If your teen is overweight, she may get defensive when you point it out. But it's not too late to instill healthy eating and exercise habits before she leaves for college. Although scolding your teen or micromanaging her eating habits may make her want to eat even more, encouraging her and keeping her motivated may turn her eating habits around. Consult your teen's doctor before making any changes in her eating or exercise program, especially if she has health problems.
Exercise with your teen several times a week. Whether you're playing a competitive sport like tennis, running together or going for a walk on the beach, turn exercise into quality time you spend together. This way, you can keep each other motivated and make exercising more fun.
Demystify weight loss by teaching your teen about calories. Teach your teen that the more calories she consumes, the more weight she will put on -- she must burn more calories than she consumes every week to lose weight.
Cook dinner together. Teach your teen to cook healthy meals using lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Make a list of your teen's favorite healthy recipes so he can decide what meal he's like to eat for dinner. If he feels more in control of what he eats, he may be more likely to eat and enjoy healthy foods.
Make a nutritious breakfast for your teen every morning. Even if your teen is rushing out the door in the morning and doesn't have time to sit down, send her to school with a package of low-fat yogurt and a handful of nuts. If your teen eats a protein-filled breakfast every morning, she'll be less likely to feel hungry and need to snack later in the day.
Praise your teen when she takes the steps to maintain an active lifestyle and makes healthy eating choices. Instead of scolding her during her moments of weakness, celebrate her achievements with a movie or a trip to the beach.
Keep the refrigerator stocked with your teen's favorite healthy foods -- this way, she will always have a nutritious snack on hand.
Do not reward your teen with food.
Do not scold your teen for making mistakes while she is trying to change her eating and exercise habits.