What foods can I prepare to help my pre-teen boys lose weight?

"My boys aren't teens yet (9yrs & 11yrs) but they are a tiny bit overweight.  It has been a while that I wanted them to lose some weight as I could see where this was going, but I didn't mention a single word about my concerns.  Just yesterday, the eldest said that he wants to lose some weight and again this morning. What I'm not sure of is what food to prepare as I don't want to discourage him and I also want the youngest to get interested in the process of losing some of it!  Any suggestions?"

Asked by Linda after reading the article, "Safe Dieting Tips for Teens":
In Topics: Physical Health, Nutrition
> 60 days ago



Wayne Yankus
Nov 29, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Teach them to cook. That would be a gift to them. The more you know about food i.e ingredients, labels, and preparation, the better you will eat.  Keep eating in one room--don't eat all over the house or in front of TV. Three meals and two snacks are good with emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Raw veggies with yogurt, apples and hummus, eat half a bagel not a whole one, use a non margarine/non butter spread, and a good sell is high protein foods for energy.  Delete white food. Use sweet potato sticks instead of mash, whole wheat instead of white bread, experiment with Mexican food, Indian food.  No juice or soda, 2% milk or water only. Couple this with exercise, and you will be a winner.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics

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Additional Answers (1)

Dr. Hillary
Dr. Hillary writes:
Weight loss and gain are directly related to the energy we supply our bodies by eating food and the energy burnt in daily activities. For weight maintenance, there needs to be balance between energy supply and demand. When there is more supply, the energy surplus turns into fat cells. It is only when there is more demand for energy that weight loss can begin.

The only goal of weight loss should be losing excess body fat. Losing water or muscle is not healthy and it does not improve appearance or performance! The two most important habits that anybody trying to lose weight should adopt are: developing healthy eating and getting enough physical activity.

Three square meals a day and nutritious snacks in-between are necessary for performance in our daily activities and overall health. Be mindful of your portion sizes and select foods high in fiber and low in fat and sugar. Here are some ideas to consider:

-  Replace soda and juice with water.
-  Broil, steam, or bake foods instead of frying.
-  Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, etc.
-  Replace full-fat dairy with low-fat equivalents.
-  Decrease fast food intake to once a month.
-  Remove temptation--Do not keep high-fat and high-sugar foods at  home.
-  Always eat breakfast.
-  Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal.

Let your sons get enough physical activity as well.  Physical activity helps with weight control by using energy in our bodies that otherwise would be stored as fat. Everything that we eat provides our bodies with energy. On the other hand, everything that we do utilizes that energy. The more things we do, the more energy our bodies burn and the math is simple: our body fat starts to melt away!
> 60 days ago

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