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About kids and weight loss....

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Several of my kids are overweight. They are watching me do Sparkpeople, which is working for me. I'm willing to go slowly with myself, and my goal is to lose 1 lb. per week. It's working, and I've been amazed at how easy it's been. I've lost almost 8 pounds.

Back to my kids,

I need a menu of suggested lunches for kids with portion sizes. I understand the idea of just offering healthier foods and encouraging exercise, but we're looking for clearer guidelines about what the average healthy kid is eating each day. I think we've been overeating for so long that we (all) just don't know what the right amount of calories/portion sizes to aim for.

Free info. from the Internet would be the best, because I'm looking for "immediate dietary reform", lol!

I'm also willing to pay for a book, if you have any suggestions.



p.s. Please excuse grammatical problems in this post--I'm on strike from proofreading for today!

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I don't have a website for you - other than the part on sparkspeople for families (called family adventure or something like that?) I really want to check it out but don't know if it will help us.


My ds10 (a bit on the tubby side) has lost weight as we have eliminated all foods with high fructose corn syrup in them.


We are trying to do more "purposeful exercise". Ds10 has been walk/jogging 2 miles every day.


Hopefully someone else will have other suggestions for you more along the line of your original question!

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Were you around when T-Tapp was giving away free DVD's? I finally got around to watching it.

They have some great exercises on there, and after poking around the web site, I love her "diet" advice.

It reminds me of Jack LaLanne... just eat God Made food 2 days, and Man Made foods 1 day. So, that means that the portions are as important as WHAT they are eating. If they eat real food you can eat more than if you eat processed stuff like hotdogs, bologna, canned stuff..ect..


I know it isn't specific like you were looking for, but when you think about it, it is so easy.

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I think I would create entities for your children on sparkpeople and then help them enter the food they eat every day. That will help educate all of you about portion size.


For example, I found that a single piece of white bread with a thin coating of peanut butter makes a fine lunch. (I used to eat two for lunch.) Unlimited fresh fruit has also worked well here. Within two weeks of entering everything I ate every day, I had a good idea of what a reasonable meal looked like. I still remember the day I ate a tablespoon of sunflower seeds and entered that. No more sunflower seeds for me! Too many calories in a small bite. Found out I could eat 17 little pretzels at night, though.


I've read diet books, calorie books, etc. We even have a calorie reference book to look up different foods. None of them have worked as well as tracking actual food intake on sparkpeople for two weeks. That's what I would recommend.

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We don't watch portion sizes with healthy food as much as we should and it's starting to affect my husband and I. This is something I need for my children as well. I hope someone will have a great link! If not, I am thinking your pediatrician might be able to give a good caloric intake and then you can go from there for how your family eats... I wonder if there is a weight watchers for young people?



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Well then... :) In the last fitness book I read, the portion sizes were denoted as "what can fit in the palm of your hand." That to him was a good size because it got smaller or larger with the size of the person. A piece of meat should be not larger than the palm of the hand. The potato should be as small as your hand.

He didn't say that about salads. It was understood that one could eat as much veggies or salad as one could feel they wanted to. Maybe you can try to make sure they eat more veggies and then keep the meat/rice/potato type stuff down to no more than their hand size.

There are sophisticated caloric tables I've seen, and from what I know, it is too hard to figure out on a daily basis. I do know that when I eat more veggies, I can feel full eating more, with fewer total calories. IF I eat more bread and starches, I can't eat nearly as much quantity and I get hungry again. So, I've never limited my boys on what they can eat when it is healthy stuff.

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He didn't say that about salads. It was understood that one could eat as much veggies or salad as one could feel they wanted to. Maybe you can try to make sure they eat more veggies and then keep the meat/rice/potato type stuff down to no more than their hand size. ...


This seems very reasonable to me. Assuming that you are not adding oil or dairy, etc, to the fruit and veggies, it's not possible to eat too much -- in fact, the more the better.


Beginning a meal with a vegetable soup or salad course (limited dressing) can get more nutrients into all of you and cut down on the total number of calories you'll even *want* to eat over the course of the meal. I've found that while I was relying on bagged salads for "ease", they tend to go bad more quickly than heads of lettuce, and there's just not much there. Instead, I now buy a number of heads of different lettuces (romaine, red oak, boston leaf, red leaf, etc, -- not iceberg) and prepare one or two per meal. If you slice lettuce, it'll bruise, but I don't find that a problem if it's done immediately before the meal. Slice off the base, then slice vertically through the leaves a few times so that when you slice across the leaves, you don't end up with huge ribbons of lettuce. For *me*, I find I can eat more salad if the pieces of lettuce are smaller. Maybe that's a personal quirk though. ;)


