A diet plan for overweight teens is more of a health and nutrition roadmap for life – quick fixes or fad diets will not maintain a teen’s weight loss. The term overweight is synonymous with impending health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Once a healthcare professional has identified a teenager’s weight problem, a diet plan should be formulated and individualized to that youth’s growth and activity levels under the physician's guidance.
Healthy food choices start at the grocer’s counter. Although it’s easy to grab pre-packaged snacks and lunches, these options are typically high-calorie with very little nutritional value. The Office of the Surgeon General admonishes severe dietary changes in the growing adolescent, while encouraging gradual changes leading to a healthful diet. By simply taking away one can of cola, the teen will cut 150 calories out of the day. In conjunction with a balanced diet, plenty of water and the recommended five servings of fruit and veggies should fill up the overweight teen, not sugary snacks or juices.
Poor nutritional choices are not the only culprit for overweight teens – sedentary activities such as video games and watching television add to the weight problem. According to the Surgeon General, 43 percent of teens watch more than two hours of TV daily – time that would be better spent up and moving. Teens Health suggests that even 10 minutes of exercise a day can make a difference. Focus and explore physical activities together. Not only will activities burn calories, they will produce a viable excuse to spend more time with the growing adolescent.
Overweight teens are 70 percent more likely to become overweight or obese adults; familial support is key to preventing this. Bolster the teen’s morale by setting weight loss goals and empower him by letting him make his own healthy choices.
Habits, especially those related to dietary choices, are ingrained during the adolescent years and will stay with the teen for life. A gradual change in the entire family’s meal plans will benefit everyone. Home-cooked meals do not need saturated and trans fats to taste delicious.