Oh no, Junior’s latest check-up shows that he’s overweight. Should you cut his food portions to control his diet? Here’s what the experts say:
Don’t decrease your child’s food portions drastically in order to facilitate weight loss. Instead, make healthier choices for his meals.
“For instance, reduce intake of foods high in saturated fats and trans fats, such as potato chips and fries. Opt for foods with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead, such as peanut butter and salmon,” advises Rebecca Goh, education specialist at Kinderland.
Also ensure that Junior is eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
“If he dislikes veggies, try presenting them to him in creative ways by cutting them up in different shapes and sizes,” says YY Low, health psychologist and principal weight management consultant of Hadara Aesthetics Boutique.
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You can also whip up tasty, kid-friendly dishes, such as veggie-patty burgers and kale chips, to get Junior to eat his greens.
Choose wholegrain foods over refined grains – for instance, brown rice over white rice, and wholegrain bread over white bread.
“Wholegrain foods contain more vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre. It’s a good idea to introduce these foods to young children, as they can then get accustomed to the taste and texture,” says YY.
When it comes to protein, Bibi Chia, principal dietitian at Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre, advises removing all visible fat and skin from meat, and avoiding high-fat and high-sodium options like chicken wings, sausages and chicken nuggets.
Limit the amount of sugar by making snacks like chocolates, ice cream and sodas an occasional treat.
“Sugar adds extra calories to your child’s diet, with little nutritional value,” cautions YY.
Rebecca recommends stocking healthy snack alternatives at home, such as fresh fruit, yogurt and oatcakes.
A version of this article first appeared in Simply Her.
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