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Healthy Meal Plan For Overweight Child
Because children, especially young children, require proper nutrition daily to grow and develop at an appropriate pace, severely restricting an overweight child’s calorie intake is generally not a good idea — unless your doctor recommends it. Encourage your child to eat a variety of healthy foods throughout the day while boosting his daily calorie expenditure to gradually move toward a healthier weight. The goal is not necessarily weight loss but a slower rate of weight gain during periods of growth.
The number of calories your overweight child should consume daily depends on his age, gender and activity level. Overweight children should also stick within these general calorie guidelines — but boost their physical activity level which can simply be tracked on MyPlate.
Sample Meal Plans
The publication “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010” provides sample healthy meal plans at various calorie allotments. A 1,200-calorie meal plan includes 1.5 cups of veggies, 1 cup of fruits, 2.5 cups of dairy foods, 3 ounces of protein foods, 4 ounces of grains, 4 teaspoons of oils and 121 extra calories.include:
- A 1,200-calorie meal plan includes 1.5 cups of veggies
- 1 cup of fruits
- 2.5 cups of dairy foods
- 3 ounces of protein foods
- 4 ounces of grains
- 4 teaspoons of oils
- 121 extra calories
Reasonable Portion Sizes
Portion sizes vary by food group. For example, 1 ounce from the protein foods group may include 1 ounce of meat, poultry or seafood, one egg, 1/4 cup of tofu, 1/2 ounce of nuts or 1/4 cup of legumes. A 1-ounce equivalent of grains equals 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, one slice of bread or 1/2 cup of oatmeal, rice or pasta, notes ChooseMyPlate.gov. A 1-teaspoon portion size of oils equals 1/3 ounce of nuts, eight large olives, 1.5 teaspoons of nut butter, one-eighth of an avocado, 1 tablespoon of Italian salad dressing or 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
Physical Activity Recommendations
If your overweight child is sticking within general calorie guidelines, encourage him to boost his physical activity level. The “2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” suggests children and teens engage in at least one hour of physical activity each day. Abiding by this recommendation will help your overweight child slowly move toward a healthier body weight, without severely restricting calories. Try swimming, going for walks or playing tag with your child. Enroll him in a child exercise class, take him to a children’s gymnasium or trampoline park, or sign him up for a sports league to keep his activity level high and increase his strength and lean muscle mass.
Foods to Eat
Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are high on the list for overweight pregnant women. They generally contain vital nutrients for pregnancy, such as folic acid, vitamin C and iron. They are also low in calories but filling. Try a fresh spinach salad with a slice of whole-wheat toast, or apple wedges mixed with berries for a satisfying but healthy snack. In addition, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products are important sources of both protein and calcium. Low-fat Greek yogurt, baked chicken breast and green beans are healthy choices for overweight pregnant women. Oils and sugars are not completely off the list, but you should limit their quantities.
Learning to measure portion sizes is an important skill for any pregnant woman, especially one who is overweight. A serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of bread is a single slice. The serving size of vegetables and dairy is 1 cup, while that of fruit is 1/2 cup. Women who pay attention to their serving sizes can potentially avoid eating too much, even of a good thing.
Because it can be difficult to drastically change eating habits once you find out you are pregnant, instead focusing on controlling portions and intake by simply by giving up the extras. Try using less salad dressing, or cooking with olive oil spray instead of butter. Switch to whole-wheat pasta and substitute fruits for higher fat, sugary desserts. Treats are still OK from time to time, but instead of eating a whole slice of cake, try a smaller sliver instead and savor the taste.
#1 Recommended Breakfast Diet for Childhood Obesity
Especially when it comes to childhood obesity, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast in the first place helps kickstart your child’s metabolism for the day, meaning that it is all the more important to make sure that your child eats a breakfast at all. Oatmeal with fresh fruit in it, whole-grain cereals with no added sugar, and low-fat yogurt are all possibilities for a nutritious, flavorful, and healthy breakfast. When it comes to the flavor of the yogurt or fresh fruit in the oatmeal, your child can choose whichever one he or she enjoys the most, which will make it a little easier to get your child to eat breakfast in the mornings.
#2 Recommended Lunch Diet for Childhood Obesity
When it comes to fighting childhood obesity, the best thing that you can do for your child is to find a salad for your child to eat. Salads, depending on what is in them, are usually low-fat. Even the fats that are in the salad are going to be the good fats that your child needs to grow. From the dark leafy greens that make up the bulk of the salad to the toppings that make the salad flavorful, there are many reasons why a salad is the best lunch for your child. Whether you choose fresh cheese, carrots, tomatoes, or olives as your salad toppings, these are all excellent and healthy choices for a lunch. For a dressing, you could consider extra virgin olive oil as that has the healthy fats that your child will need. To ensure that your child isn’t dousing the salad with oil, suggest dipping the fork into the dressing on the side first and then taking a bite of salad.
