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Different Ways for Children to Lose Weight

  • Regular, balanced meals every day Serve regular meals, especially breakfast and lunch, to help children avoid overeating later in the day.  Some children do better with 4 -5 small meals per day rather than 3 larger ones.
  • Low Calorie Beverages Limited sweetened beverages. Serve low fat milk, 100% juice (small amounts), water, and other calorie free and low calorie beverages.
  • Low Calorie Substitutes    For children over two years of age: low fat dairy products, light mayonnaise, light salad dressings, lean lunch meats, egg substitutes, low fat spaghetti sauce, etc. See Low Calorie Substitutes handout.
  • Snacks and Desserts Cut down on snacks, or buy low calorie snacks.  Eliminate bedtime snacks and snacks after dinner. See Low Calories Snacks handout.
  • Tablespoon approach Dish up the usual amount of food on the plate, but before serving, take away one to two teaspoons or tablespoons of the different kinds of foods on the plate. This cuts 5 - 15% of calories at every meal. See The Tablespoon Approach handout.
  • Increase physical activity Build up to 60 minutes or more per day. See Physical Activity Strategies for Children.
  • Plate method Fill one half of the plate with low calorie vegetables. The remaining half of the plate should be divided between starchy foods and protein foods. This approach is an excellent way to eat balanced meals and cut calories at the same time. The plate method can be used for every meal or for one to two meals per day or per week. See The Plate Method handout.
  • Calorie Diets Children may be given calorie diets if they are extremely overweight or have developed medical complications from being overweight. See a physician or dietitian for more information.