Being overweight and obese is an ever-growing problem affecting half of all adults and, more worrying, over a third of all children. It seems like gaining weight is an epidemic! Being overweight is not just a problem affecting how you look; it also affects how you feel and your health. Too much body fat and being overweight has been inextricably linked to a host of diseases including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Joint pain
Being overweight or obese affects kids the same way it affects adults and, statistically speaking, overweight kids are much more likely to become overweight adults.
Not so many years ago, overweight kids were few and far between. Junk food was less common, kids tended to play energetic games outside, and they also tended to walk more because there were fewer cars available to take them to school.
Nowadays, many kids spend their time playing indoors, using technology for entertainment, are often pacified with unhealthy food, are free to make unhealthy food choices more often, and hardly walk anywhere. It’s no wonder that childhood obesity is on the rise.
If your kid is overweight, I strongly urge you to help them get more active, eat more healthily, and lose that excess baggage before it starts to cause them harm. If things carry on the way they are, many of us will outlive our kids because they ended up being fatter, sooner, and for longer than we did.
I’m often asked if meal replacement shakes are a good way for kids to lose weight, and my answer is “maybe.”
Why only maybe? Mainly because most commercial meal replacement shakes are designed for adults and not formulated for kids. This means that some of them may not be suitable or healthy for kids. For that reason, I suggest NOT using adult formula meal replacement shakes for your children.
However, if you want to help your child lose weight with shakes, you could try making your own so that you a) know what ingredients are in it and b) you can control the size of the portion more accurately. Homemade meal replacement shakes can be passed off as smoothies which most kids love anyway, and it’s a great way to get even the fussiest eater to chow down on fruit and vegetables without even realizing it!
However, in my opinion, while weight loss meal replacement shakes can help, it’s more important to teach your child about the importance of good nutrition, how to choose and make healthy food, and the dangers of being overweight. Do this gently to avoid making them paranoid over their weight and their food choices, and don’t use scare tactics or body shaming as that could lead to long-term self-image problems. Also, encourage them to become more active – even if that’s just walking to school instead of driving them.
You can find my favorite meal replacement shakes on my post The Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss.
So, yes, you CAN use meal replacement shakes with kids but they should be just a small part of a holistic approach to help your child lose weight and stay slim and healthy.