on the perimeters, and avoid the middle aisles, except for seasonings and healthy oils of course! Once they’ve mastered the grocery, teach them how to cook. Assign them each a dish to make, or make it together. They will thank you later! Don’t forget about teaching them how to food prep and organize. Simple tasks like making a grocery list or meal plan will help them tremendously in the future.
Plan Family Activities that Promote Health. Some of my family’s favorite activities revolve around our health. Being active by hiking, skiing, swimming, or walking are a few things we like to do. Make traditions together, like the Saturday Farmer’s Market, or Sunday Paleo dinner together. If you are interested in your garden, you can plant vegetables together. There’s nothing more farm-to-table than that!
Finding easy but delicious recipes helped make the transition easier. Some of my favorite easy recipes are my crockpot shredded chicken, egg salad, and mashed sweet potatoes. These can all be found on the recipe index on my blog. If you ever have any questions or would like to know more about eating healthy in college, email me at [email protected].