To Help Kids Lose Weight, Check The Fridge

Nutrition and exercise are keys. Set goals. If they exercise five days a week, let them go see a movie of their choice!


(A recent study provided worrisome . Here is another in a continuing series of articles on how families, institutions and government can help us eat healthier, exercise more and slim down.) 


Guest Blog By Linda Michaelis RD, MS

Summer is here!  It can be a time to get your child in shape and achieve an ideal weight or a time to establish bad eating habits that can last.  The objective is to provide the right foods that your child will enjoy. Let me tell you about my recent work with one local family.

My initial meeting was at their home where I went through their refrigerator and cupboards to show them the healthy vs. the unhealthy foods. I interviewed all family members to find out what their favorite meal and snack foods were. I instantly saw why all of the family members have weight problems. Most of the foods were highly processed such as frozen Eggo waffles and pancakes, Kraft mac and cheese, lean pockets, frozen pizzas, bagels, french bread, high sugar cereals like Honey Bunches of Oats and tubs of rich ice cream. The only existence of fruit and veggies were a couple bags of frozen broccoli and a bunch of bananas on the counter. 

I first taught all of the family members how to read the food label for important facts such as protein, fiber, fat, sugar and calories per serving.  I realized that it was my job to teach the family that healthy food can be delicious.  I began by suggesting some modifications to their favorites such as Van's whole wheat waffles and Krusteaz Oatbran Pancake Mix. I suggested they serve their macaroni and cheese with equal amounts of broccoli which they loved. I taught the family how to make their own pizzas from whole wheat pizza dough. These are now available along with low fat cheese, lighter pizza sauce and veggies. I introduced the family to many 100% whole wheat items like Orowheat Sandwich Thins, English Muffins, La Tortilla Factory Tortillas, Couscous and Pasta. They now love having one cup cooked pasta, rice, or starch along with two cups tasty sautéed veggies in garlic and olive oil along with a sprinkle of parmesan. We also discussed buying portion sized fudgeicles, creamsicles and fruit juice bars rather than ice cream tubs.

Mom, Dad and I went to Trader's Joes where I was thrilled to show them new items that they can add to the family menu such as healthy potstickers, soups, frozen wild fish, fresh arugula, spinach, and fresh veggies in bags that are cleaned and cut and ready to be cooked. We also discovered brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat couscous, along with cottage cheese, Greek yogurts and salads. I made a point to go over all the food labels for all the new items they bought so they could understand how nutritious they are. They were shocked how many great convenient items that are available.

I returned to their home a week later where I reviewed everyone's food diary. We discussed best snacks to keep on hand that the kids would like. Ants on a log were their favorite, made of peanut butter stuffed in celery sprinkled with raisins. The kids were happy to hear that they can have a dessert each day as long as they are having veggies at lunch and at dinner.  The parents informed me of what restaurants they frequent, and I helped them learn what the best choices were from the menu. For example, once a week they order Chinese and I helped them tweak their typical choices with the addition of more veggies and less noodley and rice dishes. Last week they enjoyed lettuce wraps, Mongolian chicken and sweet snowpeas for dinner.

Like most kids, Mom explained how difficult it is get the kids to become more active. Goals need to be set. I suggested that a couple of times a week they should have a family bicycle ride, make sure the kids swim a certain amount of laps each day and have mom and dad switch off with taking the kids for a walk. The kids are involved with summer softball, although it is not consistent exercise. Make it fun for them by setting up incentives. If they exercise five days a week, let them go see a movie of their choice! This summer there will be slipups with backyard parties and sleepovers. Talk with  your child on how to make the next meal a better choice to balance out the overeating.

I am meeting with this family each week, checking on their progress, continuing to educate and support them in their desire to create a healthy family plan for the summer.

Please feel free and call me about your family concerns.

Linda's office is located in Alamo. She says most health insurance plans now pay for nutritional counseling. Please visit www.LindaRD.com for more information, helpful tips, recipes or call at (925) 855-0150.

(Read more about the obesity epidemic and what you can do to counter it.)


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stephen Melinger June 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Processed foods in general are not nutritious or have their nutritional value defeated by additives such as coloring, sugars and fillers. Natural foods that have been around since civilization started like berries and nuts are also good tasting.
KFrances June 30, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Beware of Genetically Modified Food - GMO's are polluting America's food - 80% of corn and soy in the US is GMO. I think it is improatant not to overfocus on food with young girls. There are a lot of eating diorders and there are control issues with food and families. Stay away from GMO's and stay active.
Bryn Thenell June 30, 2012 at 03:30 PM
There are no studies that show that food containing GMO's is harmful, nor are there any studies that show organic food keeps one healther than non-organic. There is lots of anecdotal information out there, but none proved by actual scientific methods. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to make the choices they think best, I tend to base mine on fact not what's most often heard and repeated.
Michael Austin June 30, 2012 at 06:12 PM
There is a UC Davis study published Friday and printed in the Friday edition of the CCT that determined the lost taste of todays tomatos is linked to GMO, by breeding tomatos to ripen evenly and harvest easier. UC biochemist Ann Powell and her team have pinpointed the genetic mutation responsible for the loss of sweatness. What makes tomatos look so nice in a supermarket display is a disabled GLK2 gene. This gene could be reintroduced back into the tomato seed if the industry was so inclined. Cherry tomatos and eccentric heirloom varieties have the GLK2 gene intact. Although this abscent gene in regular tomatos causes no harm to the consumer the quality of the tomato is lost with 20% less sugar. Also there is 30% less lycopene, a red pigment.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »