Being obese as an adult is hard, imagine what it feels like for a child. Overweight kids are at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, strokes and joint problems. A healthy eating plan can help your child lose weight and reduce his chances of developing any of these life altering complications.

Prepare Meals from Scratch and Serve Them on Smaller Plates

When you work hard all day, and deal with the ins and outs of parenting and managing a household, popping in microwave meals or swinging into the nearest fast food joint to pick up dinner is easy. However, a regular diet of fast food and microwave dinners can damage your child’s health.

These foods are laced with unhealthy ingredients and filled with empty calories. If you really want to help your child manage his weight, fast food and prepackaged meals won’t cut it.

Instead of serving your youngster snack cakes, fast food, cereal bars, frozen meals, bread, pastas and other processed edibles, prepare meals from scratch using natural foods. Natural foods include lean meats, poultry, fruits, vegetables, beans, eggs, legumes and raw nuts.

Children shouldn’t have to count calories or measure food. When kids have to keep tabs on every morsel they pop into their mouths, it can lower their self-esteem and make them feel lousy. Instead of counting calories, serve meals on smaller plates.

Keep in mind, the more food you pile on a child’s plate, the more he’s likely to eat. Since small plates hold less food, your child’s portion sizes will be reduced automatically. If your child is still hungry after he finishes his first helping, you can give him a little more.

During family meals, everybody’s plate should be smaller; this way, your child won’t feel like he’s being singled out or punished for being overweight. Also, fill half of your child’s plate should be filled with vegetables and use the other half for meats and other types of food.

Serve Breakfast at Home and Pack Healthy Lunches

If your child attends school, chances are, he’s eating processed foods for lunch. Most school systems boast about providing healthy lunches for the kids, but there’s nothing nutritious about processed beef patties, chicken nuggets, frozen pizza and a bunch of canned fruits and veggies.

When your child is away from home, it’s impossible to monitor everything he eats. For all you know, he could be buying chocolate cupcakes twice a day from the school vending machine. You can minimize how much junk your child eats by serving him a nutritious breakfast at home and packing him a nutritious lunch.

Encourage Plenty of Physical Activity

Being sedentary is one of the primary reasons for obesity among children. If you really want to help your child slim down, encourage him to get off the couch. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends kids get 60 minutes of physical activity daily. This doesn’t have to happen all at once. The exercise can be broken up into 10 or 15 minute bursts throughout the day.

Some ways your child can get the exercise he needs to drop a few pounds include:

  • playing outside
  • participating in sports
  • riding a bike
  • skating
  • washing the car
  • doing household chores (vacuuming, making the bed, etc.)
  • karate
  • dancing
  • helping in the garden or bagging leaves
  • walking around the park
  • Never force your child to participate in activities he does not enjoy. If you do this, he will view exercise as punishment. Instead, help your youngster find activities he loves. Remember, a child is more likely to stay active if exercise is kept light and fun.

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