Saturday, February 05, 2005


How to Improve Teenage Eating Habits

Getting teenagers to eat properly is easy. All you need is a plateful of good food, a liquidiser, a pair of handcuffs and a feeding tube. Failing this, however, your only chance is to tell them the truth and hope for the best.

You see the truth is, that what we eat affects everything about us. It affects our looks, it affects our strength and stamina, it affects our mood, it affects our brain: it even affects how we play football.

For example, before Manchester United played Monaco in the European Cup, they sat down to a sensible breakfast of baked beans on toast and bananas.

So, if your son wants to do well at football, or considers himself to be a bit of a tough guy, tell him that he’d better stop eating processed rubbish, like crisps and chocolate biscuits, and start eating sensibly.

For example, at breakfast he should eat lots of Shredded Wheat or Weetabix, with low-fat milk, followed by a large helping of beans on toast and a piece of fruit. At lunch, he should eat a huge sandwich with lean meat and plenty of salad, with fruit and maybe a hard-boiled egg on the side. And for dinner, he should eat a huge plateful of shepherds pie, with lots of boiled potatoes, carrots, peas and beans.

For extra snacks during the day, most football trainers would recommend plenty of fruit, yogurt, extra sandwiches and bowls of cereal. They certainly don’t tell their athletes to eat chocolate or crisps: they’d probably say that this sort of food is only for fairies!

So much for your teenage son. Now here’s a question for your teenage daughter. Does she want to grow up beautiful and clever, or would she rather be spotty and sluggish?

If she wants to be spotty and sluggish, then tell her to do five things. One, go to bed late. Two, start drinking alcohol. Three, stay indoors and avoid all exercise. Four, eat a bar of chocolate and a packet of crisps every day. Five, avoid proper meals and snack on burgers and pizza, instead. These five steps are guaranteed to turn her body into a dump and her mind into fresh air.

On the other hand, if she wants to be beautiful and clever, then tell her to start getting lots of sleep and plenty of fresh air. Why? Because that’s what all the top models do. They exercise every day and they’re in bed by 10.

In addition, she must eat three good meals a day. For example, a big breakfast, with cereal, boiled eggs and fruit; a good lunch with sandwiches, a few carrot sticks and yogurt; and a big dinner, with chicken casserole, potatoes and three vegetables. For dessert, I suggest chopped fruit, yogurt with extra nuts and apricots, or cereal. All this food is good for the brain as well as the figure.

Finally, if either your son or daughter is interested in impressing the opposite gender with their good looks, here is a list of the Top Ten Foods they should eat, in order to avoid spots and look fantastic.

Oily fish.
Orange or dark green fruit/vegetables.
Wholemeal bread.
Low-fat milk and cheese.
Live yogurt.
Cereal (not the sugared variety).
Very lean red meat.
Unsalted nuts.
As for drinks, nothing is even remotely as good as plain ordinary water.

If you are still on speaking terms with your teenagers, you can repeat all this to their face. If not, I suggest you cut out this article and sellotape it to their X-Box or Sony Play Station, or bottle of anti-spot lotion. It might not do any good, but at least they can’t say you didn’t warn them!

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