Top Ten Strategies for Weight Success With You and Your Child
By Ellen Reiss-Goldfarb

Dear Parents,

You are the role model! Your kids are watching every move you make. You need to set the example and provide healthy food choices for yourself and your family!

  • Keep fresh fruits and vegetable available and VISIBLE. Do you know that the #1 vegetable in the diet of American Kids today is French Fries? UGH! Keep a fruit bowl with inviting colorful fruit out on the table and easy to reach. Keep colorful fresh vegetables cut up in the fridge and ready to go for quick snacking. Make healthy snacking fun -- for example: apples boats with peanut butter, yogurt, granola and fruit parfaits, smoothies!
  • What ever happened to the family dinner meal? It went down the tubes, huh? (The TV tubes, that is!) It is so important to take time with your kids and enjoy the family meal together. Kids get so much more from having dinner with their parents than food; they get connection and dialogue, and they listen to you and learn. This is a great opportunity for parents to provide healthier food options in creative ways and getting kids involved in the cooking makes it a fun, memorable event that they look forward to doing.
  • Invite your kids to go shopping with you, and choose together healthier foods such as fresh fruits in season, colorful new vegetables at a local stand. They will have a great time and want to consume these more often.
  • Not a clue how to eat or plan your day? Speaking with a Registered Dietitian is probably the best way, but for now follow the Food Guide Pyramid and Healthy Eating Guidelines that are being promoted by the American Dietetics Association. They are there so that Americans can have a guide on how to eat healthy, so USE THEM (by the way, the new and improved Food Guide Pyramid will be out in 2005… keep your eyes out!). If you don’t know where to find the Pyramid, ask your kids -- I bet they know. They are now learning about it in most schools and it is on almost every cereal box!
  • Most importantly, if your child is going through a weight problem, comfort and support him/her as best you can. It is more than likely that other issues going on besides weight are causing your child to eat more than normal and gain weight. Most eating disorders happen when children do not get the love, connection and support that they need from their families and people they are closest to. They start to rebel when pressured to diet or use food for comfort to cope with their emotional issues. There are better ways to cope and deal with them! Seek help from a family counselor, school counselor, marriage and family therapist and/or registered dietitian.
  • Exercise does not have to be fancy and expensive. Find activities you like and get out there and do them! Start with something slow (like walking) and work your way to more intensive exercise when you are comfortable. Do you like hip-hop or salsa dancing? That is a great way to move and get calories burned. Take family walks after dinner; you are burning calories, de-stressing from the day and connecting with loved ones, all at the same time!
  • Forget fad diets! They just don’t work. Getting in touch with your hunger, choosing more nutrient dense foods vs. energy dense foods and watching portion sizes is the best way to go. By omitting and deleting important foods out of your day, you may apt to binge eat on them later (which can become obsessive-thinking behavior). Legalize foods and you will naturally start to choose healthier ones!
  • Try to get a variety of foods in your day: whole grains, at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, at least 2-3 servings of lo- fat dairy products, lean meats and some good sources of dietary fats like olive and canola oils, nuts and peanut butter. Avoid fried foods or heavily sauced or creamed foods and watch sugary, fatty desserts and snacks. When you start to focus on choosing more nutrient dense foods, the pounds will come off and you will start to feel and look better.

  • For more information or to make an appointment, call Ellen at 310-312-4888 or send an e-mail to: Visit her on the web at