Being a teenager can be a stressful time for some. Being a teenager who is overweight would no doubt be stressful for many. As with anything else that presents challenges, it is good to identify the cause if we can. If there is an identifyable physical/medical reason for being overweight it needs to be addressed. Having ruled out or dealt with any significant physical/medical reason then it is likely due to past and/or existing eating habits, perhaps along with lack of exercise. Dealing with exercise or lack of exercise can be an issue on its own and may well be related to physical limitations. I am not able to address these concerns but there is no shortage of professionals who can!
With dietary concerns there are basically 2 issues to be addressed: 1) what foods are being eaten and 2) what quantities of foods are being eaten. So the questions are ” Are we eating healthy foods and what are they?”, “What are our typical serving sizes and what should they be?” . A very good resource to use as a starting point to plan a healthier diet would be Canada’s Food Guide (or the USDA Food Guide Pyramid). Canada’s Food Guide recommends the number of servings of the four food groups for different age groups and discusses what a serving size is. Of course eating too much healthy food is going to mean consuming too many calories and they do count!
The Eater’s Choice Daily Meal Planner for 9 to 13 year olds or females 14 to 18 years and males 14 to 18 years will help teach how many servings of each food group should be eaten. The enclosed Canada’s Food Guide will help with understanding what a good serving size would be. This meal planner will not say what foods should be eaten. That is up to the individual planner. The hope was that at least initially the planner would choose foods they like and later add a variety of new foods. A food list and a weekly planning sheet can be found and printed at www.theeatinggame.ca on the ‘resources’ page.
The meal planner is designed in a dry erasable format that can be reused every day. It provides colored spaces to write down the foods to be eaten for the day, in a six meal format. The colors correspond to the four food groups: fruit & vegetables, milk & alternatives, grains and meat & alternatives.
The design of The Eater’s Choice Daily Meal Planner is meant to support the user and put them in control of the food choices and healthy weight management. In the long term it will help establish good eating habits, hopefully for a lifetime! For those who are overweight it will surely lead to a healthy a healthy weight loss too!