Weight loss - a family affair - Kingwood

Published: Jan 01, 2012, 3:00pm

Losing weight and eating right seem to be the topics of conversation as we begin the new year.

We all know that a healthy diet is essential for both physical and mental well-being and development, especially for children.

In order to help children make good decisions about healthy eating, dietary guidelines were established.

Yet, statistics show that one out of five children in the United States is overweight, and the Houston and surrounding area statistics are even more alarming.

All parents wants to spare their child (children) the consequences of being overweight.

Overweight children are often teased, have a pool self-image and are at risk for future health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

Unfortunately, most parents have no idea how to help or where to begin. Even talking about such a sensitive subject is difficult.

Failed attempts often make problems worse, either with additional weight gain or an even more serious problem such as eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia. Dieting isn’t any more effective for children as it is for adults.

Instead of dieting, doctors and nutritionists often recommend strategies to help children outgrow their extra weight while building lifelong, healthy attitudes about what to eat and how to keep moving.

In their book, “Helping Your Child Lose Weight The Healthy Way: A Family Approach to Weight Control,” Judith Levine, R.D., M.S., and Linda Bine offer practical steps that can be easily adapted to fit any family’s lifestyle.

Parents will learn how to identify the specific factors contributing to their child’s weight problem and the dangers that exist in putting their child on an adult diet plan.

The book also helps parents create a nutritious, low-fat eating plan that encourages healthy snacking, and it provides information on how to increase the child’s interest in physical activity by making it fun and non-competitive.

The authors also recommend several dos and don’ts when communicating with your children and offers a dozen fat-lowering strategies just for kids, which are listed below:

  • Don’ts:
  1. Never lecture, manipulate or reprimand.
  2. Don’t be judgmental, criticize, nag or threaten. Don’t push them. This process will take time.
  3. Try to have the answers to their questions.
  • Fat-lowering strategies:
  1. Some high-fat, yet nutritious foods, like peanut butter, are fine. Just balance them with low-fat foods.
  2. Hot cocoa is a low-fat chocolate treat.
  3. Pretzels or light microwave popcorn are good, crunchy substitutes for potato chips.
  4. Use low-fat margarine and mayonnaise when the taste is acceptable.
  5. Non-cream soup is a good way to get a swerving of vegetables without a lot of fat.
  6. Use low-fat cooking techniques, such as oven-baked as opposed to deep fat frying.
  7. Use ground turkey breast in recipes instead of ground beef.
  8. Substitute frozen yogurt for ice cream.
  9. You don’t have to eliminate hamburgers, just make them using the leanest ground beef.
  10. “Mixing” helping lower the fat. For example, mix ground turkey breast with ground beef when you make meatloaf.
  11. Offer high-fat treats sparingly during the week.
  12. Never go too low with fat if it compromised good nutrition.

The above information is an excerpt from: “Helping Your Child Lose Weight the Healthy Way: A Family approach to Weight Control” by Judith Levine, R.D., M.S., and Linda Bine.

Parents beware. A certain amount of caution is necessary.

Never start your child on any type of nutrition or exercise program without first consulting your pediatrician, family doctor or registered dietician. Communication and patience are your keys to success.

Happy New Year, and until next month, happy parenting.

Article by: Debbie Dodd
Debbie Dodd is the Senior Sales & Marketing Director for the Kosmin Media Group and also a freelance writer. She is the mother of three and a grandmother. She resides in Kingwood with her husband, Ronnie. She can be reached at Debbie@kingwood.com.
View all articles by Debbie Dodd »

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