Weight Loss for Kids: Elimination Diet Week One

Now that you’ve learned the importance of healthy habits, nutrition for kids, physical activity, and supportive family life, it’s time to establish a healthy childhood obesity diet. Healthy foods for children are key toward helping children reach an optimal goal weight.

Bariatric physician Dr. Wendy Scinta advises parents to use the elimination diet method. Her four-week plan slowly transforms the entire family’s eating choices. Use these simple substitutions to develop positive diet changes each week.

Week One Goals

  • Minimize fast foods and eating out to no more than once a week.
  • Try to sit down to a meal at home together at least once a week.
  • Start replacing soda and juice with water.
  • Wean off processed foods.
  • Replace starchy carbs with whole grains.
  • Increase protein, fruits, and vegetables.

Soda Substitutions

  • Serve water or skim milk instead of soda at home.
  • Order water instead of soda in restaurants.
  • Flavored water is fine as long as it doesn’t have sugar in it.
  • An occasional diet soda is fine. Studies have found that artificial sweeteners in low doses are not harmful to children.
  • Flavored powders (such as Crystal Light and other sugar-free versions) are a low-cost way to make plain water palatable to children accustomed to the sweetness of soda. However, use these in moderation.

Junk Food Substitutions

  • Substitute low-fat popcorn, pretzels, baked chips and whole grain snacks (like Sun Chips) for potato chips, cheese puffs, tortilla chips, and corn chips.
  • Don’t offer low-fat cookies. They are not always low calorie.
  • Cut back on cookies by serving 100-calorie snack packs. Watch processed foods in general. It is healthier to make your own.

Healthy Snacks for Kids

  • Fruit with yogurt dip
  • Homemade oatmeal and peanut butter cookies
  • One kid’s protein bar or one-half of an adult bar.
  • Mozzarella cheese sticks
  • Apple or banana with peanut butter
  • Small handful of nuts (almonds and pistachios are good choices)—but measure or buy in 100 calorie snack packs