We lack control over much of our lives. Time runs away, assignments pile up, kids get abducted by aliens and return as monosyllabic contrarians. So the things we can control, we must, especially when it directly impacts the health of our kids. And nothing is affecting our children more than the food they are eating and the drinks they are drinking.
Ads For Teens Effect Eating Habits
Our teens live in a world where everything is sugar coated and its not all that sweet. Sugar is everywhere. In granola bars, fruit yogurts, and store-bought smoothies. In Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Jamba Juice.
And ad campaigns target teens for a long list of sugary products. But here is the rub. Sugar is addictive and even toxic. It can lead to diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The American Heart Association recommends that teens have no more than five to eight teaspoons of sugar a day. Yet, many kids have exceeded that amount by breakfast because the processed foods have more sugar than anyone would ever add on their own. The reality is that if we haven’t cooked the food ourselves, we don’t really know what’s in it.
But there is an easy, inexpensive, and delicious cure—it’s called cooking! The single most powerful thing you can do to improve your family’s health is to cook your own food and to teach your kids to cook. Teaching your kids and yourself how to cook a few simple “recipes by heart,” will set everyone up for a lifetime of healthy cooking and good eating.
The Benefit Of Teaching Teens To Cook
Both of my teens can easily whip up a fast dinner or healthy breakfast any day of the week (Instagram photos prove it!). When my kids were young, I showed them how to peel, scrub, and cook a carrot. They were involved in the cooking process from a young age. I found that the more they participated, the better they ate.
And after the meal is cooked, sit down together at the table with all screens away. The research on this is undeniable—family meals lead to improved self-esteem, increased resilience, better school grades, and better life skills. Plus, it’s the best time for everyone to check in with each other and purposely be a family.
It only takes making something a few times to build your confidence. Recipes by heart will take less time to make and dare we say make everyone happy too!