I don’t have teenagers…yet. And if karma exists at all, I’m terrified for when I do have teens.
Currently, I have a 3-year-old, and quite frankly she could hold a candle to any teen if we’re talkin’ tantrums and mood swings. I still find myself shocked at the Jekyll-and-Hyde vibes this toddler throws at me. The world’s cutest, sweetest, blonde babe becomes the most insane, hostile, “I’m moving out!”, maniac. In 3 seconds flat.
"No, you may NOT have ice cream for breakfast…"
"Yes, you have to wear clothes to school..."
"NO, you cannot cut your brothers hair!"
These statements devastate her.
If you’re like me, my family’s health is very important. As a healthcare provider, I often see unhealthy teens burden a family more than younger children do. Unhealthy and unhappy teens influence our marriages, our relationships with other children, and even our friends and co-workers. It’s unfortunately good for business as a chiropractor. Teenagers cause stress on parents, parents come into my office with increased tension in their neck and shoulders, which causes pain and headaches. Parents don’t perform as well at work because they’re stressed and distracted…thinking about their troubled teen, see the slippery slope?
Most people blame growth spurts, hormone swings, and peer pressure.
But we’re missing a key piece of the puzzle: Nutrition.
1. Love them.
o Say “I love you” often. Even if it means embarrassing them in front of their friends (don’t go overboard, because you’re a cool parent). Be kind, and let them know they’re loved, even during unlovable moments.
2. Let them sleep.
o Help them unplug and decompress around 9pm… even the busy kids in tons of activities. It’s hard to be the next prima ballerina, NFL star, or musical prodigy without rest. You might have to model the whole “putting your phone down” thing (yikes).
o We detoxify and regulate hormones when we sleep. Did you hear that? Hormone regulation. IMPORTANT for teens.
3. Cut the CRAP (sugar drinks and snack foods)
o Teenage bodies aren’t suffering from a lack of pizza rolls, or soda. Gatorade isn’t benefiting them either… unless they happen to be running an ultra-marathon, in Arizona, in July. Check out Alexa’s recipe for a healthy homemade alternative.
o Replace sugar loaded and processed snacks with fruit and veggie kabobs, and protein shakes (we recommend dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free protein).
4. Commit to more frequent, REAL-FOOD, family dinners
o If you can, commit to at least one home-cooked dinner date with the family per week. Pick out recipes, make the ingredient list, and grocery shop together to teach your family about the importance of healthy food. They need these skills before they leave the nest!
5. Supplement Where Needed:
o Remember how we like to focus on being REAL not ideal? Well, no matter what you do teens will still eat pizza rolls, and drink energy drinks on occasion. Unfortunately junk food and sugary drinks zap nutrients from their bodies. Not to mention the occasional teen taking medications: acne treatments, birth control, ADHD and anxiety prescriptions. These drugs become more common every day, and can deplete nutrients even faster than candybars. Nutritional supplements can help counteract some of the junkiest meals (or lack of meals).
Of course you should consult with a doctor before starting any health regimen, but here are our nutrition recommendations for teenagers:
If your teen has difficulty swallowing pills, or just straight up refuses (because they do that, right?) then check out our kid’s shop for easy to chew versions of the vitamins listed above.
Good nutrition can improve mental clarity, acne, stomach aches, growth, and development. It can support brain function and hormone regulation; the key areas for mood swings and decision making. Give your teens a boost above their peers. With nutrition on their side, they’re likely to be nicer, smarter, more level headed, and energetic. Sounds pretty sweet, right? It may not be karma after all!