By Nicole Irving
Tweens are extremely busy creatures. Between their social calendars, school, extracurricular activities, work, family and sleeping, a tween can basically be considered a live version of the Energizer Bunny. These “bunnies” burn calories like nobody’s business. But, with fast food, busy schedules and self-esteem at play, being overweight or underweight may become an issue for these growing young adults.
The average tween male needs about 2,850 calories per day to keep going, and the tween female needs to consume an average of 2,350 calories.
But, it is what those calories are made up of that is most important. The Center for Disease Control states that in the United States, the number of obese children and teens has continued to rise over the past two decades. Lack of physical activity and poor eating choices are the culprits.
Tweens need a balanced diet for brainpower and growth. They should be getting a diet full of protein, healthy fats, calcium and iron. Empty calories and low-fat foods are not their friends. Healthy fats, such as nuts, avocados and olive oil are great for them.
The CDC states that childhood obesity can lead to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma and social discrimination. These serious ailments can plague a person for life, so it is important that we have our tweens get on the healthy path right from the start.
So, how do we get these ever so moody and disgruntled tweens to eat right and learn good habits? By making sure their food tastes good, looks good and is simple and quick for them to digest and move on.
If your tween likes pizza, try making it at home instead of ordering it. Pizza dough, skim milk mozzarella and fresh tomato sauce are all you need. Add some of their favorite veggies and there you go!
If your tween likes milkshakes, make him or her a protein smoothie with banana, dark cocoa powder, spinach, almond milk, Greek yogurt and acai seeds. Blend with ice and serve.
If your tween likes burgers, make homemade burgers combining lean meat, an egg and shaved carrots. Bake it in the oven instead of frying.
If your tween likes French fries, try organic sweet potato fries. Then try moving to just sweet potatoes.
If your tween likes soda, try sparkling water like LaCroix, Perrier or San Pellegrino.
Other ways to encourage healthy calorie intake in your tweens.
Make their lunch daily
Limit eating out
Keep fresh and in-season veggies in the fridge
Practice what you preach
Purchase a water machine if your fridge doesn’t have a water dispenser
Avoid bringing unhealthy items into your home.