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Overweight child(37 Posts)
My son, nearly ten is very tall and heavy for his age. Lately he has developed a belly, double chin and looks very fat compared to his peers.
I cook from scratch but he generally refuses vegetables so his diet is mainly eggs, meat, yoghurt, apples, milk, cheese, bananas, rice , bread and cereal. I don't let him have juice, fizzy drinks or biscuits, cereal bars, crisps or sugary snacks.
He eats alot and I realize his intake is carb heavy.
Should I cut his portions?
He does plenty of sport in and out of school and 3x week swimming but is not a super active child, happier indoors than out.
I've battled wirh vege since weaning and my other children happily eat salad etc without complaining.
For the record DH is also a salad dodger and podgy.
Would he eat things that look like carbs but are better versions? You can get pasta made with pea flour, lentils or chickpeas which has a similar (though not identical) consistency and flavour but is much lower in carbs. You could also switch regular potatoes for sweet potatoes and cauliflower rice for regular rice.
Would he consider very bland vegetables? Things like cauliflower mixed in with macaroni cheese.
If you can make the things he already eats healthier, it might be easier than just trying to get him to eat a straight up salad.
I would try and cut the meat, carb and cheese portions and bulk up the meal in other ways so that he's still eating plenty, but with a healthier balance.
I also think it's worth talking to him - no need or benefit in saying you think he's looking overweight, but say that he needs to start upping his veg intake and ask what he would be willing to try. I would get him cooking too, as he might be more willing to eat veggies he's had a hand in preparing.
I would also talk to your husband and see if he will up the veg to set a good example.
Reduce carb portion size and Google creative ways to get kids eating veg, then pile those up. But also talk to him about making healthy food choices and why, and explain to him that you can develop a taste for foods you previously didn't like.
He is wearing 12/14 clothes and is yet to turn 10.
I have spoken to him about health and that being a fit and able sportsman means a balanced diet.
It does not help not having DH on board but he rarely is home for meals in the week so it is really my battle.
I do my best to disguise vege, in pasta sauce etc but he picks anything visible out and gags when I insist vegetables are eaten.
He is always" starving " after school and inhales toast bananas and milk
Do you think taking him to the GP would help?
Get him to food shop with you and look at different veg and then get him involved in different ways of cooking them til he finds stuff he likes. My kids discovered a love for courgette fried in dill and baked beetroot this way!
His diet sounds pretty healthy. Do you thing it is simply too much or is he eating elsewhere too?
I guess it must be portion sizes, because there’s nothing in his diet that is particularly fattening - more veg would obviously add nutrition but won’t curb the weight gain, unless you replace a lot of the other food with it. If he’s active I wouldn’t worry about eating ‘carb heavy’ at that age, he’s still growing. Cut down on portions and up the exercise I think.
I think it is a combo of excess and carbs. Currently we are on holiday . I have got him to agree to a small salad portion at dinner.
Today he ate - Breakfast -2 slices of wholemeal toast with PB and 4 weetabix with milk
Shepherds pie in a ramkin
A milkshake (banana,yoghurt and milk)
Pork fillet (lots)
Grilled squid (lots)
A miniscule piece of lettuce and a fingernail sized piece of cucumber
He drinks lots of water - perhaps 2L
DH was around with his" hes a growing boy " mantra but compared to all the other kids on rhe beach he's clearly overweight.
I looked up his BMI and he's in the overweight range and also his school flagged it.
I had a miserable childhood with my mother controlling my food least I become fat and am in fear of her judging to this day.
I don't want to spread the paranoia but he has been teased a few times at swimming and school so is aware.
I don’t think on holiday is the best time to start tbh. 2 slices toast, and 4 weetabix wholegrain or not is a huge breakfast, half that would be enough for an adult. Definitely cut down on portions.
The NHS has some good tips here:
Change 4 Life has some good ideas for quick bursts of exercise disguised as games. It doesn’t need to be 30 mins all at once, it can be 10 mins here and there.
Can you plan more active activities as a family? Go out for a walk under the guise of Pokemon Go / Harry Potter / Geocaching? Have you got bikes? You could cycle to a nearby park for a picnic lunch. Doesn’t have to be far, just introduce the concept of small burst of activity and then you can gradually extend.
