Hello parents! My name is Kalina and over the past decade I have done over 1,000 nutrition plans for kids and teens. This post is to teach you the basics on how to use MyPlate to help your child build healthy eating habits and lose weight if necessary. My philosophy is to always eat real food! You also want to try your best to choose whole foods grown locally and organic.

What do I mean by real food? That means to stay away from canned, boxed, or bagged foods unless it is in their natural state. Ok, now that we got that out of the way let’s get started.

Back in June 2011 the Food Pyramid became MyPlate. However, these new eating guidelines still need some work especially if you want your children to lose weight. I have used MyPlate over the years to help many kids and teens change their habits and have witnessed amazing transformations. So let’s dissect MyPlate and make it a healthy one!

The following recommendations and portions are encouraged for families of children or teens who desire to lose weight:

For Fruits: Serving size ½ cup for breakfast, lunch, and a mid-afternoon snack and include a rainbow of colors. I recommend that you stay away from juicing fruits since they often have a lot of sugar which will prevent your child from losing weight. However, you may use fruits in smoothies without straining because the fiber will counteract the sugar that fruits have.

For Grains: Serving size ½ cup for breakfast, lunch, and a mid-afternoon snack. Grains are important for kids and teens since they are still growing. However, this is the area where our little one’s love to eat from foods like bread, chips, pasta, and rice. You want to switch to whole grains such as brown rice, rolled oats, whole-wheat bread and pasta, etc. Portions for grains should be no more than ½ cup to lose weight and should be eliminated completely for dinner.

For Vegetables: This is the only area of the plate that has no limit on serving size. Your child can eat as many veggies as they want to! Vegetables are very important because they help to satisfy our hunger and gives us the nutrients that our body needs to grow and be healthy. The only vegetable that I completely discourage for weight loss is corn. It may have fiber but it also tends to raise blood sugar which is something we are trying to stay away from.

For Proteins: Proteins are important for building, maintaining, and repairing the tissues in our body. MyPlate recommends one serving for each main meal - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One serving should be based on your child’s hand size and no more than that. Proteins come in different forms such as animal protein for example chicken, fish, beef, pork, shrimp, etc. Then we have beans, lentils, almonds, and peanuts. Remember portion control is important so use your child’s hand as a guide.

For Dairy: When it comes to weight loss Dairy falls under the Protein category even though MyPlate shows it as a separate food group. I will teach you what I always taught my other hundreds of parents which helped their kids and teens to lose weight. But before we move on please answer the following questions honestly in regards to your child or teen: Does your child love to eat cheese or yogurt? Is pizza a weekly food eaten in your house because you have cheese lovers?

If you answered yes to any of these three questions then I recommend to eliminate lactose products completely. Dairy products contain lactose, a form of sugar and you need to eliminate sugar consumption to the recommended amount to achieve weight loss. Now to the great news, you can consume 8 to 12 ounces of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, lactose free milk, lactose free cheese or yogurt. Again portion here is key as well.

I hope that this post has been useful to help get your family started on using MyPlate. If you would like more teen weight loss tips and bonus information sent to your email please sign up below by entering your name and email. I can’t wait to help you and your family build healthy habits that last a lifetime.

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At Kalina’s Fitness, our mission is to give teens (ages 8-18) the tools they need to transform their lives and build healthy habits that will last a lifetime. By combining nutritional counseling, group support, and exercise classes, our Lean Teen Program empowers kids and teens to achieve their fitness goals. We are driven by a strong belief that every child deserves the opportunity to realize their full potential.

It all starts with a one-on-one nutritional consultation to better understand your child’s eating habits. Your health coach will prepare a nutrition plan that gives your family the flexibility needed to make permanent lifestyle changes. Register today for a Free Day Pass so we can help your child to build healthy habits and get fit. We look forward to serving you with excellence. Thank you for visiting us!