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Ask Dr. Gourmet

On The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan, do I need to make different meals for my kids?

I have just finished reviewing The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan for families program. I am considered obese, 50 pounds over my ideal weight, as is my husband. I also have two children, 5 & 6 1/2. How can I adjust these servings to accommodate their growing bodies so that I am making one main meal each evening or is it necessary?

P.S.: By the way, your website is easy to understand and follow. Thank you for providing all of this information to us.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a girl about 7 or 8 years old in a kitchen where she has just made her own pizza

The average 5 to 8 year-old needs about 40 calories per pound of weight, or 1,800 - 1,900 calories per day. Activity is going to have a lot to do with this, however. If your child is less active, they might need only 1,400 calories, and if they are very active, they will need more.

Most dietitians recommend more than just three meals per day for kids. A good strategy is to use the 1,500 calorie level as a guide and then supplement with nutritious snacks for your children when they are active. This means that your kids can eat the same healthy diet as you - just create a profile for each child, and instead of choosing "let Dr. Gourmet decide" under the number of calories, choose "1500 calories" for each child. Then add healthy snacks as needed.

Here are some healthy snack ideas for kids:

For an active day:

  • A half or whole peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread
  • A half or whole grilled low-fat cheese sandwich using whole grain bread
  • Fruit and nut blend trail mixes (check the package for added sugar and salt)
  • A bowl of healthy cereal from the breakfast choices
  • Fresh veggies cut up and served with a dipping sauce and cubes of low-fat cheese
  • Low fat cottage cheese with diced fresh or canned fruit

For a treat:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Jello Sugar Free Pudding cups
  • Jello Sugar Free gelatin cups
  • Yogurt cups (make your own with 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt a teaspoon of honey and fresh fruit
  • Graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sorbet
  • 1/2 cup low-fat frozen yogurt
  • A root beer float made with sugar free root beer and a half cup of low-fat, low-sugar vanilla ice cream
  • Frozen sugar-free fruit juice bars

If you have any concerns about your children's weight, do check with their pediatrician. He or she can help you evaluate growth patterns, as well as height and weight for age and activity levels.

Thanks for your kind words about the Dr. Gourmet website.

Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
Dr. Gourmet