One of the largest challenges that any child can face is being overweight. Not only are overweight children more likely to be heavy adults, but they also face many emotional and physical side effects even as kids because of the extra weight. They may become withdrawn, suffer from low self-esteem, and avoid activities that they enjoy because they feel that they are too overweight to participate.
If your child or teenager is overweight and needs to lose weight, they can follow some of these easy-to-use diet and fitness tips. These will help them change their minds about healthy food and get moving in a fun, yet effective, way.
No one wants to go on a “diet” and kids most certainly will balk at the idea of diet food. But healthy eating principles are more than just a fad diet or something that will last for a few weeks. Nutritious noshing should be an essential part of any child’s everyday life (as well as any adult!) and so kids need to apply principles to their everyday eating that can be turned into long-term habits. Some ways that kids can change how they eat and lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way include:
- Cut back on junk food, but do not cut it out completely. Many kids struggle with feeling like they cannot eat the things that they really love because they are on a diet. If your teen or kid simply eats what they love in moderation, filling up on the good stuff and then having junk food as an occasional treat, they can lose weight and keep it off. As soon as a kid thinks that they can never have French fries or candy again, they will covet them even more. Moderation is the key with junk food.
- Focus on eating at the table and not in front of the television. Kids should avoid eating in front of the television or the computer, because this is when they eat when they are not hungry and eat more than they need to. Try encouraging everyone in the family to eat meals and snacks at the kitchen table.
- Avoid fast foods and make meals and snacks at home. Fast food can be dangerous to any healthy lifestyle. Children who eat meals and snacks at home as opposed to at fast food restaurants tend to be at healthier weights than those who exist solely on drive-through fare.
- Build meals around fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals and are the perfect base for any meal or snack. Kids can lose weight simply from swapping French fries and candy for veggies and fruits.
No healthy life makeover for kids is complete without exercise. Some top tips for kids to follow to get in shape and stay healthy include:
- Move for 20-30 minutes a day. Kids can walk their dog around the blog, go for a jog, shoot hoops in the front yard, jump rope or any other physical activity for 20-30 minutes per day. This can help them to get active and burn calories while doing something that is enjoyable.
- Take up a new sport. Sports are one of the best ways for kids and teens to lose weight because they are fun and they foster a sense of connection with other kids. Look for neighborhood baseball or soccer leagues, sports at school that are “no cut” sports (like track and cross country) or even sports leagues at your local gym or church.
- Play video games that are active. Many new video games combine video game play with exercise, such as Wii games. Kids can play these for a half an hour or so after school and get the necessary activity they need to be healthy.
Teenagers and children can also find out more healthy eating tips and exercise tactics when they attend fitness camps. These summer weight loss camps can help them to foster healthful eating habits, learn new exercises and make new friends all at the same time. They can help to teach kids methods for weight loss that they can use for the rest of their lives. They may also help kids who were suffering from low self-worth to get out of their shells and meet new people.