Diet plans for children… Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But take a quick look at statistics and you will see that childhood obesity is up from 6% in the seventies to an epidemic 20% in this decade. Figures from International Obesity Task Force tell us that worldwide 22 million children under the age of five are overweight or obese. And the primary reason for such steep increase in the number of obesity cases is that children today are consuming too many calories and exercising too little.
Diet Means Right Food Choices
If you are still uneasy about putting your child on a diet, then here’s something you should you know. The word ‘diet’ does not necessarily suggest a starvation regime. The word actually indicates our eating habits and our food intake. Planning your child’s diet does not mean you have to take them off specific foods. Rather, the idea is to make the right food choices. And as a parent, it is your responsibility to replace the junk foods in your child’s diet with alternatives that are healthy and taste just as great.
For example, kick-start their day with a nutritious breakfast of fruits, grains and milk. Make sure that they carry packed lunch to school. Offer wholesome mid-day snacks such as popcorns and bagels. Make sure that they drink lots of water through the day. Then at the end of the day, get them at the kitchen table for a home-cooked dinner. These are simple and easy changes. And you will be surprised by how drastically they can reduce the number of calories your child consumes each day.
The best part about effecting these changes, especially for busy parents, is that you don’t have to labor over lengthy recipes in the kitchen. All you need is to get a little creative to keep your little ones interested in the healthy alternatives. For example, deep freeze some grapes on hot day, and your kids will love to bite into the frozen snack instead of licking onto calorie-rich ice creams. Liven up a mid-day snack of crunchy carrots with a low-cal yogurt dip. Toss salads with lots of veggies and lean beef or broiled chicken. Favor scrambled eggs over fried ones. Replace white bread with brown bread. And while you are at it, remember to control the portion size too!
Typically, kids between the age of eight and twelve get all the nutrition they need from two glasses of milk, two servings of protein, three servings of fruit, and four servings of bread and vegetables each. And now that you have their food intake under control, the next step is to get them off the couch and onto the playground.