Help students maintain healthy eating habits

Posted on 29 March 2017

Leaving your children to fend for themselves when they enter their student years can be worrying. Despite your best efforts to teach them healthy eating habits from a young age, there’s a chance they’ll leave these at home along with their signed matric blazer. Here are expert tips to help your student offspring maintain good eating habits.

Jeske Wellmann, a registered dietitian who consults at Mediclinic Sandton, offers the following good habits to instil while your teenager is still under your roof:

  • Eat together as a family around a table.
  • Eat a variety of fresh foods and experiment with new healthy foods.
  • Focus on fresh lean foods and avoid processed foods.
  • Teach them to love their natural body shape and have a healthy relationship with food.
  • Empower them to prepare their own meals.
  • Teach them to stick to meal times and avoid frequent snacking.
  • Explain that half their plate should consist of vegetables at lunch and supper.

When dropping your child off at a flat-share or residence for their first year of university, you can help them by filling up the freezer or taking them for their first grocery shop. Jeske advises that they should always have the following in their kitchen:

  • Lots of fresh vegetables (and frozen vegetables for quick meals)
  • Cocktail tomatoes and cucumbers – they last longer in the fridge than lettuce
  • Fresh fruit such as berries, apples, bananas and papayas
  • Dairy such as milk, plain yoghurt and cheese (unless they are sensitive to dairy products)
  • Eggs and poultry
  • Dense seed bread or rye bread
  • Savoury crackers such as ProVita
  • Oats for breakfast
  • Nuts and seeds (or show them how to make a trail mix to keep on hand as a snack)
  • Baby potatoes, sweet potatoes and brown rice
  • Frozen meals that you prepared in bulk, such as soups, muffin-pan quiches and stews

Ready-prepared meals can be bought for times when they don’t have time to cook, but choose healthy options – for example, a ready-roasted chicken, then just add baby potatoes and a salad.

Make sure your child has enough lunchboxes available to take leftovers to class the next day. You could suggest that they work out a roster system at the commune so everybody takes a turn to prepare a home-cooked meal, instead of resorting to cheap and unhealthy takeaways.

Published in Healthy Life

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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