Take the Word Diet Out of Your Vocabulary

Take the Word Diet Out of Your Vocabulary

Families struggling with overweight/obese children tend to want to put that child on a diet. Dieting is the least healthy way to lose weight.

Diets do not work especially for children who have a weight problem and are still growing. Families who are struggling with the challenges of an overweight/obese child have to focus on how to live healthily, meaning how to incorporate the elements of a healthy lifestyle.

There are many articles bemoaning how the obesity rate is rising–few articles teach or show families the how to’s.

This article is the beginning of focusing on how to.

The first commitment families have to make is that healthy living not only applies to the child who is overweight/obese but to every member of the family. Every member of the family has to buy in to the idea that healthy living applies to all.

Meal planning should be a family affair–children should be involved in meal planning. It should be acknowledged that eating out or eating on the fly is easy but not healthy. Parents have to take control and carve out time for all to sit down and plan meals for the week. The added benefit is that grocery shopping is a focused activity. The outer aisles of the grocery store are the healthiest–the inner aisles are the least healthy. Meals should be planned keeping this in mind.

Exercise is key–the human body was not made to sit and not move. Walking is the best form of exercise and the least expensive. Walking is the easiest way for a family to exercise together, encourage each other and experience quality time–together.

Key nutrition truths that hold us in good stead are:

Breakfast is the main meal of the day and should be healthy. Oatmeal, eggs, fruit, whole wheat bread, juice, milk. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast are happier, smarter, experience higher self-esteem, higher self-image and have less emotional challenges. (Judith Wynn Cameron, 1999, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, #79)

A mid-morning snack that holds good nutritional value is cut up fruit and vegetables.

Lunch should be a combination of protein, carbohydrate and vegetable. Proteins should be in natural form as much as possible–cold cuts should be the exception not the rule. Cold cuts are highly processed which means too much sodium and fillers which are not healthy.

The mid afternoon snack should also have good nutritional value. Cut up fruit, cut up vegetables, hummus, whole wheat crackers.

Dinner should be protein and vegetables.

Desserts should be kept to a minimum. In addition keeping hydrated is key–water, water, water.

The obvious question is how? How do I get my family to do what needs to be done? It is a matter of making the commitment to incorporate one new habit a month related to healthy living. It is not doing everything all at once. It is a matter of the entire family committing to wanting to be healthy, and learning what that means.

Articles such as this are meant to give families tools with which to start the process.

Categories: Diet, Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss