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Ask Dani – How Do I Help my 10y/o Son Lose Weight?

Ask Dani

Ask Dani


Dani, I came upon your website after looking for quinoa recipes and I am so impressed with your easy and simple recipes. My question though is this… How can I help my 10y/o son lose weight? I know you struggled from age 12 with diets. I don’t want his self esteem affected. I need to create healthy snacks. Can I put protein powder in smoothies for kids? He’s working out with a trainer once a week and I’m having him swim a lot this summer. My struggle though is that i have a thin 12y/o who eats whatever but I have to limit the 10y/o. Please shed some insight, thanks….  Ann Marie

Hi Annie -

Thanks for writing!  So glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes!

As for your son losing weight, I would definitely put the focus on feeling good and strong vs. “losing weight”.  And the absolute best thing any parent can do is lead by example.

As for the protein powder, I don’t think it’s a problem.  I often put a half or quarter scoop of protein powder in Katie’s smoothies – mostly to add flavor without having to add another sugar based ingredient.  Real food is always optimal but a little protein powder can be a big help when it comes to balancing out a meal.

Here are  few tips I would suggest:

1.  Keep nutritious foods in the house and minimize junk food at home.  Kids are exposed to enough crap food with friends, schools, parties, etc. Make your home a place that sets the example of healthy eating.

2.  Eat delicious healthy foods yourself (if your not already doing this).  Show your son that eating nutritious foods taste good and make it the norm.

3.  Allow him to be part of the cooking process.  Get your son in the kitchen and let him help make a great big salad or prep the veggies for a big stir fry.  Give hie a chance to experiment in the kitchen and see what he likes.

4.  Don’t focus on what he can’t have –> emphasize what he should have AND if and when he wants a treat don’t make him feel badly about it.  Allow him to enjoy the ‘not so healthy stuff’ too.  If you make it seem like a bad thing he will begin to feel guilty about eating it and then he will feel bad about himself when he wants to eat treats!  We all want treats sometimes… they key is to have them, enjoythem, and then move on!

5.  Do it as a family.  Don’t focus on which son is thinner or heavier. Don’t focus on the weight, focus on the feeling.  Embrace a healthy lifestyle as a family… play outside, move, dance indoors when it’s raining… it’s all about feeling good!!  Create healthy habits together.  Maybe everyone goes for a walk after dinner or you pick an activity on the weekend to do as a family.  Often times losing weight is less about losing weight and more about gaining life!  So get out there and live!!!

Here are a few snack ideas:

  • Apple and natural peanut butter
  • Baked tortilla chips with salsa and/or guacamole
  • Baked whole wheat pita chips with hummus
  • Smoothies – frozen bananas, frozen strawberries, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder and skim milk is a good one!
  • Whole grain wrap with some nitrate free turkey and mustard

These are just a few ideas!  Do any of you guys have any tips or ideas that could help??  If so, please share them in the comments!!

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3 Responses to “Ask Dani – How Do I Help my 10y/o Son Lose Weight?”

  1. #
    Bridgette — October 26, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

    Hi, I was a babysitter for a family for 4 years and the younger kid could eat everything (toaster strudels and gold fish crackers mostly, he was difficult to convince to eat healthier) and stay skinny 9 yrs old while the older boy 13 yrs old was gaining weight. So of course his mom wanted me to tell him what to eat and how much which she did already. I was the enforcer, but I mostly let him do what he wanted within reason.

    Such as limiting the soda and making a deal that when I took them grocery shopping each boy had to pick a veggie that he would eat of the course of the week. They usually picked the same thing and one time it was red bell peppers which surprised me. The older boy chopped and added the bell peppers to the frozen lasagna meals his mom bought him. He got to make choices I didn’t force him, and I taught him the basics of eating healthy.

    To convince his younger brother to follow I promoted “you’ll be big, tall, healthy, and strong,” which worked because he was of course shorter than his older brother and had ADHD which I flat out told him would be better if he didn’t eat crap food all the time. It worked.

    I also took both kids to basketball, soccer, swimming, the gym for the older boys physical trainer, and chess. So they kept moving and they were both running around with there friends all summer I just stuck walkie-talkies on them and let ‘em go. His mom also wanted me to make him run the treadmill 30 min a day but it made him depressed so if he did it on his own great, which he did, and I didn’t make him. He stayed active.

    I also taught him how to cook while learning myself. First I tried making salsa from their backyard garden which had tomatoes (use 2 large or 3 medium) and jalapenos (usually just 1) which we added to onion (1 white chopped), salt (about 1-2 tsp) , lime juice (to taste and preserve) , and sometimes garlic powder (sprinkle to taste). Which both kids went nuts for with tortilla chips. Fun recipes.

    He also found recipes online like for some really yummy peanut butter cookies and we made those and enjoyed them! Like once a month, they were full fat and everything but fun to make from scratch and I think it really helps to not deprive kids and it works for myself. :)

    Another recipe he asked me to help him with was just how to boil eggs. So now he makes himself 2 boiled eggs for lunch and eats fresh salsa as a snack most days. He usually cooked hot dogs in the microwave for breakfast, plain but he liked them. He slimmed up before the end of the summer!—Hope this long story helps….

    Also, if you have trouble with him liking certain foods, the younger boy I watched read online that to like a food you just have to eat one small piece of it everyday for 7 days. He tried it by eating a carrot everyday and now likes carrots sometimes.

  2. #
    christie smith — May 3, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    My son was overweight a few years ago and had a big belly. Probably around age 10 also. We started walking laps up and down our driveway as a family. At first he didnt really like it or wanted to watch tv instead. It did take some effort to get him into it(we made a committment to keep him and us on track), but after a few months he enjoyed it and we used that time to talk. In addition we made food changes by eliminating sodas completely from our home, and doing unsweet tea with a natural sugar substitute like stevia or agave. We also do smoothies, make homemade salsa and guac for snacks, and try to have a healthy balanced meals for him in the evenings. He takes his lunch daily which can also be a challenge but instead of chips he starting asking for a small pkg of almonds and he started taking water to drink in his lunches instead of juice boxes. All these little changes added up! He is now 13 and at a healthy weight. He has also shot up in height which has helped; he has become health conscience and aware of what he is eating. My final suggestion is cook fresh foods, eat at home, try new things and keep it simple! Best wishes

  3. #
    josh — June 19, 2013 @ 5:43 am

    Some kids are overweight. That is ok. Let them be kids. Obviously you want to have healthy options for them to eat. However please do not make a issue out of it. Kids are kids some skinny some chubby, just make sure that he had good dietary habits. FFK (former fat Kid)


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