I would limit meats -- just don't *prepare* more than one serving per person (size of a deck of cards or smaller per person) -- so when it's gone, it's gone. They can continue to fill up on fruits or veggies, as much as they like (as long as the veggies aren't drenched in oil or dairy products). ... For *me* limiting grains is vital as well. For example, a serving of past is 1/8 of a 1lb bag. We buy whole grain (brown rice pasta for us because of ds' food allergies, but there are whole wheat or multi-grain pastas out there), and I prepare half a bag of pasta for the four of us. ... There have been times in my life, when I would eat almost that much on my own, sigh, but my being careful to measure *before* I cook, I can't give in to the temptation to have "just a little more" at the table... For rice, a serving is about 1/3 C dry or 1 C cooked. (Serve the rice with a 1/2 C measure -- that way everyone gets seconds!) For bread, one slice at a meal -- I prefer sprouted grain breads for higher nutrients to calories...


Beans are another great one. High in protein, fiber and other nutrients, but low in calories. They fill you up and (like fruits and veggies), if they're prepared with minimal additional fat, you really can't overeat on them. (My problem is eating multiple servings with *rice* or other grain with my legumes -- when I limit the grains, I lose weight easily...)


Dh and I have recently been following the "Eat to Live" (Dr. Joel Fuhrman) diet, and have felt really good on it. It was tough at first, but 6 weeks in, we don't have much desire to quit (though we do allow ourselves occasional planned "cheats" to eat the thing we *most* want in the world). I lost 21lbs in the first five weeks. (I've been too sick to be strict about it this week, so I haven't checked my weight this week.) Dh, who had very little to lose, only lost a handful. (But he also had to cheat more due to travel, etc.) Anyway, Dr. Fuhrman also has a book called "Disease-Proof Your Child". I haven't read it yet, but it might be useful to you.


Dr. Sears' "The Family Nutrition Book" is also a good resource...



Eat to Live



Disease-Proof Your Child



Family Nutrition Book


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I get a little concerned when people talk about their kids needing to lose weight. Maybe your kids really do. If so, I would pursue that under a doctor's care. In our family (6 kids between 7 and 14 yo), I've found for the girls, that they get a little chunky between 10 and 12 and then they lean out. My concern is more of developing "disordered eating" and skewing body image than kids of this age being a little chunky. I am leary of having my kids purposely diet or even keep track of intake. My preference is to offer plenty of real food - follow Abbeyej's advice with clear soups and salads as starters, fruit for dessert, and lots of veggies/hummus/almonds through the day. Get rid of the sugar and white flour, but offer good stuff to replace - fun fruit, smoothies, etc. And be sure you all are engaging in active family activities - bike rides, walks, etc.


I've mentioned this, but I really like the Eat Lean books by Tosca Reno. She advocates eating every 3 hours or so. You don't get hungry this way and decide at 4:30 in the afternoon to make chocolate chip cookies.


Just my 2 cents.


:) Cindy

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Lunches for kids (age 7 and 11). In all cases, they drink water with lunch and are welcome to more healthy food if they are hungry:


a) Tuna mayo sandwich (half round) with two little oranges and a peeled carrot cut into strips

b) Chicken breast marinated in lemon juice, garlic and olive oil and sauteed, with brown rice, green veggy and apple

c) Chicken wing drumsticks cooked with garlic and a little olive oil, pasta with olive oil, green veg and banana

d) Left over cooked chicken breast cubed and mixed with cucumber and tomato and a little mayonnaise (you don't need much because of the tomato juice) stuffed into whole grain pita.


The UK portion size for fruit and veggies is the size of the child's fist. So five or six fist-sized portions per day.



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I know someone out there has what I'm looking for!

I *know* all of the things about filling up on fiber-rich veg & fruits.

I know about whole grains.

I know about encouraging healthy exercise opportunities and participating as a family.

I know the standard info about how to determine how big a serving size is.

I know about kids not dieting, but making "healthy lifestyle choices".



but.......{insert pitiful whine here}

I just want, for a little while, to jump start all of that by having a pre-set menu complete with serving sizes listed for each person. I don't want to have to do the counting of fruits & veggies, and the adding up of protiens, kwim? -Just for a little while.

I also don't want to have to come up with healthy meal ideas on my own right now. I think that may come later, but for right now I think I need someone to tell me what to make for lunch.

When we've discussed grocery budgets in the past, wasn't there a government website that had a sample month of meals for each budget level, (or somethin' like that?) Were the menus listed basically well-balanced, (perhaps with substitutions of better quality whole grains and fresh produce etc)? Did it list the portion sizes for each person?

Thanks again,


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I also don't want to have to come up with healthy meal ideas on my own right now. I think that may come later, but for right now I think I need someone to tell me what to make for lunch....




Eat to Live includes a couple of weeks of daily meal plans. As I said, I haven't read his book on feeding children yet (Disease-Proof Your Child), but according to the reviews, it has meal plans as well.

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