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Preventing Further Weight Gain in Children

Pick one or two strategies to start with.  Add additional strategies as needed.

  • Establish regular mealtimes and serve balanced meals A "balanced" meal includes a protein food, starchy food, fruit or vegetable, and a healthy beverage. Do not force children to eat when they are not hungry, but if they refuse a meal, do not give them any food until the next regularly scheduled meal.
  • Eat all meals and snacks at the table.
  • Reduce the number of snacks or choose low calorie snacks. See Low Calorie Snacks handout.
  • Switch to some low calorie foods: low fat mayonnaise, light salad dressings, lower fat dairy products. See Low Calorie Substitutes handout.
  • Eat fewer fast food meals.
  • Avoid buying foods that are easy to overeat: chips, candy, ice cream, etc. Get rid of open bowls of candy, chips, etc. in any room of your house.
  • Avoid using food as a reward. Make a list of non food rewards for your child.
  • Restrict computer, video games, and television to 2 hours (or less) per day. Get your child involved in enjoyable physical and social activities instead. See Physical Activity & Exercise - Children and Adolescents section.