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Ways to cope with obesity in children effectively


Among widespread health hazards that keep doctors occupied all over the world, obesity deserves a special mention. It is a condition that does not spare either women or men and even children become victims of obesity and related disorders. Amazing as it may sound to some people, even the kids in developing countries become its prey. Dealing with childhood obesity can be tough to an extent. The fact that parents live pressure ridden and hectic lifestyle and get little time to spend with family worsens the situation. However, you can definitely monitor the diet of your kids and prevent them from gaining excess weight with some effective measures. You will have to adhere to some basic steps and incorporate some positive changes in their eating habit. Overweight kids become more prone to fatal ailments like cardiac diseases, osteoarthritis and others.

Children who gain weight in excessive amounts find it harder to shed excess flab later. Besides, once they getting addicted to unhealthy eating habits it can be difficult to instill healthy eating habits in them. Therefore, you will have to ensure that your kids eat healthy and right kind of food all over the year. Below listed are some effective measures to stop your kids from getting overweight:-

Eat natural, say no to processed food– Obesity has a lot to do with what kind of fruit, vegetables and animal meat you eat round the year. It is always better to buy and eat organic produce and fresh animal meat. When your kids eat processed fruits and vegetables, they get excess calories. Same can be said about most of canned meat and fish types. Organic produce, on the contrary, is devoid of artificial sweeteners and flavors. When you go for grocery ensure you buy farm fresh vegetables and fruits. Same can be said about fruit and vegetable juices. Make it a habit to drink fruit juice made of fresh fruit instead of gulping down sweetened and artificially flavored fruit juices. Ensure that your kids do not get addicted to aerated drinks and colas. They are not only replete with excess calorie but come with other dangers for their health.

Include whole grains and cereals in your child’s meal– While it is important to keep a tab on the weight gain of your kid, a balanced diet does not necessarily mean that the kids have to be starved. An ideal anti obesity diet should include foods that offer vital nutrients along with healthy fats. It would be a good idea to offer your kids whole grains in breakfast and meals. You can also offer them cereals. Whole grains are enriched with vital nutrients and they offer protection from several major ailments. These are also fiber rich which helps digestion process.

Limit the number of eating out per month– To keep your child’s weight under limit it is also important to incorporate some small but essential lifestyle changes. A lot of working mothers and parents often feel like eating out instead of cooking dinner after returning from office. However, you need to remember no matter how delicious or alluring the foods in restaurants maybe compared to home cooked food, they are also rich in calorie and fats in most instances. By taking out your kids to dinner outside frequently, you actually contribute to their excess weight gain. To stop your kids from becoming obese, limit the number of eating outs per month and resist the allure of fast food joints.

Develop the habit of carrying home cooked foods– This is another small but necessary step the parents can take to control child obesity. Parents who take kids to weekend outings and spend a lot of time outdoors also tend to eat outside rather frequently. This can again lead to kids gorging on junk and fat rich foods, resulting in weight gain. If you spend a lot of time outdoors with your kids, make it a habit to carry home cooked food in car. It is not as difficult as you may perceive. Carrying dry fruits, boiled vegetables and yoghurt is not much cumbersome. You can find many containers for use in car that can contain food and retain desired temperature for hours.

Give your kids low fat, low calorie dairy products– There is no denying the nutritional benefits of milk and dairy products. Inclusion of milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and similar dairy products in your kid’s meals and breakfast is necessary for their health. However, to stop them from gaining excess flab, it is important to give them low fat and low calorie dairy products. You can find skimmed and low fat milk in market nowadays and yogurts made of skimmed milk are also available. These variants give your kids required nutrients minus the extra calories. Refrain from giving them yogurt and milk that have artificial flavor and sweeteners.

Adopt Healthy eating habits– To ensure your kids do not get obese, make some changes in the way you make meals. Replace fat enriched animal meat like ground beef with lean chicken parts and turkey. You can also combine vegetables that contain protein in place of animal protein sources at times. Vegetable protein sources do not contain unhealthy fats. It would be a good idea to include fiber rich vegetables and fruits in breakfast and meals everyday. That will ensure the unhealthy fats and toxins do not get the chance to get stored in your kid’s body.

Plan each meal with nutrient rich, low calorie food– To ensure that your child does not gorge on junk and fast food, it is important that he or she enjoys the meals and breakfasts at home. There are plenty of low calorie yummy dishes you can use in lunch, dinner and breakfast to keep your kids happy. In breakfast, you can give your children oatmeals, cereals along with fruit salads made of fiber enriched fruits with high water content. This will satiate their appetite while keep calorie count to lower side. It is also a good idea to offer them smoothies made of low fat yogurt and berries. Keep a check on the kind of cheese that you use for making sandwiches at home. Always opt for low fat cheese variants over flavored ones. You can also include smoked or baked lean meat and fish in sandwiches.

Introduce variety in lunch and dinner to keep your kids away from lure of fast foods. You can use both vegetables and animal meat without deep frying anything. To enhance the taste and flavor of vegetable dishes, you can use ingredients and spices like black pepper, green chili, ginger paste, lemon juice. When your kids feel occasional pangs of hunger, give soups and broths instead of fried and fatty foods. Before meals, you can give your kids a glass of juice or soup that can make them eat a little less in lunch or dinner.

It is quite commonplace in many household to have some dessert after dinner. However, you can give your kids sweet dishes and foods that are not rich in fat and calorie count. You can find ice cream and custards made with skimmed milk. Serve these dishes as dessert after dinner and use fruit slices as topping.

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Andrew C. Villa, MD, FACOG, FACS, FICS dr_andrew_c_villa_profile
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