If your child’s pediatrician informs you that he is overweight and needs to slim down, be sure to ask for a specific weight loss goal and advice on how to help your child safely lose weight. Losing weight can help prevent your child from developing type 2 diabetes and other health issues later in life. In addition to the plan provided by the pediatrician, there are some steps you can take at home to help your child safely meet his weight loss goal.
The key to helping your child lose weight is to provide him a diet full of low and medium glycemic index foods. The glycemic index measures how fast carbohydrates are processed by the body into sugar. High glycemic index foods are starchy, low fiber, or highly processed foods like white bread, pancakes, potatoes, and corn. Tropical fruits like bananas and pineapples, stone ground whole wheat bread, pasta, ice cream, and high fiber cereals are examples of medium glycemic index food and are more likely to cause weight gain than low glycemic index foods. Examples of low glycemic index foods are broccoli, carrots, apples, pears, unsweetened peanut butter and unsweetened yogurt.
The low and medium glycemic index foods help your child keep his blood sugar steady and feel full longer, unlike high glycemic index foods. When your child eats a meal loaded with high glycemic index foods, such as pizza, his blood sugar will rise quickly and then fall, leaving him feeling grouchy and hungry later. Shift the menu for family meals towards more low and medium glycemic index foods. Include protein with every meal and snack. Avoid highly processed food, like cheese puffs, and fast food as much as possible, and encourage your child to exercise daily.
However, don’t limit calories, totally ban certain food types, or restrict your child to low-fat foods. Also, the latest diet fad and diet supplements used by adults can be harmful to kids and shouldn’t be used to help kids lose weight.