Encouraging teenagers to be healthy - the easy way

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There seems to be a news article published each week about the rise of obesity in the UK, with a quarter of adults now classed as obese, writes Simon Bandy of Seaford based Supplements Company www.healthplus.co.uk

Last week it was reported that doctors are calling for a tax on fizzy drinks and a ban on junk food advertising, and we all know that it’s important to eat well and exercise regularly to stay healthy and keep our waistlines trim.

This is particularly important for teenagers, because as they experience an abundance of hormonal and physical changes and growth spurts, they require the right nutrition to ensure a smooth transition into adulthood. But as any parent will know, getting teenagers to lead a healthy lifestyle can often prove to be a bit of a challenge.

In an ideal world teenagers would have all their needs met by a healthy balanced diet containing a high proportion of fresh foods. And with today’s teenagers spending more and more time in front of computers, games consoles, and the television, many parents would accept that despite their very best intentions, their youngsters’ diets could do with some help.

I recently stumbled across the government’s Change4Life healthier recipes smart phone app, which contains a host of simple and nutritious recipes.

The app is simple to use as it allows users to submit a list of ingredients they already have in the kitchen cupboard, and it will then create a healthy recipe based around some of the ingredients.

For busy parents stuck for ideas of healthy meals to create, this is an ingenious invention, and having already tested some of the recipe ideas on my daughter, who is approaching her teenage years, I can’t recommend it enough.

And with statistics showing that more than half of teenagers now own smartphones, why not encourage them to download the app themselves and get creative in the kitchen - a good distraction from sitting in their bedroom on Facebook or playing computer games!

And in terms of encouraging teenagers to be more active, this is of course easier said than done if they’re not already keen sports players. We’re really lucky in the Eastbourne area to have some great facilities, and miles of beautiful coastline that can play host to a range of fun activities and family days out. From Sunday walks along the cliffs at Beachy Head to visiting your local swimming pool for a family swim, encouraging teenagers to be more active doesn’t have to mean taking a hard approach and forcing them to join their local sports club or school team – gentle activity can be fun too, and a great way of promoting a healthy lifestyle. Eastbourne’s Tourist Information Centre can point you in the right direction of country walks or free local activities to take part in.

Do parents of teenagers in Eastbourne have any easy tips of their own to encourage teenagers to lead healthier lifestyles?

Simon Bandy is a nutritionist for natural supplements company Health Plus, which was established in Seaford over 20 years ago with a mission to promote optimum nutrition across the world. Family-owned and run since November 1991, the company supplies a wide range of British made, high quality nutritional supplements at www.healthplus.co.uk