Belly fat in kids is one serious health concern among children as it is for adults owing to the unhealthy lifestyle.
Unhealthy lifestyle includes lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of both, only in rare cases we see obesity in children is due to the hormonal problem.
According to the research presented in a 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, 33 percent of children from the years 2011 to 2012 were identified as abdominally obese, according to their waist- to- height ratio.
While in adults the culprit can be sometimes aging and hormonal changes, but that’s not true for children.
To lose belly fat in kids, their diet needs to be modified, which means eating a balanced diet and refraining from junk food, they must commit to daily exercise and improved lifestyle.
Belly fat in kids – How it works
First of all, let’s understand that kids lose belly fat pretty much the same way adults do: by making changes in their dietary habits and being more active.
So, there’s no such thing as kids lose belly fat faster than adults.
Making healthy choices at a young age will lead a child to stay fit and healthy as an adult too.
You shouldn’t starve your children in order to make them lose weight, serious dieting should be discouraged as it can leave kids nutritionally deficient, cranky and not to mention can have an eating disorder or can set up an unhealthy relationship with food.
When you make revisions in your children’s dietary habit, belly fat is some of the first fat they lose because it’s metabolically active.
Exercising is as critical to lose belly fat fast for kids as eating the right food.
A combination of both can ensure healthy weight loss without causing any serious damage to a child’s body and brain in growing age.
Tips on Losing belly fat fast for kids
Take your child to see a good pediatrician
The first step to in helping kids to lose belly fat, even before you bring about any changes in your child’s eating habit, or introduce any exercise, it’s highly recommended that you talk to your pediatrician. Your doctor can determine how much weight your child needs to lose.
Your doctor can also make you a healthy diet plan and track your progress.
Don’t ask friends/family or search the internet for weight loss tips, seek professional help, it’s safer.
Eat Healthy breakfast to lose belly fat
As we all know the fact that breakfast is the most important meal of a day.
Eating healthy breakfast will not only make children feel more energized, fuller, and less likely to snack on less healthy options such as sugary and salty foods later.
A morning meal with whole grains and protein will make an ideal breakfast choice and a child will feel full for a longer period of time.
Healthy breakfast options include fruit yogurt, banana, peanut butter sandwich, a handful of peanuts, hard boiled eggs.
Eat Smart, lose more weight
The key is to make them eat smart, foods that make children feel full but are not rich in carbs or fats.
Drink plenty of water
Children normally avoid drinking water because they find its taste too boring, especially when they have carbonated drinks and juices which tastes much better and that’s when the problem starts, it has high bad sugar in it which will make them fat.
Encourage them to drink more water which will help them lose fat, feel more energized, and keep them hydrated.
You can substitute packed juices with fresh juices squeezed at home, you can even offer them smoothies (fresh fruit blended with milk, or water ) made at home.
Kids should be getting 10 hours of sleep every night to lose belly fat, while for teenagers 9 hours is sufficient. If your child is gaining weight especially belly fat, you might want to check if they are getting enough sleep. There’s plenty of research that shows that a lack of sleep causes obesity in children.
According to Dr. Shahrad Taheri from the University of Bristol, Lack of sleep alters hormones that affect appetite, causing us to overeat. Just two or three nights can have this worrying effect. So, you need to constantly check with your child’s sleeping pattern if you want him/her to lose weight.
Avoid consuming too much Salt
Kids love extra salt, especially on french-fries.
The bad news is, salt is a big fat promoter. The sodium content found in salt makes the bodies hold onto water which makes people who consume too much salt appear fatter.
Avoid canned and frozen foods that have a lot of sodium. Don’t allow children to put any extra salt in food or seasoning, it’s better to let their taste buds get used to less salt from the very beginning.
Watch your kids Snacks
Try to introduce healthy snack options instead of allowing them packaged snacks and junk food. A handful of nuts, some fruit, yogurt, baked beans, raw carrots or a low-fat cottage cheese is ideal for snacking.
Eat small meals
Don’t give too much gap between each meal. A child should eat small meals in between.When a child is starved he/she tends to eat more and it increases their craving for junk food.
Make healthy changes for the family
Have a discussion with your family about how you would like to bring healthy changes for everyone in the family, including yourself so that your child doesn’t feel singled out.
According to Tamara Melton, a dietician, and instructor at Georgia State University, “kids learn their habits from their parents.” Hence, it’s important to lead by example.
According to a research, kids are more likely to adopt the healthy lifestyle if they see their parents doing the same.
Avoid eating out too much
Make sure that your child eats freshly homemade food; don’t take your child to eat at restaurants or fast food joints more than once in a week.
Fill your child more with fruits and veggies
Fruits and veggies are less in calories and more in nutrients, hence play the most important role in losing belly fat fast for kids.
Children need to at least eat 3 to 4 servings of veggies and 1 to 2 servings of fruit per day.
Children normally find eating veggies and fruits too boring, what you can do is,
• Top their cereals with berries, serve their sandwich with a side salad; serve hummus with veggies as a snack.
• Add veggies in soups, sandwiches or as a sideline with the main course.
• Use veggies instead of meat in child-friendly dishes such as lasagna, pizza, spaghetti.
• Treat them with a smoothie of their favorite fruit such as peach, strawberry or mango.
• Make salads fun, with a combination of fruits, veggies, olives and lime juice.
Eat meals together as a family
When you eat a meal together as a family you promote healthy eating habits in your children.
According to a recent research children who share three or more meals with their families were 20% less likely to eat unhealthy foods and were 12% less likely to be overweight.
In order to lose belly fat fast in kids, it’s important that your child is involved in some physical activity each day.
According to experts 60 minutes of activity is a must for kids every day.
If your child isn’t active you can help him work up to that goal, what you can do is,
- Go on walks, hikes, bike rides and skating together as a family outing.
- Encourage your child to play his favorite sport, be it dancing, soccer, swimming, or simply running around the playground.
- Monitor their screen time; encourage them to spend more time outside instead of in front of the TV or computer.
Say no to drugs or supplements
In your desperation to make your child lose weight fast, don’t follow the popular advice and make your child use weight loss drugs or supplements that your friend or neighbor has used. There’s no research on these drugs so we don’t know if these drugs are safe for your kids.
Losing belly fat in kids is no rocket science, it can be achieved if you stay consistent and follow a healthy lifestyle.If you made changes discussed above and your child is still struggling with obesity then, you perhaps need to seek professional help, someone who specializes in weight loss for kids.