Nutrition Education and Counseling of Teens
Adolescents make many of their own food choices outside of the home, thus nutrition counseling should focus on the busy lives of teens and should incorporate strategies for eating at school and other venues away from home. Adolescents should be encouraged to engage in decision-making processes during nutrition counseling. Setting too many goals may seem overwhelming to the adolescent and may reduce the likelihood of following through with changes in behavior. Accordingly, no more than two goals should be set during a counseling session. The MyPlate Supertracker (available at http:// www.choosemyplate.gov/tools-supertracker) is an online tool that teens can use to measure the impact of changes in their diet and physical activity patterns and to monitor their progress over time. The use of technology to facilitate nutrition education and counseling for adolescents should be implemented whenever possible to engage adolescents and to provide nutrition information. Communication methods such as text messaging, podcasts, YouTube, and social media (e.g., Instagram, Twitter, and Tumbler) are popular with adolescents and can be a highly engaging way to convey nutrition information.