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Old 02-23-2006, 03:13 PM   #1
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ISO kids' LOW FAT meals

My son was at the doctor's office yesterday for several infections - poor guy. Doc told us he's overweight and has Acanthosis Nigricans and needs to begin a low fat diet and of course, more exercise. I'm looking for low fat school lunch and dinner ideas for him (and the family). Everyone will begin this low fat diet since I don't want him to feel left out. Thanks you all. He mostly likes chicken and beef but not too many veggies. Loves lots of fruits and some legumes.

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Old 02-23-2006, 04:12 PM   #2
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Here is a copy of the Canada Food Guide. I know the US has a pyramid thing, but I couldn't find that easily. The link I gave you is geared toward kids.

Your son is old enough to plan his own menu and to help with the prep work. Something I have found very successful in helping the kids I work with lose weight and eat healthy is to give them this guide (which details the number of portions and the SIZE of each portion) and then let them figure out how much they should be eating. It is often a big wake up call when they realize how much they are eating of the wrong stuff.

You may have to start forcing the issue a bit by limiting his portions of everything except fruit and veggies if he won't do it himself. He's a sweetie though, I know he will figure this out.

If I were to plan lower fat meals I would eliminate most of the sauces, buy 1% milk, and make sure most of the dairy products I bought were low fat. Often they are the biggest source of fat.

The best solution though is just to get him more active, and to educate him about what he should be eating. I tell the kids I teach GIGO...garbage in garbage out. Your brain will only work as well as the fuel you put in. Hope that helps a bit Dina, I know this is a toughie for you.
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the food guide Alix. Justin and I checked it out already-has great info. I know I don't cook such fatty foods other than the butter and sugar in the cookies and brownies (which Justin happens to love). I keep talking to him about portion control. He does eat excessively sometimes. It will take a while for him to change his eating habits but he CAN do it. The remedy here is to not buy tempting foods, i.e. sweets and chips so he won't be tempted-I could use them as rewards.
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:23 PM   #4
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Yes, portion control is really the key. I would hesitate to use sweets or "junk" food as a reward though, that can lead to other issues. It is a better idea to always allow a bit of the "junk" as a dessert, but again, emphasize the portion control. One piece of cake for dessert is OK, two...not so much.

One of the rules we have with the teens I work with is that you must eat 1/2 of each different item served to receive dessert. No negotiating. So, if your meal is roast chicken, potatoes and steamed beans with a green salad, then Justin needs to eat 1/2 of each of those things served to merit dessert. At least you would get 1/2 a salad into him then!

Another tip is to always serve a salad and a steamed vegetable with your starch and protein. That way he will get the required amounts of veggie SOMEHOW.

Good luck Dina and Justin. That food guide is a very good one. I hope it helps.
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:26 PM   #5
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What about making traditional kids favourites but tailoring the recipes so they are low fat? For example, you could make pizza using sliced english muffins, low fat cheese, and cut up veggies (mushrooms, green/red pepper, onion).

You can also just substitute higher calorie foods for lower calorie versions. Cheese, milk, butter, etc. all come in lighter versions that can save a lot of calories.

Another idea is grilled cheese sandwiches, but baking them instead of pan frying them. Toast some bread, slice some low fat cheese (or use fat free american cheese slices) and put it on the toasted bread. Broil it until the cheese melts. Add on a pickle slice, some ketchup and mustard and you have a really great lower calorie grilled cheese.

To help your son get more veggies in his diet, try making soups that have vegetables in it. Most kids will eat veggies if they are "in" things instead of expecting them to eat a pile of steamed brussels sprouts or something.

Portion control, as you mentioned, is a big thing as well. Your boy can still enjoy his favourite snacks and treats, but just limit them. Perhaps you could put some treats in individual ziplock baggies and let him choose 1 per day. That way he wont feel deprived or like he is on a "diet" but he wont be eating mindless portions.

