As children have growing bodies, it’s best not to place them on any type of fad diet. Fad diets are often too restrictive and may not provide the nutrition your child needs. The best way to help your child lose weight and stay healthy is to feed her a variety of healthy foods. For some, that’s easier said than done and it can be helpful to have a diet plan to follow.
Food Pyramid Diet
The Food Pyramid was created by the USDA to suggest an ideal way to eat. It consists of wide and thin vertical strips that represent different food groups — grains, proteins, dairy products, fats, fruits and vegetables. The wider the line, the more you should eat of that type of food. Focusing on the Food Pyramid reminds you to choose healthy food choices for your child rather than unhealthy ones.
Calorie Counting Diets
In a calorie-counting diet, your child can eat any food available, but must restrict the amount of calories that he eats. The ideal way to do this is to eat foods that are low in calories and high in bulk such as fruits and vegetables. Calorie counting also allows for occasional snacks. Measuring portions is a great way to teach your child how much he should eat, especially in today’s society of extra large portions. Excessive calorie counting, however, can lead to disordered eating, so it’s best not to become too focused on calories. If your child is hungry, allow him to eat a low calorie, healthy snack, even if it pushes him out of an ideal calorie range.
Vegetarian, Semi-Vegetarian or Vegan Diets
Done right, a vegetarian, vegan or semi-vegetarian diet can be a healthy diet for your child. It naturally takes out a lot of the saturated fats that are found in meat products. If your child is going to follow this diet, she should focus on eating healthy foods like whole grains and vegetables. Fast foods and packaged foods products are also vegetarian, but your child should avoid these foods if they are high in saturated fats. She can get enough protein through eggs, nuts and legumes, as well as a variety of available soy products.
End-Stage Low-Carb Diets
The initial phases of low-carb diets are often too restrictive for a child, but the later stages, usually called maintenance phases, can outline a healthy way to eat. These diets typically focus on eating lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, while eliminating junk foods and refined grains. If you need a plan for your child to follow, this might be the right one.