Empowering Tweens to Make Healthy Choices: I am honored to partner with Fruitocracy to help give parents tips and tricks on how to help engage and empower their tweens to make wise choices when it comes to nutrition.
I am having a hard time admitting this, but my son is going to be 11 this month. ELEVEN!!! Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was wiping applesauce off his chubby little cheeks and playing peek-a-boo with him. While he still gets food on his cheeks, he would NOT appreciate me wiping it off for him and he certainly wants NOTHING to do with peek-a-boo!
Tate is no longer a little toddler, he is a tween. You know that fun age when they aren’t a teenager but yet are not really a child any more. But yet toddler and tweens are quite similar aren’t they? Think about it. Toddlers are learning and discovering about how to walk and talk, absorbing the world around them. They are developing their temperament and testing boundaries. In the same way, tweens are discovering the world around them–just through a new perspective. They are learning to voice their opinions and trying to figure out who they are exactly. And as a parent of a tween, they are certainly going to try to test those boundaries too!
And think about the battles that come along with feeding toddlers. One day all they want is oatmeal, but the for the next week they will refuse to eat it! Just like a toddler, tweens can be particular when it comes to food. While they may not throw their food on the ground, they may be tempted to try to slide it to the family dog or to throw their lunches in the trash at school. They want to fit in with their peers and sadly, many children are not making wise choices when it comes to food.
But food is so important for their bodies. Just like a toddler, they are growing. And as toddlers are shaping their taste buds, tweens are shaping their lifelong palate and lifestyle habits. The foods they incorporate into their diet now,impacts their overall health and habits are formed at this tender age.
Kind of overwhelming as a parent to think about isn’t it? Yep. A LOT of responsibility rests on our shoulders to help guide our children into making wise choices in every area of life. Let me give you some tips on how you can empower your tween to choose healthy foods, yet still believe it was THEIR own choice to do so, not yours!
EMPOWERING TWEENS TO MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES
- Take them grocery shopping with you or ask them to add 2-3 things to your list. Tell them to think about a new fruit or vegetable they want to try. Or ask if there is a type of breakfast they want. Ask them to choose between 2 dinner choices or if they would prefer to have bacon or turkey sausage for breakfast.
- Let them say no, POLITELY. My kids have to give new things a try, but yet can then say No thank you, politely and go make themselves a sandwich or bowl of oatmeal. They are in control of the decision, yet they are still have the opportunity to choose something new. If they choose not to eat it, the choice is theirs, yet they are only left with healthy options.
- Fill your pantry with healthy snacks. Ditch the soda, chips, and cookies and replace with nuts, whole wheat crackers, popcorn kernels, tortilla chips and salsa, or homemade granola bars. Fruitocracy from Dole is a great product to always have on hand and gets your child a serving of fruit. Both of my kids love to pick their flavor (there are 6 flavor combos) and often choose that as their snack. With a well stocked pantry, you can freely let your child choose whatever snack they desire.
- Let them help. Yikes!! Sometimes extra hands in the kitchen doesn’t seem like a good idea. However, when you let them get next to you and cook with you, you can teach them how to cook and about nutrition in foods, without being boring.
- The tween years is also a great time to let your child start packing his/her own lunch. Tell them to pick any protein, whole grain, veggie, and fruit and have at it. This gives them the control they are desiring at this age. It also helps ensure that the lunch will not end up in the trash at school!
- Let them pick dessert. At my house, we have a weekly Family Night. For that night, it is one person’s choice on activity and dessert. This gives my children a chance to call the shots and pick something indulgent or something that I normally would never purchase.
- Don’t sweat it when they are away from home. When your tween knows what makes a healthy diet and is offered healthy foods at home, if they have a soda or bag of chips at a party or 3 scoops of ice cream at a friends, it will all balance out. If you harp on them NOT to do this or that, they will want to do it even that much more.
- And finally, and most importantly, model a healthy lifestyle for your tweens. Get out and shoot some hoops with them, drink water, eat your vegetables. You know what you should do for your body, now do it! Your tweens are watching, even though they are pretending to ignore you!
Another important key is have choices that are easy and desirable. Tweens typically are always on the go. I love that Frutiocracy is a product that is tasty, self-contained, shelf-stable, free from high-fructose corn syrup, and all-natural real fruit.
Fruitocracy is great for homework or a portable snack at school.
Fruitocracy is great to eat while doing art work or can easily be packed in baseball bag or dance bag.
Bottom line, is that my tween loves Fruitocracy and so does his mom. So that is a win-win as a parent!
And yes, that is chocolate around my son’s mouth–wasn’t allowed to wipe that mouth for anything!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of DOLE Fruitocracy.