Slowly introduce healthy eating for yourself, your teen and your entire family.
This may sound terrible to some readers because it reveals the truth of what everyone dreads when getting their family to eat healthier; it takes time and it is not a quick fix. But consider this; if you cut out only 200 calories a day for a year you could lose up to 24 pounds. With such a small number of calories, you could lose the weight by just switching to healthy snacking. This weight loss doesn’t even take into account how much more you would lose if you added in light exercise and started eating healthier meals.
So, if your teen or another family member is overweight or just needs to improve his or her snacking habits, have a family meeting and let everyone know what will happen. Tell them over the course of a year you will slowly replace every item of junk food with healthier alternatives.
If you have 100% no knowledge of what a calorie is and think snacking on cookies and diet soda is okay on a daily basis then the Internet just became your new BFF. CalorieKing.com is an excellent website that allows you to search, for free, how healthy or unhealthy a food is. Each food item on Calorie King has a rating of up to 4 stars; 1 star means the food is unhealthy and 4 stars means it’s very healthy.
I strongly encourage you to use Calorie King before going to the store. It can serve as your crutch until you gain more knowledge about nutrition and food labels. To search for a food, simply type in a snack idea, such as “granola bar”, into the search bar or you can browse through food items. I would recommend selecting snack choices that have a 3 to 4 star rating.
It is also important to make the healthy eating change enjoyable for the entire family. Make a group decision about what healthy foods look yummy, and have your kids come with you to the store. Grocery shopping as a family may seem irrelevant but shopping together now will teach your entire family (especially teenagers) how to select healthy foods when they leave the home in the future.