Don’t serve disordered eating to your teens this holiday season

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The holiday season is a time for joy, connection, and celebration. However, it can also be a challenging time for teenagers who may struggle with disordered eating. As parents and caregivers, it is important for us to be mindful of the messages we send about food and body image during this festive season. In this article, we will explore tips for a healthy and joyful holiday season with your teens, focusing on nourishing their minds and bodies, as well as promoting positive relationships with food.

Tips for a Healthy and Joyful Holiday Season with Your Teens

  1. Encourage balance: The holiday season often means indulging in delicious treats and festive meals. While it’s important to let your teens enjoy these special foods, it’s equally important to encourage balance. Encourage them to listen to their bodies and eat mindfully. Remind them that it’s okay to enjoy their favorite holiday treats, but also encourage them to nourish their bodies with wholesome and nutritious foods.
  2. Stay active together: The holidays are a great time to engage in fun physical activities as a family. Encourage your teens to join you in activities like ice-skating, hiking, or even dancing around the living room to their favorite holiday tunes. Staying active not only helps maintain a healthy body, but it also boosts mood and relieves stress. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to create lasting memories together.
  3. Focus on non-food traditions: While food is an important part of holiday celebrations, it’s essential to emphasize non-food traditions as well. Encourage your teens to participate in activities like crafting, volunteering, or starting a new holiday tradition that doesn’t revolve around food. This helps shift the focus from excessive eating to meaningful experiences and reinforces the idea that the holiday season is about more than just what’s on the table.

Nourishing Minds and Bodies: Celebrating the Holidays Mindfully

  1. Promote self-care: The holiday season can be overwhelming for teenagers, especially those struggling with disordered eating. Encourage your teens to prioritize self-care by getting enough sleep, practicing relaxation techniques, and engaging in activities they enjoy. Remind them that taking care of their mental and emotional well-being is just as important as nourishing their bodies.
  2. Practice gratitude: Gratitude is a powerful tool for cultivating a positive mindset. Encourage your teens to keep a gratitude journal or engage in daily conversations about what they are grateful for. Gratitude shifts the focus from negative body image thoughts to appreciation for all the wonderful things in their lives. It also helps them develop a healthier relationship with themselves and their bodies.
  3. Seek support: If your teenager is struggling with disordered eating, don’t hesitate to seek professional support. Reach out to a therapist or a registered dietitian who specializes in eating disorders. Professional guidance can provide the necessary tools and strategies to help your teen navigate the holiday season and develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.

Serving Up Happiness: Promoting Positive Relationships with Food

  1. Model a healthy relationship with food: As parents, we play a crucial role in shaping our teens’ attitudes towards food. Model a healthy relationship with food by demonstrating balance, variety, and moderation. Avoid restrictive diets or negative comments about your own body. Show your teens that food is meant to be enjoyed and nourished, rather than feared or controlled.
  2. Encourage mindful eating: Teach your teens about the importance of mindful eating. Encourage them to savor each bite, eat slowly, and pay attention to their body’s hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating helps teens develop a better understanding of their body’s needs and prevents overeating or emotional eating.
  3. Foster a positive food environment: Create a positive food environment at home by stocking the kitchen with a variety of nutritious foods and limiting access to unhealthy snacks. Involve your teens in meal planning and preparation, giving them the opportunity to learn about nutrition and develop a positive relationship with food. Encourage family meals, where everyone can enjoy good food and quality time together

This holiday season, let’s focus on creating a joyful and healthy atmosphere for our teens. By nourishing their minds and bodies, promoting positive relationships with food, and fostering a supportive environment, we can help them navigate the holiday season with confidence and continue to develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies throughout the year. Remember, the holiday season is about more than just the food on the table – it’s about love, connection, and creating cherished memories.