For children you shouldn’t be cutting out any food groups but you could gradually encourage him to make healthier choices and cut down. For example for breakfast, serve 2 weetabix biscuits and then, if he’s still hungry, offer fruit. If still hungry, offer one slice of 50/50 toast.
For sneaking veg in, get a really good hand blender. You can sneak a lot of veg in completely puréed into sauces etc.
Eat Well for less had some good ideas on a recent episode - things like a Star chart for tracking their 5 a day; and instigating “try day Friday” where they committed to trying new fruit/veg once a week.
Don’t insist on salads, tbh I hate salad too! Experiment with lots of different fruit and veg to see what works, and then stick to those.
You also need to have a word with your “D”H. While it’s true that teens actually need more calories than adults, 10 is a bit too young for it really. Teen boys can gobble entire bread loaves, pints of milk, and still be hungry for dinner, but he’s not there yet!
Thank you everyone.
Dyrne that link is really helpful.
I'm going to stop with the family style dishes and portion meals.
Recently he had a D&V bug and dropped wreght rapidly so I don't think it will take many tweaks.
My DH isn't likely to get on board unfortunately but I can make changes without him.
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Please don't worry too much about his clothes, my 11 yr old is very tall, size 11 feet and in men's clothes. They're all different, grow/develop at different rates, as long as he's happy and taking plenty of exercise he'll get leaner as he gets older
Our school uniform is shorts and he's already outgrown their largest size. Ditto with what NEXT delivers.
I have to buy trousers and cut off the legs.
Watch out for hidden sugar like in the yogurt.
What you describe sounds like massive portions, and I wonder if there may be an element of blood sugar instability? 3 bananas a day will add a lot of sugar to his intake, and 4 weetabix and 2 toast for breakfast is adding more sugars. Would he be open to having egg based breakfasts?
I suspect the large breakfast is to compensate for the imbalanced dinner, so reserves get run down overnight.
That's a lot of bananas and breakfast. His breakfast is 3 adult portions on its own. What kind of milk is he having? I'd certainly cut down on the amount of milk he consumes as he's getting calcium from cheese and yogurt. Will he eat porridge? It is far more filling than other cereals and has the added benefit of lowering unhealthy cholesterol.
How much does he actually weigh?
He is 5ft and weighs almost 8st.
Yesterday I read him an extract I found about professional rugby player nutrition ( he is very keen on rugby). It resonated.
As DH is with us on holiday, we agreed to try and keep it low key for now.
He is keen on getting a fitbit, so I will try that to monitor his exercise.
I know at school they have learnt to read labels so he is aware of fats and sugars. Unfortunately hidden sugars are very present in yoghurt, bread etc where we live.
I give them semi skimmed milk.
Porridge is an good idea. He'll eat an omelette and french toast I think.
He likes sushi and fish.
Considering his lack of vegetables the thing I find quite hard to make a lower carb supper.
That breakfast alone is going to be about 1000 calories surely?
Carbs are a bit of a red herring really it’s all about calories in calories out and carbs just are more calorie dense.
Don’t get him counting calories but I think you need to start monitoring it.
I've started having porridge with a cut up banana and a drizzle of golden syrup instead of just loads of syrup to cut my refined sugar consumption down. I add a quarter teaspoon of chia seeds too for extra protein and fibre. They don't taste of anything really but are very nutritious.
I'd cut out the smoothies and carry on with the water as it's good he drinks that.
He might be due an upwards growth spurt soon so that might even him out so to speak.
A multivitamin is a good idea. I find they cut my cravings for junk food and as he doesn't eat much in the way of fruit and veg then it's going to give him some much needed nutrients which will help regulate his appetite.
He sounds pretty active with swimming 3 times a week and the rest of what he does.
He just needs better balance with smaller portions and increased fibre and fruit and veg.
I never advise anyone to cut out food groups. Carbs are not the enemy. It's portion sizes.
My son went through similar at 10, he weighed about the same and I was struggling to find clothes to fit him, but then suddenly he shot up and lost the bulk. He is now 14 and wearing clothes I bought him 3 years ago.
Porridge is stodge. Can you get him to eat protein for breakfast? Eggs maybe?
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