Oh, one more thing, don't forget about the benifits of good exercise! If you all do something together as a family it wont feel like work. What about going for a nice walk after dinner each day (or even every other day)?
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Old 02-25-2006, 02:39 PM   #6
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So you and he don't feel deprived you can make many cake-type baked goods by substituting applesauce for the oil. Use something like this to frost--1 med. pkg. Cool Whip
1 box instant vanilla pudding (use the sugar-free kind) (any flavor can be used)
1 c. low fat milk
Combine pudding and milk by whipping together. Fold in Cool Whip and beat until fluffy. Frosting is great on chocolate cakes or cupcakes. Must refrigerate when cake is frosted!

I've made brownies using egg substitute and 1/2 of the oil called for and the rest applesauce being careful not to overbake. You can probably use all applesauce for the oil, but that was the first time I tried it. These are not health foods, but with portion control, they can be enjoyed so as not to feel deprived.

If you use canned soups, such as cream of mushroom for cooking, look for the lower fat versions as every little bit helps. If you use sour cream or half and half, there are some decent reduced fat and fat free versions. I make a very good fat free cream of potato soup usong Land O Lakes fat free half and half. Some of the spray margarines are decent and you have to work to use a lot. Butter buds is another product I use in things like mashed potatoes. Good Luck!
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:00 PM   #7
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Thanks you all. I just got everyone here a fruit bar so no one gets tempted with sweets. Not that I'll never bake again but we need to detox...LOL. I am all ears for any and all suggestions from everyone else. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:16 PM   #8
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Hey Dina, a couple of tricks you might try.

1. Keep a tupperware container of cut up veggies and dip in the fridge, it will be accessible and kids will eat anything if it is easy.

2. Put out a fruit plate with cut up pieces of fruit on it for after school. Kids won't grab an orange, but they will totally demolish cut up fruit. Keeps them from digging in the cookie jar to satisfy that after school urge.

3. I read recently that you should try not to serve supper too late. It needs to be served about 2 - 3 hours before bedtime.
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Old 02-26-2006, 11:19 AM   #9
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Alix, all of your information is fantastic!

To go along with grumblebee's thoughts - make a chicken soup by cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts in water with some bouillon cubes added. Skim off any fat that rises to the top. Have your son help cut up any and all veggies that go into the soup, trying to get as many colors as possible. (I'd limit the potato content, though)
When you're at the store, see if you and he can find a produce item he's not yet tried. Kids love exploring, when it's fun. Have him try a starfruit! Or perhaps a blood orange. Have you had a casaba? Also, ethnic markets may have really wild veggies you've not tried.

I'd be careful about making desserts with sugar-free items. They have a tendency to be worse than sugar, at times.

As for dessert - here's a winner in my kids' book:
Peel an apple, then core it and cut it into 6ths. Put it in a dish, and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger (& clove if they like it). Add about 1/4 tsp. of butter (just a dot!), and a bit of fresh lemon juice, and microwave till it's almost soft. Tastes like apple pie!
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Old 02-26-2006, 07:46 PM   #10
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Hey ya'll. I have to spread the great news! Justin's made a drastic decision to REALLY make a change in his diet. I know the doctor scared him a bit! He's chosing his own breakfast - cereal with milk and fruit or yogurt and fruit smoothies. He's eating one fruit for his in between meal snacks and has not yet asked for sweets. Whew!!! He's all for salads so he's been asking me for lettuce and carrots. Too bad he doesn't like tomatoes and cucumbers. One thing that I'm adament about is dinner with my husband. Most of the time he gets home at 8:00 p.m. so that's when I serve dinner for everyone. So even though kids go to bed by 10:00, they end up eating a bit after 8:00. What's important is that Justin's limiting his portions on his own so that helps.

He's just getting over the congestion and infections he had (and on antibiotics) so he's limiting his exercise (although he's playing basketball with his friends right now). Today, all the kids and I jumped on the trampoline and played baseball in the backyard for over two hours. It was fun and we all got some exercise. We're hopeful that his weight will begin to come off.

Thanks for your continued suggestions everyone. Oh, and I don't do sugar substitutes for the kids either. It's all natural for them or nothing. JKath, if I could just get my son to like baked apples. Everyone but him likes them baked. It's got to be chocolate cake, brownies or chocolate chip cookies for him. He'll get a treat soon.
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