As a parent, how many times do you tell your toddlers not to put something in their mouth that is not safe, specially not healthy. At some point your baby turns into a child, then a teenager and some day before the blink of the eye you have an emerging adult starting to live on their own or still with you. The new generations are so much different obviously with different emphasis and focus in their lives, Snap-chat, Instagram, Facebook is part of their skin, having the need to pursue a live that is appealing and pleasing to others seems to be more important than brushing their teeth or getting the hung of arriving to work on time, or turning a project with good presentation.
I remember as a young adult , I didn't care much for food outside the home, maybe because I couldn't afford to get fast food, all my pennies were spent on school supplies as I endured going thru college, however if I needed to pack a light lunch they were always healthy choices to grab from my mom's fridge: a yogurt, tangelo, fresh pear cheese, cold cuts, bread... The point is I feel that Generation Jones and Generation X have done a lousy job teaching our teens and young adults that is easier to stop by a chain fast food place for food, when the easiest thing is to get up 5-10 minutes earlier and pack a healthy lunch for school or work, oh yes, that means that as a parent you may also need to do that grocery shopping you have been avoiding for a couple weeks.
I get it! is tedious, having to make the list, checking on family members likes and dislikes, special diet requests and actual shopping and putting away groceries, is much easier to sign a check for your child to add it to the school account or just passing that $20 bill for the them to drive themselves to the fast food chain store.
I am not here to judge busy parents, I am one myself.. just picture this, at some point those emerging teens- adults also need to learn how to take care of themselves, as a parent for a teen and a young adult I recognize that the teaching mission never ends and that being intentional at pushing our children to pick more responsibility each day is important. Our kids are super savvy and resourceful at navigating web media to purchase all the goodies they want from online stores such as Wish to Boohoo; why not also assigning them the responsibility to help with some healthy food shopping? Why? Because, it will teach them so many things like staying on budget, checking on quality, completing a task and reading the labels!! which is my biggest pet peeve.. is not the same to buy a peanut batter made with palm oil than a peanut butter made with hydrogenated oil, yes it may be cheaper but it will be the cause of many complex health issues in the long run, there is plenty of people like me very picky about the food but if you are not one of those at least learn the basic most unhealthy items added to processed foods, Peanut batter is a simple example and every family has their preferences in taste, however have you catch yourself putting literally junk in your mouth because: it tastes good... or it is cheap? Don't even feed it to the dog!
Here is a quick downloadable cheat sheet to help you recognize additives to stay away from, you deserve to know them and help your teens and young adults to recognize them. Our past generations work hard in their farms producing the best for their families, then why do we allow massive commercialization of products dictate our health habits? is time to take control of your family welfare.
You can, is a matter of organization. Now days they are plenty of stores that allow you to place orders online for a quick pick up, or deliver to your door if is time is really, really an issue, otherwise sending the Teens to the store and pharmacy or dry cleaners is a great way to to push them to help around and balancing the family hectic life styles. Keeping in mind that we, as parents are still responsible to remind them of good eating habits, asking them to find ways to help and support around the house gives them reassurance of their future life skills and helps correct that new trend of entitlement Millennial's and Generation Z are displaying. We listen all the time parents complaining because they have seriously too much to do and very little time, but I have come to the conclusion that we got to drop the towel at being a helicopter parents and sharing normal life responsibilities with our teens is a must. It takes effort from everyone at home to cohabit in a balanced environment but under the same token we are now inundated with apps designed to make life easier, so why not start using them? I am a big fan of Cozy for instance, it allows families to share to do lists, planned meals calendars, grocery shopping lists, birthdays with quick access to phone contact numbers etc.
We have led go of what matters most for quick comfort and the consequences are not only the
mal-nutrition for the entire family but we also enable our families to make less efforts each day.
I encourage you to take couple hours to organize your pantry and sort out your foods, learn more about what you chose to buy and share the knowledge.