Eating and children can be one of the biggest causes of stress for parents. After all, we all want our children to thrive and be fit and healthy, and we know that the way for this to be achieved is through a healthy and well balanced lifestyle and diet. However, for a variety of reasons, children adopt eating habits that worry parents and often need help to sort them out.
Daniel is 14 years old and weighs 87.8 pounds (just over 6 stone). A keen sportsman, Daniel’s daily diet is detailed below:
- Breakfast: Multigrain cereals, skimmed milk
- Lunch: white roll and milk
- Snack: cereal, milk, ice cream
- Dinner: white bread and jam sandwich or French bread ham and cheese, milk
- Dessert: milkshake
Daniel has never eaten family meals at dinner, and does not eat fruit or vegetables. The dietician’s assessment of Daniel concluded that he was underweight for his height, had an inadequate amount of protein and calories in his diet that are needed for growth and the amount of sport that he does. He also has a diet that is low in fibre and fruits and vegetables. Daniel’s diet lacks variety, and he has been an extremely picky eater since he was a toddler.
The dietician recommended that Daniel should follow a 2,500 calories a day diet plan, increased the amount of fruits and vegetables in his diet, and was encouraged to eat dinner with his family on some nights of the week. He was also advised to eat more protein, add some wholegrains and take a multivitamin tablet each day to boost his levels of essential vitamins and minerals.
Kathy, is 11 and weighs 180 pounds (almost 13 stone). She is 5’6’’ tall, and has the following diet:
- Breakfast: sugared cereal, skimmed milk, banana or a white bagel with cream cheese
- Lunch: School lunch with chocolate milk, or lemonade or turkey sandwich with mustard, 100 cal pack of biscuit
- Snack: Crisps, or muesli bar, milk
- Dinner: Grilled chicken, broccoli or Chicken and Rice, lemonade
- Dessert: Low fat ice cream
Kathy’s mother has always claimed that Kathy can eat large portions of food, but she also suffers from constipation, rarely drinks water and the only activity she does is PE twice a week at school.
An assessment revealed a diet low in fruits and vegetables, and the sugared cereals and beverages that Kathy enjoys contribute empty calories and are not nutritious. Her breakfast choices were low in fibre and protein and Kathy’s lunch and breakfasts were inadequate. She does not drink enough water or get enough exercise.
A dietician recommended that Kathy should include protein, such as an egg or peanut butter with wholemeal toast, at breakfast. Other choices should be wholegrain and low fat, and Kathy should drink more water.
She should drink plain milk and water at lunch, and include fruit and vegetables at lunch in place of biscuits and crisps. Have yogurt and fruit, or cheese stick and vegetables and dip for after school snack, and control her portions at dinner. Kathy should also increase her exercise level to at least one hour a day.
One month later, Kathy’s weight is the same, but she is more aware of her diet and has signed up for an after school sports group.