Childhood Obesity Diet

How can you as a parent help your child eat healthy diet?

childhood obesity preventionParents should know their children’s nutritional needs. Use what you learn to help your children learn a healthy attitude about eating. Altering the way your entire family eats is essential, without keeping taste as a priority. The importance here should be on family to work together to improve family health, versus making it a problem that only affects your child.

How can I help my child eat a more healthy diet?

Parents should support their children in many areas to achieve a healthy weight. He or she needs your support, tender discipline, and enthusiastic participation. Involve your children in food shopping and meal preparation.
Start by getting a healthy food plan.

Upto 2 years Old:

Infants from birth to 6 months of age should feed on breast milk as it provides good nutrition and saves against infection. Breast feeding should be continued for at least the first year if possible. Breast-fed babies, mostly if dark-skinned, who do not get regular exposure to sunlight may need to receive Vitamin D supplements.

If breast feeding is not desired or not possible, iron-enriched formula (not cow's milk) can be used during the first 12 months of life. Cow's milk can be used to change formula or breast milk after 12 months of age.

At 4-6 months of age, use iron-rich foods, iron-enriched cereals, and other grains. Do not give honey to infants during the first 6 to 12 months of life.

Start new foods one at a time to make it easier to identify problem foods. For example, wait one week before adding each new cereal, vegetable or other food. Do not limit fat during the first 2 years of life.

food pyramid

2 Years and Older:

Provide a variety of foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Use salt (sodium) and sugars in moderation. Encourage a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Help your child maintain a healthy weight by providing proper foods and encouraging regular exercise.

What your child eats is very important for his or her health. Follow the nutrition guidelines below.

Grain Group
• 1 slice of bread
• 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta
• 1/2 cup of cooked cereal
• 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal

childhood obesity dietVegetable Group
• 1/2 cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables
• 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables

Fruit Group
• 1 piece of fruit or melon wedge
• 3/4 cup of juice
• 1/2 cup of canned fruit
• 1/4 cup of dried fruit

Milk Group
• 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt
• 2 ounces of cheese

Meat Group
• 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish
• 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, or 1 egg counts as 1 ounce of lean meat. 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of meat.

Fats and Sweets
• Limit calories from these.

Four-to-6 year-olds can eat these serving sizes. Offer 2-to-3 year-olds less, except for milk. Two-to-6 year-old children need a total of 2 servings from the milk group each day.

childhood obesity diet
Reduce unhealthy foods. Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

Eat adequate energy (calories) to support growth and development and reach a healthy body weight.

Choose a variety of foods to get enough carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients.

Cut back on fat. Keep total fat intake between 30-35 percent of calories for children 2 to 3 years of age and between 25-35 percent of calories for children and adolescents 4 to 18 years of age. Most fats should come from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils. Recommended average daily fat intake.
o Saturated fat - 7%-10% of total calories
o Total fat - Limit to 25%-30% of total calories
o Cholesterol - Less than 300 mg per day

Eat only enough calories to maintain a healthy weight for your height and build.

Serve whole-grain breads and cereals rather than refined grain products. Look for “whole grain” as the first ingredient on the food label and make at least half your grain servings whole grain.

Serve a variety of fruits and vegetables daily, while limiting juice intake. Each meal should contain at least 1 fruit or vegetable. Children’s recommended fruit intake ranges from 1 cup/day, between ages 1 and 3, to 2 cups for a 14–18-year-old boy. Recommended vegetable intake ranges from 3/4 cup a day at age one to 3 cups for a 14–18-year-old boy.

Serve nonfat and low-fat dairy foods.

Estimated calories needed by children range from 900/day for a 1-year-old to 1,800 for a 14–18-year-old girl and 2,200 for a 14–18-year-old boy.

The family should eat together whenever possible. Make meals a pleasant time for conversation and sharing the events of the day. Offer your children a variety of foods, including sweets and snack foods. All foods have a place in a healthy diet, even foods high in fat and calories—as long as they are eaten seldom and in control. Familiarize yourself with suitable serving sizes. Don't deny your child of occasional treats like chips, cake, and ice cream, especially at parties and other social events.

family eating together

Persuade your children to eat slowly. This helps them identify the feeling of fullness and stop eating when they are full. Don't prevent snacks. While continuous snacking contributes to weight gain, planned snacks are part of a healthy diet for children. A nutritious and tasty snack after school will give children the energy they need for homework, sports, and play until supper. Identify high-risk situations such as having too many high-calorie foods in the house or watching television during meal times. With the disruption of television, many people overeat.

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