Is your child a little chubby, perhaps overweight or maybe obese? How can you check?
Maybe your child is a healthy weight and you simply want to guard against a weight problem being passed down the family tree from you to the kids?
How much food does a kid need to keep growing tall yet slim down the excess chubby fat? Why be concerned about your children if they are overweight?
If your child is overweight, there is not need to start a 'diet'. What you do need to do is change a few things in the child's current diet - what the child usually eats and drinks in a typical day and week.
So, out with any thought about dieting your child, and in with thoughts about making household changes to everything around food and eating.
What are some key household changes?Grocery lists, pantry staples, fridge fillers, crockery, and dining zones all get a makeover.
The fastest and first place to start is with drinks. Out with regular sugared soft drinks/soda pop, sports drinks, energy drinks, juices and cordials. In with water. If kicking the coloured drinks is going to create a battlefield, then only buy low joule/low cal/diet drinks. Be very careful and selective. Do not bring regular sugared drinks into the house for anyone else. No child needs soft drinks. Come to think of it, no healthy adult really needs soft drink either.
Replace frozen potato creations such as gems, wedges and balls with real, fresh fair-dinkum potato and other brightly coloured vegetables. It doesn't matter if those frozen creations claim to be 'oven-baked', all natural', or have a 'tick/seal of approval'. Get rid of them out of the house. You are adding to your child's weight problem if you feed your child reconstructed potato gems/wedges - no ifs, no buts.
As an adult, stay in control of the shopping list. Too often I hear parents asking their kids 'what shall we have for dinner' whilst hovering over the crumbed meats and sausages. The better question, and ideally this should have happened at home when planning the week's shopping and menu, should be loaded with a choice between better foods. For example, shall we have fresh chicken or beef strips with our vegetables?
Break the need for a feed when watching the big screen. Have everyone sit at the dining table for all meals and eating events and turn off all distractions. TV off. DVD off. No distractions. Record favourite TV shows to replay later on. Serve breakfast to be eaten sitting down before school. Serve the after-school mini-meal/snack eaten without distraction at the table or sitting outside in the fresh air. Lunch on weekends at the table or as a picnic outside - again without distraction.
Keep a watchful eye out for the fridge-divers. These are the kids who devour too much dairy product - milk, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream. These are all easy-eats. For a child who is a lazy chewer, dairy products are a quick way to swallow loads of excess fuel without even feeling full. After a big guzzle of milk, the child may still back up for dinner without any hesitation. If you're not at home when the kids come back from school, then you may not even be aware of how much dairy they're scoffing down. Make a note of how much dairy product you buy and how often you buy it. How much dairy product does a kid need to keep bones and teeth strong? It changes with age and my book "this=that child size" details the real-life actual serve sizes and number of serves for ages 4 through 13 years.