Eight key points to help an overweight child lose weight.
Beyond physical discomfort, excess weight in children is synonymous with unhappiness: self-image is impacted by the mockery of peers. Psychological suffering is very real.
If this is the case for your child, you should know that there is always time to act. As a parent, you have the power to help your child, step by step, to lose weight.
1- Assess the situation
To begin, calculate his or her Body Mass Index (BMI). You will find a reliable tool here.
If it turns out that your child is obese, medical attention is required. For an overweight child, the following tips will help in the long term.
2- Change the diet
Making a child lose weight requires a change in the approach to food, not the imposition of any diet: a varied and balanced diet is essential for growth.
Therefore, favor fresh, quality food, cooked at home. Reduce carbohydrates and, above all, simple sugars.
Also read: What is a balanced meal?
3- Establish dialogue and cooperation
Establishing a caring dialogue with your child will lay the foundation for a healthy relationship with food. Involve your child in shopping and meal preparation.
This will give them the confidence to take ownership of the process.
4- Eat healthy throughout the day
Breakfast well deserves its title of “the most important meal of the day”.
To prevent snacking and thus balance blood sugar levels and weight gain, it should be hearty and varied, low in sugars and include a source of protein.
So don’t hesitate to serve your child an “English” breakfast: egg, wholemeal bread, whole fresh fruit (rather than juice).
Getting a child to lose weight requires a few sacrifices: forget the ease of sweet “cereals” and get up a little earlier.
To prevent lunch in the canteen, brief your child on which foods to choose and which to avoid. Or prepare a balanced lunch basket for your child.
As for dinner, it’s the ideal occasion to get together with the family around a healthy dish, with all the screens off.
5- Sugar, the false friend of children
Childhood is often associated with sweets and lollipops… quite wrongly!
Not only do they cause overweight and tooth decay, but their additives can also cause attention deficit disorders. So reserve them for special occasions, such as birthdays. Do the same for sodas, syrups and fruit juices; they are real sugar bombs with proven effects on weight gain.
Finally, carefully avoid compotes and dairy desserts containing added sugars.
6- Tasty alternatives
To reconcile pleasure and health, here are some alternatives: fresh fruit, toasted nuts, strawberries crushed in natural yogurt, lemonade with honey. Don’t banish cookies, but choose quality ones and limit their quantity to the snack.
7- Move together
Reducing your child’s sedentary lifestyle is essential to help them lose weight.
- Limit her screen time to one hour per day.
- Take advantage of the weekend for dynamic family activities: swimming pool walks, bike rides.
- After school, games in the park will allow him to exercise and promote good sleep.
8- The solution is in your hands
Ask yourself the right questions:
As a parent, what model do you want to give your overweight child? What could you improve in your lifestyle to give your child a taste for a healthy and active life?
It’s up to you!
Read also: What should I do if my child is overweight?