Today I was helping a young teenager make healthier food choices. As with a lot of teenagers, when we talked through an average weeks intake it didn’t have much good nutrients in it! The food was very on the beige colour side, so It was no wonder tiredness & illness was prevalent.
Now I am not a nutritionist & for more complicated issues I would always refer, but this was simply – how can we get better nutrition without it being a massive turn off.
Now, clearly if we waved a magic wand & got rid of chips, pizza, crisps & sweets it would help – but is that realistic – no! He still wants to eat this but how can we encourage to eat some healthy stuff too? After consultation & negotiation he agreed to;
– try potato wedges with the skins on & also sweet potato wedges- still ‘chippy’ but with more nutrients.
-make a quesadilla instead of having a pizza slice with a half brown/half white tortilla with cheese & extras veg to suit.
-With the crisps he was prepared to try some pistachios nuts as a pick me up snack.
-Instead of the sweet foods when he comes home from school he was prepared to try a chocolate protein shake to tide him over until teatime.
Now, could these choices be improved? yes!
but does it provide better nutrients & not be such a hardship- hell yes!
So whilst this is just one example, it shows that even for a very picky teenager there can be improvements without massive compromise.
Sometimes a super clean diet can be a barrier to change- its so far removed from the existing diet it seems totally unrealistic. Small improvements can be a good start on the road to better nutrition!