“Are weight loss diets a good idea for kids?” “Then what about their nutrition and their health?” If you are bothered by such questions, you have reached the right place.
Your concern is genuine, but what you need to understand is why and when do kids need weight loss diets. Although there are kids with different body frames, excess weight gain can be identified by measuring the Body Mass Index (BMI). You can also seek help from a health professional to determine whether your kids are obese.
Obesity is indeed a major concern in advanced countries and researchers have proved its connection with other lifestyle disorders also. With the advent of technology, computer games are winning over activity games. Additionally, with vibrant advertisements around, the little ones easily get tempted to unhealthy foods. If not controlled at this stage it might pose a threat in future.
Weight loss and nutrition
Considering the growth years, it is important that meals for kids are planned very carefully. You have to make healthier choices with the aim to reduce their excess weight, while meeting their daily recommended doses of all nutrients. Also, unhealthy choices like junk foods, soda, excess sugars should be avoided. Children get bored when given the same diet every day. They need a variety of foods with different colors, textures and tastes. And our aim is to offer them with all these and yet provide a nutritious diet that will help them lose or maintain their weight.
Main food groups are
Carbohydrates: They are the main energy providers. However, sugar candies, sweetened fruit juices, and processed breads, etc. should be avoided. Instead whole grain cereals, fresh natural fruits and fruit juices should be opted.
Proteins: Proteins are essential for the growth and development of kids, for muscle strength and immunity. They should be consumed daily. Eggs, milk, lentils, soya, chicken and fish are good sources of proteins.
Fats: Fats need to be moderated due to their high calorie content, but they are still essential as they also carry fat soluble vitamins. Some fats like omega-3 fatty acids are essential and have proved to be involved in the brain development during childhood. Almonds and nuts, fish tuna, salmon are rich sources of these fats.
Sample meal plans for kids
- 1 cup of cereal flakes in milk with 3-4 raisins
- ½ apple
- 1 scrambled egg with a plain toast
- 1 glass of unsweetened fruit juice
- 1 bowl chicken soup
- 1 bowl of pasta with veggies
- 1 bowl vegetable soup
- 1 baked potato with fish
- Slices of carrots and cucumber
- ½ bowl fresh fruit salad
- 1 omelet with vegetables with 1 whole grain bread
- 2 chicken slices with 1 pita bread
(Note: Choking risk in kids must be considered and foods like popcorn, nuts etc should be given accordingly.)
Weight loss tips
Some tips that you can follow to help your kids lose weight are:
- Give them plenty of opportunity to burn calories. Involve them in exercising, cycling, dancing, sports etc.
- Keep an eye on the meals provided by their schools, daycare and make the necessary changes.
- Inculcate healthy food choices and regular exercise as a part of your family lifestyle. Be a support group for your kids aspiring to lose weight.