If you are looking to cut your carbs, it may feel like everything is off limits to you. Thankfully, there are a lot of great options out there. First of all, reducing carbs doesn’t mean cutting them out entirely. Ideally, you’re replacing the more refined carbohydrates, like white flour products, white rice and white potatoes, with higher fiber, more whole-type foods, like non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, berries and legumes. These types of carbs cause a low and slow sugar release, which provides a steady source of fuel to the brain, without excessively raising insulin, the fat-storing hormone. The rule of thumb is to eat as close to nature as possible, and choose foods that are higher in fiber. Subway may be a “sandwich place”, but it is loaded with easy ways to cut your carbs. My favorite is to have a low carb wrap loaded with all of the non-starchy vegetables, some avocado (where available) and some lean protein. If they have a bean or lentil soup, that is another great option you can try. Cutting carbs doesn’t mean cutting out great taste. Experiment with all of the great veggies, whole grains and legumes, and you will hit a taste-bud homerun.
Leans meats like chicken and fish can serve as a healthy replacement for ground beef. They're delicious too!
Instead of ground beef, use ground chicken or lean ground pork for you burgers, it’s tasty and much healthier. If you have trouble finding ground chicken breast or extra lean ground pork, don’t cheat it, you don’t need the extra fat and calories. Instead, ask your butcher to grind chicken breast of pork tenderloin for you. They’re very likely to do it at no extra charge. Or you can do it by yourself. Just cut the chicken or pork into cubes, put it in your food processor and pulse it until it’s about the same consistency of ground chicken or pork. You’re likely to save a bundle.
Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Please parents, teach your children healthy eating habits early on.
Certainly what’s most important to keep in mind is that a parent in their best desire to help their children, need to avoid negative reinforcement ‘don’t do this’, ‘ I told you not to do that’, ‘if you do this you know what may happen’. It’s important for parents to realize that those kinds of approaches aren’t particularly effective. Rather a multidisciplinary approach that is the use of exercise, the use of diet, the use of behavior modification, to change children’s behavior and have the whole family participate.
So what approach would encourage physical activity and selective eating?
I think it’s important to start with an assessment of the family to get a sense of the family dynamic and what they are capable of doing. Secondly, careful analysis of the child’s physical activities in the past and the present are also important. And lastly and perhaps the most important element is an analysis of the current diet and dietary intake. Once those three assessments are made, and readiness for change is established, the family can start their journey towards re-engineering their lifestyle towards leading a healthier lifestyle. And all those leads must be addressed. Proper parenting skills, proper exercise, proper eating are all key elements in a successful lifestyle change.
So the family that decides to keep certain foods out of the house will generally have better success than those who have all those candies and junk foods around that kids are apt to grab?
I think it’s difficult for children to make choices when faced with a temptation of foods that have a great appeal that they’ve been eating for a long time. And I certainly think that given the context that these children have grown up in, it is much better to remove the particularly problematic foods from the home. Now, of course the major philosophy of our program and others is to moderate intake. That means not to completely exclude, but rather to minimize the amount of exposure to problematic foods. This however must be done within the context of appropriate behavioral support otherwise it’s likely to fail and a cycle of negative reinforcement continue.
So a rapid weight loss is not ideal; to slow weight loss and changing the lifestyle is ideal?
A slow and steady weight loss associated with appropriate lifestyle change is just the most ideal way to approach weight loss in some children. That may mean no weight loss at all, but rather continued linear growth while the child grows taller but maintains about the same weight, by definition they will be getting lighter for their size and this too might be an appropriate goal to expect for the child.
Sometimes kids go on a diet and they do really a good job and they get to a period where they stagnate and just stop losing the weight. How can we get them through this kind of period so they don’t give up?
Like most everything else that requires behavioral change it’s important to understand that there will be peaks and valleys in terms of how we succeed in maintaining this kind of lifestyle change. It’s important not to allow negative feelings to prevent the child from remembering the successes that they’ve had in the past and look forward to the successes that they will have in the future. It can’t be stressed enough that children will experience ebbs and flows in success in approaching lifestyle change and not to discard all the positive change they made if they express a period or episode where they’re not that successful.