Practical Tips to Help Your Overweight Kid
By Marjorie Nolan, MS, RD, CPT
1. Replace regular soda with plain water, or flavored water. Dilute fruit juices, half fruit juice and half with water. Encourage them to drink 2 glasses of 1% or fat free milk every day. You would be surprised to see how many calories you can drink in a day!
2. Make salads more flavorful by adding fruits like grapes, dried fruit, nuts, sections of mandarin orange, chunks of pineapple and sliced peaches. This is a great way to fill up without all the calories and fat that a second helping of your dinner might have.
3. Make fruit fun by freezing grapes, slices of banana and berries. Serve the frozen fruit topped with low-fat Cool Whip or dipped in a low-fat Chocolate pudding for dessert or a treat.
4. Keep a variety of low-fat yogurt, light cheese strings, veggie sticks like carrots, celery and peppers at the front of the refrigerator so the kids can grab them when they want a snack. Kids are more likely to choose these low-fat options if they are visible and readily available.
5. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table where the kids can see it and reach for it without thinking. Kids tend to eat what they see!
6. Children tend to model your eating patterns, so set a good example by eating healthfully. Make sure you sit together at meal times and make food part of fun family time.
7. Make sure your child eats breakfast. Whole grain cereals, low-fat milk, yogurt and fruit it is easy and nutritious. Encourage your child to get his/her own breakfast from an early age and provide them with healthy options and a variety of food so they automatically make healthy choices.
8. Don't use food as a reward for good behavior and don't restrict food as a punishment. For example, don't say to your child "If you clean your room you can have an ice cream sundae" or "No dessert if you don't finish your homework". Using food as a reward or punishment can set your child up to have negative associations with food that can cause problems later in life.
9. Limit time spent watching TV - you're own and the kids. There is overwhelming evidence that too much TV promotes obesity! People tend to eat more when in front of the TV and have less activity – a weight gaining combination!
10. Get active and have fun with your kids. Take them to the pool, play ball, bike riding, fishing, or hiking. Being active as a family will improve you and your child's health.
About the Author
Marjorie E. Nolan is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer. Marjorie offers expertise advice and counseling on child and adolescent weight loss and healthy lifestyle coaching for the entire family. For free tips to learn how you and your family can lose weight and keep it off visit Marjorie at http://www.NoDiet4Kids.com or email her at Marjorie@NoDiet4Kids.com
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