Nutrition and "over-weight" kiddos - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-31-2002, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm hoping someone here might have some advice or hints or anything...

My poor, sedentary ds (7yo) has never lost his baby chub and just seems to keep adding on to it. He's at 86lbs I think--but honestly, you wouldn't think it to look at him. He is, and always has been, one of those incredibly solid kids that are much heavier than they look.

He isn't into junk food (Thankfully!! He has an aversion to just about every junk food except chocolate....), and we don't eat fried food.
For most of his life, I've tried to do several small meals a day, instead of 3 larger ones. We homeschool, so this option has remained open to us. We tend to have 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. Snacks being dairy products (we don't drink milk, but go through a lot of cheese and yogurt), fruit (plain), or veggies (plain).

But the poor kiddo is just like me in that as soon as he gets bored, eating is the answer. Not to mention that neither of us are particularly active (I know, I know...we should be...but our schedules are SO chaotic, I *need* the time at home to just be down time--even though in the back of my mind I know exercise would help with the chaos.)

So anyhow. I'm kind of wondering if I should still be encouraging the munching through the day, or if we should just be doing three meals a day with water or whatever in between.

oh yeah--he doesn't drink anything besides water or juice...loves his veggies. I swear I have the healthiest eater here! He and dh eat meat once or twice a week, but for the most part we all tend to chow on veggies (or Italian food...and there is no way I can avoid that one--I've got too much Italian blood in me to not have macaroni at least 3 times a week!!)

I just hate to see him living his life in sweatpants and oversized shirts just because the clothing industry thinks all kids are these scrawny little twigs.

So I suppose I'm asking advice in two areas--feeding a 7 year old (and I in no way support diets with kids--I just want him to maintain this weight for a while, until his body has a chance to grow into it...) and maybe ideas for calorie burning activities that burned-out, pregnant moms can do with their 7yo who is content to read books and play zoo-tycoon all day...

Lauren

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#2 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 02:01 AM
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Perhaps get him on a soccer team? Then you can sit on the sidelines while he runs up and down the field with the team!

Or perhaps a trampoline? (With either a mesh "cage" around it, or set in a hole in the ground, for safety.

PS. Cheese is quite fattening.

And I'd take away the zoo-tycoon!! Or at least limit the amount of time you'll let him spend on it.
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#3 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 08:30 PM
 
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I personally don't think "grazing" or eating all day is a good idea. I believe the digestive system needs time to rest. I would encourage 3 meals and an afternoon snack (a morning one too if you eat breakfast really early).

Maybe you could take a walk every day. Since you homeschool, it could be a nature walk or a field trip. Maybe try yoga. My kids and I like to turn on the music and dance.

I agree that putting a child on a diet is not a good idea. You certainly don't want to start food issues. Processed food and dairy products are very fattening so you might limit those and concentrate on lower fat snacks.

Anyway, that's my two cents!

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#4 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 09:15 PM
 
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If he's eating healthy then he really does need more activity. I understand you're not up to it being pregnant and all but if you could find a swimming class, karate or something else he'd be interested in it would go a long way in improving his health and self esteem.

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#5 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 09:27 PM
 
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Although I'm not speaking from experience, I like the idea of "screen time." You give an hour or 3 hours, or whatever of screen time, and your child has to learn to divide it up among tv, video games, and the computer. Kind of an exercise in time management.
I also think you shouldn't let him know what you are doing, whatever it is, whether food or exercise related. Just do it.
I remember my mother telling my father to stop bringing me candy bars when he'd come home. (I over heard). She never said anything about it having to do with my weight, but I figured it out maybe 5-8 years later. Worked ok, I guess.
I second the swiming idea, swiming is fun exercise!

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#6 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah...I'm thinking swimming might be our best bet. There is an indoor community pool nearby we can use (just means I have to actually use my big ol' maternity bathing suit).
He was in karate until we moved over the summer. I would love to get him back into it--it did WONDERS for his self-esteem and his coordination, but it is beyond our budget right now.
And of course, there is always walking...but everything is covered in snow and ice right now, making me a nervous wreck even on my walk out to the car!!

I feel bad because we usually do a lot more outside. We have a really good sized yard with lots of room to play hockey or soccer or whatever, but he plays too rough for me to be out there with him and I sure can't run around out there like usual. He is not an independent kid and just isn't the type to play with his toys outside. I'd push bike riding, but we live right near a "restaurant & pub" (aka bar) and there isn't a sidewalk by the house...and you can just see where that combination would lead!

I do definitely keep an eye on his tv/computer time...but his alternative choice to those is reading which is about as high on the calorie burning scale :


I've been trying to keep him to 3 meals and just fruit for snacks, but its hard when he is used to grazing all day. The cheese is definitely VERY hard to cut back right now, because I'm munching on it constantly (could be worse...when I was pregnant with ds1, I munched on jelly beans the WHOLE TIME!!!). We don't eat any processed cheeses though, so I figure that is something, right?

Its also hard to do quick lunches with a kid who won't eat peanut butter (sometimes I wonder how he can be my kid!!!) so PB&J is out. He's pretty happy with a good bowl of salad though, but wants something more to eat with it or within 30 minutes of finishing it.
Any suggestions for something I can add that might not be bad? What if we made some granola or something? I'm pretty sure he'd like that (especially if we made it!). He does like tapioca and rice pudding when I make those (I refuse to buy ready-made pudding from the store, much to his dismay), but tends to avoid anything else that might be gooey.
Of course, his top choice of things to have with salad is soup--lovely stuff like cream of mushroom or clam chowder....

I really appreciate all your input
I really don't want to see him struggle with weight later in life, and at the same time I don't want him to think that a diet is the solution. I was brought up on the whole diet to lose weight thing and still have a hard time remembering that I need to eat a certain amount each day to be healthy and to keep my metabolism going. I'd like to thwack whoever came up with those insane "cheerleader diets" all those years ago.

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#7 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 11:27 PM
 
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It sounds to me like you need to cut out the amount of dairy and increase the fruit and veg, you are lucky that he likes that too!

Whatever you do, just make sure that you don't make it an issue to him. Just alter the family eating habits without a fuss, and not too radically too fast. Otherwise you may well set up a problem in his mind.

How about trying to foster some friendships with more active kids? Once spring is here, it will be easier to get outside and play. Good luck, it sounds like you are aware of the issues and are handling it sensitively.
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#8 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 11:46 PM
 
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You can try adding more protein to his (and your!) diet. Your stomach empties when a certain amount of protein has been digested, so adding protein can be a hunger-lenghtening tool.
Alternatives to regular cheese and peanut butter might be low-fat cottage cheese, boiled eggs, skim milk, low fat or nonfat cheese, low-fat yogurt, lean beef, ham, turkey, chicken and tuna.
You are doing well by trying to help him out. Many of my peers had the joyous help of "Boy you're getting pudgy" at age 13.

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