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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

Limit how often your family drinks 100% fruit juice

Fruit juice has more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than sugary sodas or fruit juice drinks, like punch. But 100% fruit juices also have a lot of sugar and often just as many calories as sodas. Plus, it's easy to drink way more calories than you realize. Limit 100% juice to no more than a single serving per day -- 8 ounces for you and older kids, only 6 ounces for young kids.

Make sure your child eats breakfast every day. 

If time is an issue, choose items to eat on the run, such as peanut butter on toast. If your child doesn't like the taste of foods usually served at breakfast, any healthy option will do -- it doesn't have to be a "breakfast food."

Decrease TV time gradually to less than two hours a day. 

And put physical activity in its place. To help motivate your overweight child, have her make a list of activities she enjoys and can do instead of screen time.

Increase your child's daily physical activity. 

Gradually build up to the goal of having your child be physically active for at least one hour a day. Look for little ways throughout the day to get him moving, such as doing squats or knee raises while brushing his teeth or doing jumping jacks during commercials while watching a morning cartoon.

Prepare more meals at home and become restaurant savvy. 

When you cook at home, you can control what you put in food. It is often hard to judge whether meals at restaurants are nutritional gems or calorie -- or salt -- bombs. At home, you can read labels, use healthier ingredients, and control how much sugar you use.

When you do eat out, help your family make healthy choices: Skip the bread before the meal. Start off with a salad or vegetable appetizer. Choose foods in their most natural states, such as grilled chicken instead of chicken nuggets. And if you're having dessert -- share it.

 

If after three to six months those changes aren't enough to help your child maintain her weight as she grows, the guidelines recommend seeking help from an expert in pediatric obesity.

When intensive lifestyle changes don't work to help your child lose a small to moderate amount of weight within six months, your child's health care provider has other options to help, including more structured, medically supervised programs designed for kids.

 

For Kids and Parents. Kid Tested. Expert Approved.

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