#3 Recommended Dinner Diet for Childhood Obesity
For dinner, you are going to want to look at lean meats and seafood. These foods have protein and relatively low amounts of fat. You should also skin the meats to ensure that there is as little unhealthy fat as possible in your child’s food. Reducing sodium is also something you could consider. Instead of brining the meat in salt, consider lemon, lime, or vinegar as a base. This will give the dinner a fresh, vibrant taste without adding too much salt to your child’s plate. For a side dish, you will want to look at beans and/or rice. These foods can be tasty and they are perfect for a child who is fighting childhood obesity. They are also wonderfully healthy foods for dinner as well.
#4 Recommended Snacks Diet for Childhood Obesity
Snacks are surprisingly important. In fact, sometimes small meals with frequent and healthy snacks is a way that many people succeed in losing weight. Snacks that you will want to look at are going to be healthy. Vegetable sticks with a low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar sauce are a good starting point. For example, celery with ranch dipping sauce is one type of healthy snack you could consider. Berries are another one, especially grapes. Low-fat yogurt is another healthy snack, assuming that this was not your child’s breakfast as well. Cashews, almonds, pecans, and walnuts are healthy nuts. Granola is also a healthy snack for your child. Putting these together, you might want to consider getting some trail mix for your child.
#5 Recommended Drinks for Childhood Obesity
For drinks, you will want to avoid anything with high amounts of sugar. Fruit juices with no added sugars are okay if your child demands something that has a strong flavor to it. Otherwise, teas with little to no added sugar are a better option. Of course, typical iced water is always going to be one of the best as it doesn’t have any nutritional drawbacks to it and it can be incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day.
#6 Recommended Herbs for Childhood Obesity
There really aren’t any herbs that are meant for childhood obesity. Unless they are herbs meant for spices, childhood obesity is something that can only be fixed through changing your child’s dietary habits. This means that there really isn’t any magical herb that is going to make your child shed the weight. The only type of herb that would be good is a healthy herb to spice foods up with rather than oils, butters, and artificial flavorings. Some research suggests that ginger could aid in weight loss.
#7 Recommended Fruits for Childhood Obesity
The type of fruits that are best for fighting off childhood obesity are going to be “rainbow fruits”. As the name suggests, this means that you are going to want fruits (and vegetables) of all colors of the rainbow. Red fruits can be apples, cherries, strawberries, and raspberries. Orange fruits can be, well, oranges. Mangoes are also a good choice. For yellow fruits, bananas are a good option. Adding some lemons into your child’s diet somewhere is also good. Green fruits can include sour apples, watermelon (in moderation — it has a lot of sugar), and avocados. For blue fruits, blueberries are a perfect choice. Last but not least, the perfect purple fruit for your child to eat will be a bunch of grapes. Depending on how old your child is, you can have a little bit of fun with fruits of the rainbow.
#8 Recommended Vitamin/s for Childhood Obesity
As with all growing children, getting all the vitamins that are recommended for your child is the best thing to do. Unless your child has a deficiency in one vitamin, you shouldn’t overly focus any of the vitamins. Making sure that your child is getting the vitamins that he or she needs will help the body’s metabolism significantly, which will in turn help fight off childhood obesity.
#9 Recommended Mineral/s for Childhood Obesity
As with the vitamins, unless your child has a deficiency in one area, then there is no reason to overly focus on getting one specific mineral in your child’s diet. One of the keys to fighting off childhood obesity is making sure that your child’s diet is well rounded and balanced. Getting the daily recommended value for all the minerals that your child needs is the best way to achieve a balanced meal. When your child’s body doesn’t have to compensate for a lack of a certain mineral, your child will be in much better health.
#10 Discouraged Foods for Childhood Obesity
The biggest things that you will want to avoid to prevent childhood obesity are foods that have bad fats, high sodium, and high sugar. Bad fats, well, contribute to more fat in the body. This is the opposite of fighting off childhood obesity. Sodium is not good for the heart as it can increase blood pressure. Coupled with the other problems from childhood obesity, high amounts of salt are the last thing your child needs in a diet. Removing salt from your child’s diet is also going to help your child adjust to the taste of healthy foods better so that your child will not be looking for the overly flavored foods at the supermarket any more. The same concept applies to foods with a lot of sugar in them.