Did you know that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years? In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
What is “Overweight”?
Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.
To help your child maintain a healthy weight, help them balance the calories they consume from foods and beverages with calories used up through physical activity and normal growth.
Remember that the goal for overweight and obese children and teens is to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. Children and teens should NOT be placed on a weight reduction diet without the consultation of a health care provider.
What Can You Do?
There is no secret to healthy eating. To help your children and family develop healthy eating habits:
- Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
- Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
- Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
- Serve reasonably-sized portions.
- Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Limit consumption of sugar and saturated fat.
Remove calorie-rich temptations of high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks and replace them with easy-to-prepare, low-fat, and low-sugar treats that are under 100 calories:
- A medium-size apple
- A medium-size banana
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup grapes
- 1 cup carrots, broccoli, or bell peppers with 2 tbsp. hummus
Enjoy these 10 tips for making great tasting snacks:
- Create a yogurt sundae. Top plain, low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, like bananas, strawberries, or peaches. Sprinkle whole-grain cereal on top for crunch.
- Make pita pockets. Stuff a small whole-wheat pita with sliced bell peppers, salsa, and a slice of low-fat cheese. Melt in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
- Jazz up your favorite cereal. Make a trail mix. Stir 1/4 cup of unsalted nuts, 1/4 cup of dried raisins or cranberries, and 1/4 cup of whole-grain cereal together.
- Make a fruit sandwich. Cut an apple into thin slices. Spread peanut butter or almond butter between two slices to create apple sandwiches.
- Dip your veggies. Create veggie treats by dipping slices of cucumbers, peppers, and carrots into a low-fat salad dressing or hummus.
- Pack fresh fruit like bananas and oranges for after their school activities.
- Try a piece of cheesy toast. Toast a slice of whole-wheat bread and top a slice of your favorite low-fat cheese.
- Freeze your fruit. For a frozen treat on hot days, try freezing grapes or bananas. Don’t forget to peel bananas and pull grapes from the stem before freezing.
- Power up with roll-ups. Roll a slice of low-salt deli-turkey around an apple wedge or around a slice of low-fat cheese.
- Build a fruit salad. Mix your favorite sliced fruits such as pineapple, grapes, and melon.
For more helpful tips and resources for children and parents, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.