Helping your teen find the link between what they eat and what they care about could be a good motivator.

Do you have trouble feeding your teen?

Picky Eater

Feeding your teen healthy choices (or getting them to eat those options) can put any parent to the test. Many of us may not realize that what our teens or tweens eat today can affect their health as adults.

Teens’ bodies are growing at incredible rates. On average during puberty teens will gain about 20 percent of their height and 40 percent of their adult body weight.

So what can you do?

According to Casey Beeghly, registered dietician at Sentara Leigh Hospital, helping your teen find the link between what they eat and what they care about could be a good motivator.

What teen doesn’t want beautiful skin or a muscular build? Most teens aren’t aware that low zinc is linked to acne. Sources of zinc are olives, mangoes, pumpkin seeds, fish and eggs. Guess what? These foods have other great nutrients too.

To build more muscle, iron is essential. Iron is found in lean meats like tuna, chicken, turkey, and chicken. Red meats, beans, lentils, oatmeal and raisins are also good sources.

Beeghley also offers a smart swap list for teens when they are out with friends.

Here are some helpful hints: Swap grilled chicken for fried chicken, apple slices for fries, baked chips for regular, milk for soda, mustard for mayonnaise and vinaigrette on salads instead of creamy dressing. These options can cut fat and replace empty calories with more nutritious options.