Is a diet suitable for children? It is a fact that 1 in 7 children in the Netherlands is overweight to a greater or lesser extent. Yet you cannot just let a child follow a diet. If children are overweight, there is a good chance that they will also suffer from this when they become adults. In addition, the chance is many times greater that a child with a healthy weight will also have a healthy weight when it becomes an adult. But which guidelines can you now follow with an overweight child?
Content of this article
- Healthy weight Boys and Girls
- Having breakfast
- Move more
- Fast and Easy Weight Loss?
- Less soft drinks
- Less internet, gaming and watching television
- How much food does a child need?
- Nutrition table
- Don’t let a child die
Healthy weight Boys and Girls
What is a healthy weight for children? A healthy weight is essential for children. However, there is a difference between boys and girls:
- Healthy weight for boys
- Healthy weight for girls
But what should I do if my child is overweight?
There are two rules of thumb for overweight children:
- Eating Consciously
- Move more
We will now explain these rules of thumb in more detail.
Eating breakfast every day is very important. Children who do not eat breakfast become starving during the morning. This appetite is often satisfied with high-calorie snacks, which increases the risk of being overweight. Furthermore, breakfast is indispensable to get body and mind going after a night’s rest. It’s fuel for a new day. Have your child have breakfast with bread or cereal products every day. Are you short on time? Then have everything you need for breakfast ready the night before. You can even grease the sandwiches and put them in the fridge for as long as possible. Does your child have a little appetite? Then give your child some fruit, yoghurt or muesli. You can also give me the sandwich at ten o’clock.
Children are moving less and less, while exercise is good for them. By exercising, they expend energy, increase their muscle tissue and decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases. Children also develop their motor skills while playing and, when they play with other children, they learn
to take each other into account. Encourage your child to exercise for one to one and a half hours every day, especially by playing outside. Try to encourage your child to exercise more by cycling or walking more often when you go shopping together or take your child to school. Also, consider whether your child wants to join a sports club and whether you can participate in sporting activities together more often, such as going to the swimming pool or going on a bike ride.
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Less soft drinks
Drinking soda leads to obesity. Soda contains many calories but no other nutrients, and it does not give you a feeling of satisfaction. In addition, it is terrible for the teeth. Soft drinks mean all sweetened drinks, including non-carbonated lemonade drinks, flavoured milk drinks or orange juice and apple juice. Give your child water when thirsty—Limit soda, lemonade, or fruit juice to one glass a day. Agree with your child at what time he will receive this so that your child does not whine all day long. It is even better to agree with your child that soft drinks are only drunk at particular moments, such as a birthday. At other times he drinks water or tea.
Less internet, gaming and watching television
Too much internet, gaming and watching television also lead to obesity. This is because there is no movement while watching television and during computer or gaming. Moreover, watching a lot of television comes at the expense of playing time outside. Finally, when watching television, sweets or snacks are often also used. So more energy goes in in the form of snacks than goes out in the form of exercise. Determine in advance how long your child can watch TV.
How much food does a child need?
This differs per child; the table below roughly indicates how much food a child needs. For more information, we refer you to the Dutch Nutrition Center.
|1 to 4 years||4 to 12 years||12 to 20 yrs||Adults|
|Bread||1-3 slices||3-5 slices||5-7 slices||5-7 slices|
|Potato (or rice, pasta, legumes)||1.5 potato or serving spoon||2-3 potatoes or serving spoons||4-5 potatoes or serving spoons||3-5 potatoes or serving spoons|
|Vegetable||75 grams (1-2 vegetable spoons)||150 grams (3 vegetable spoons)||200 grams (4 vegetable spoons)||200 grams (4 vegetable spoons)|
|Fruit||1,5 fruit||, two fruits||Two fruits||Two fruits|
|Dairy||300 ml milk (products) and ½ slice of cheese||300-450/600 ml*) milk (products) and ½-1 slice of cheese||500 ml milk (products) and one slice of cheese||400 ml milk (products) and one slice of cheese|
|Meat (products), fish, chicken, egg or meat substitutes||50 grams**)||50-100 grams**)||100-120 grams **)||100-120 grams**)|
|Low-fat margarine, margarine, baking and roasting products||15 grams||15-35 grams||20-30 grams||20-35 grams|
|Drinks||0.8 litre||1-1.5 litres||1,5 litre||1,5 litre|
*) The minor amounts apply to the youngest children. For the older children in this group, 450 ml applies to the girls and 600 ml to the boys
**) This concerns the weight in grams of cooked products, for example, meat products and prepared meat together.
Don’t let a child die.
Children need a lot of nutrients, so it is not wise to follow a diet. Eating less or one-sided is no solution for an overweight child. It is essential to eat well. To encourage the child to continue to eat bread, vegetables and fruit and ensure regularity.