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Weight Loss Strategies for Teenagers

by Christina Schnell, studioD

Being a teenager is hard enough, never mind having to deal the stress or self-consciousness of being overweight. Teens who weigh 10 percent more than their physician-recommended weight are candidates for gradual weight loss programs, explains HealthyChildren.org. A teen should be careful and not try to lose too much weight or to participate in fad diets or extreme weight loss programs. Always consult your teen's pediatrician before beginning any weight loss program.

Healthy Snacks

Choosing smart snack replacements can prevent overeating at the next meal, explains Mayo Clinic. Noshing on chips and candy bars throughout the day quickly adds to your teen's calorie intake and aren't likely to offset hunger for very long. Instead, encourage low-fat versions of cottage cheese, string cheese and yogurt, along with whole wheat crackers or fresh fruit, These healthy alternatives offer more filling nutrients with less fat and fewer calories than cheese fries or ice cream sandwiches.

Physical Activity

Your teen doesn't need to run a marathon or to be on a sports team to get physical activity. The Mayo Clinic recommends 60 minutes of total activity a day, but notes that the teen can break this up into smaller segments throughout the day. A brisk walk to school, a 20-minute bike ride, or even doing moderate yard work can, in combination, help burn off extra calories. Finding ways to be active as a family can also support your teen's weight loss.

Smaller Portions

Teens looking to cut extra calories should reduce portion sizes. This is particularly a wise idea when it comes to high-calorie, high-fat foods. The difference between a small serving and an extra-large french fries can be 200 calories or more. Teens should be encouraged to have large portions of fresh fruits and veggies, as these provide fiber and nutrients, and to eat smaller amounts of high-fat and high-calorie dishes like baked zita, pizza, hamburgers and butter-saturated mashed potatoes.

Nix Liquid Calories

A few sodas a day with several juice-drinks or sports drinks in between can easily equal 600 calories or more. Not only are these beverages loaded with sugar and calories, but also they offer no nutrients and won't ease hunger. Water is ideal, but if your teen is used to drinking soda and juice, switching to tap overnight probably isn't realistic. As a substitute, the Mayo Clinic recommends diet soda, or calorie-free flavored water or adding low-calorie flavor shots, available at most grocery stores, in plain seltzer water.

About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

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