Grass Roots Nutrition: Worried Mama

Grass Roots Nutrition: Worried Mama

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Dear Holly: I am worried about my teen daughter’s health. How can I help? -Worried Mama


Dear Worried Mama:
Know the facts. It can be overwhelming for teen girls to experience changes in their body shape as they go through puberty. Speak with your pediatrician and dietitian to know if your teen’s weight changes are in a healthy range. If too high or too low, she may benefit from nutrition counseling.


Teach her to cook. Don’t know how? Take a cooking class with me! Kids who can cook some basics are not tied to restaurant sized portions or unhealthy junk when around town. Eat meals together. If it works that you eat dinner together, great. If your schedules prohibit that, then choose a different meal to be your priority.


Manage emotions without Ben & Jerry. If your daughter comes home upset about friend or relationship drama and your answer is two spoons and a pint, that is the coping skill she will have moving forward. While the occasional indulgence is perfectly fine, using food to smother emotions is not.


Take a walk together. It is hard to connect with a screen in the room. Whether it is a laptop, iPad or TV, the screen distracts from the real life connection. If you take a walk together, you have the chance to talk about what is really going on in each others lives and to fit in some physical activity too.


Reward without food. For a job well done, look for rewards are are exciting, without having to be food each time. Younger kids love earning stickers, bubbles or temporary tattoos, older kids may get excited about magazines, movie tickets, nail polish or make-up.


Indulge joyfully, too. It is perfectly reasonable to have the occasional indulgence. Demonstrating balance with healthy eating and treats helps to not demonize any foods or cultivate an all-or-nothing attitude about health and nutrition. Compliment her; her beauty, her generosity and her brain.


Demonstrate having a positive body image. Having worked in a local clothing boutique, I was disheartened to overhear conversations between mother and daughter where the mother was disparaging her own figure. Mom is a guide on many things, and if her own body image is poor, this can impact your daughters perception of her own figure.


For more information, I recommend you check out Fitsmi, an evidence-based online nutrition counseling program. They offer an engaging 16 week program for teen girls aged 13-18 as well as a 7 week program for parents. Teens, visit and parents, visit fitsmi.ning for more information. Ready to sign up? Use codes “teen” and “parent” on those sites to save 30%!


Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the first of each month.


What’s your question for Holly? Send them to For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!