10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Child's Diet

By Joanna Dolgoff, MD, Child Obesity Specialist for The Biggest Loser Author of Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right

Posted on | By Joanna Dolgoff, MD

Improving your child's diet does not have to be an arduous task. Little changes add up to big nutritional gains. Here are 10 quick and easy steps to makeover your child's diet and prevent weight gain.

1. Don't allow junk food in the house.

If it isn't in the house, your kids can't eat it. Or at least they will have a more difficult time getting their hands on it. Your first line of defense starts at the grocery store. Leave your kids at home when you are grocery shopping, if possible. Make a list before you leave your house and stick to it. Don't get distracted by the tempting treats in the market. Buy healthy snacks to keep at home and save the junk for when you are out and can't avoid it.

2. Don't let your kids drink their calories.

Many children lose weight simply by giving up sugary beverages. Parents greatly underestimate the number of calories and amount of sugar in what their kids are drinking. Did you know that one can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar? You would never knowingly give your child that much sugar to drink! And juice is not much better. I think of juice as sugar water. Children do not need to drink juice for its vitamin C. They get plenty of vitamin C from other sources. Think about it. When was the last time you met somebody with scurvy? Replace these sugary drinks with water or flavored seltzers.

3. Bigger is not better.

These days, even kid-sized servings are humongous. Most children in my weight loss practice have gained weight from eating too much healthy food, not from eating all junky foods. Remember, all food (even healthy kinds) has calories and if you eat too many calories, you will gain weight. Be sure to serve your children appropriate portions of their meal. At a restaurant, share entrees or ask your waiter to pack part of your child's portion away before he starts to eat it. We all know how difficult food is to resist when it is sitting in front of you!

Article written by Joanna Dolgoff, MD
Child Obesity Specialist for The Biggest LoserAuthor of Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right