Dr. Caren Glassman
“It isn’t news that we are all getting heavier faster than previous generations. Childhood Obesity is at a record high and it affects kid’s health. We all know that the formula for losing weight is to eat less and exercise more.The real question is how can we teach these habits to young children. When we see children in our clinic, we try to keep things simple:
- Stop Drinking Calories. The problem is that the beverage industry has done a wonderful job of convincing us that their drinks are healthy. Young children drink juice, school aged kids drink sports drinks, teenagers drink soda and adults drink café-latte-grande-mocha-chinos. 8 ounces of each of these products adds 200-400 additional, non-essential calories to our day. For many people, just drinking milk and water and considering all other beverages as treats will control weight.
- Limit Treats to One Each Day. We all enjoy sweets and treats and denying ourselves only results in future binging. Everyone can have one treat a day but this requires us to be mindful. If children are going to go to an ice cream social with their grandparents in the evening, that is not the day to have pancakes with syrup for breakfast. If children have a birthday celebration in school with cupcakes, that evening, dessert should be fruit.
- Portion Out Your Food. Teach children that their fist is an approximate portion size for all food. A healthy way for kids to approach dinner is to put a fist size of each food offering onto their plates: a fist size of chicken, a fist size of broccoli, a fist size of pasta and a fist size of grapes. Instruct your child to drink a fist size of water prior to eating. If the child is still hungry after finishing their plate, then drink another fist size of water and prepare another fist sized serving of each. This technique really slows down eating and reduces caloric intake to what our bodies need.
Remember, teaching kids to eat properly and healthfully will give them the best opportunity for growth and lifelong weight management.”