How to Promote Healthy Habits in Adolescents

It's crucial for adolescents to have good healthy habits, both for their present and their future. Be a good example!
How to Promote Healthy Habits in Adolescents
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 24 May, 2023

Adolescence is a very important time when children are in a process of continuous change. At this stage, they forge their personality and identity by leaps and bounds, but they don’t always follow the best examples. For this reason, it’s essential to instill good habits in young people, as they’ll last a lifetime. In this article, we’re going to talk to you about how to encourage healthy habits in adolescents.

If healthy habits aren’t instilled in them, it’ll be difficult for them to have a good quality of life when they become adults. For this reason, it’s essential to work on three important aspects: Nutrition, rest, and physical exercise.

If these aspects aren’t taken into account, a sedentary lifestyle or bad habits could endanger their physical and emotional health both in the medium and long term. In fact, in the long run, they could trigger diseases related to bad habits.

Good nutrition

For good nutrition, it’s essential to focus on food. Adolescence is a time of great physical changes and diet is fundamental. For this, it’s important to visit a nutritionist. Just the same, here are some tips to instill healthy habits in adolescents in this regard:

  • Eat a good breakfast every day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Cereals, milk, muesli, or toast are essential to provide the necessary carbohydrates, as well as fatty acids, proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Morning snack. This refers to the snack between breakfast and the midday meal. At school, youngsters should bring their snack or piece of fruit and never lack water to drink. Keep in mind that they should avoid sugary drinks such as industrial juices or milkshakes.
  • Balanced meals. It’s important to teach adolescents to eat well and in a balanced way.
  • Dairy and an afternoon snack. In addition, they should always have a snack so as not to arrive at dinner too hungry.
  • Dining with the family. Dinner with the family and without screens is essential not only to connect emotionally with each other but also to be aware of what we eat.
A teenage girl sleeping peacefully in bed.
It’s important to respect the schedules of meals, school, homework, sports, and rest, among others. As a result, it’ll also be easier to fall asleep at night.

Proper sleep and rest

Sleep and rest are essential for everyone and, of course, also for adolescents. In this regard, teaching them to have good sleep hygiene is necessary for both their present and their future. To do so, take into account the following:

  • Nighttime routines: You have to follow routines every night so that the body knows that it’s time to sleep and doesn’t have difficulties in doing so. Of course, the daytime schedule is important so that the nighttime schedule is also followed.
  • Activities with energy in the morning: Activities that require more physical or mental energy should take place in the morning. As evening approaches, the pace should slow down to prepare the mind for rest.
  • Sleep well: To sleep properly, it’s important to sleep in the dark, not take naps of more than 30 minutes during the day, and never after 5 pm. In addition, don’t eat lunch after 3 p.m. or eat two hours before going to bed. Of course, you should also avoid using screens of any kind and opt for relaxing activities, such as reading or talking, before going to bed.

Physical exercise

Physical activity should be a must for everyone, as it brings great health benefits. In this regard, we recommend the following:

  • Perform at least one hour of exercise a day.
  • Reduce periods of inactivity to a minimum.
  • Limit time in front of screens.
  • Exercise as a family if possible.
  • Choose an exercise that the adolescent likes and is interested in.
Teen girls playing basketball.
Physical exercises and sports help to keep both body and mind in shape, so they’re very important for teenagers.

Instilling healthy habits in adolescents contributes to a better quality of life

With everything we’ve told you in this article, if you put it into practice, your teenagers will improve their habits considerably. And this is something that will help them in both the short and long term.

Of course, it’s also essential for parents to have close conversations about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. While these talks are important, so is the example adults set for their children every day with their lifestyle.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • López Méndez, E., Costa Cabanillas, M. (2008) Educación para la salud: Guía práctica para promover estilos de vida saludables. Editorial: Pirámide.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.