Desperate mum

Hi all I am helping my son lose weight because he is not a happy chappe at the moment he needs to lose two stone he is a really fusse eat so I'm finding it hard to put meals together can eat eggs can't have tomatoes not many fruit he can eat I'm counting calories but its really hard he's 15and been I'll for along time he's better and wonts to lose he has been bullyed at school so bad we have changed schools and I need help with finding fun and tastey food for him please help

4 Replies

  • Raising teenagers is always a challenge, 😕 Positivity and example may be your most helpful tools, but he has to want it for himself and also believe in himself 😊 No starvation diets and increasing exercise will help. Good luck!

  • My son is a fussy eater too. V hard to make food he likes and which is healthy. He likes homemade soup which you can stuff with veg and pulses; the trick would be not to have too much bread with it! My weakness...

  • I'm so sorry to hear that your son's been having a really tough time of it lately and I understand your desperation to help him out.

    I'm not sure that putting him on a calorie controlled diet is the best way to go, have you spoken to your GP about it? Teenagers need a lot of nutrients, as they're going through big changes in their physical appearance and growth. To restrict the intake of your son, who as you say is already a fussy eater, may be a little unwise. I'm no expert, but my way of thinking, would be to work on encouraging him to eat correctly sized portions of healthy meals, that the whole family can eat and cutting out junk food, ie crisps, sweets etc.

    Even if you can manage to halt any further gain in weight, he'll very quickly grow into that weight, by getting taller :)

    I was an overweight teenager myself, so I know how it can mess with your self-image and self-esteem and I do appreciate what he's up against. I really hope that you can find the answer, but please do get professional advice, just to be on the safe side :)

    I've given you a couple of links, that may be useful to you and wish you all the very best :)

  • This is a difficult one. I think if they're still growing, you aim to keep them at their current weight while they get taller. It might be worth checking whether you have access to a school nurse via the school. Ours was a great ally, boosting the message from home. It meant we swopped from school meals to packed lunches as the school options weren't healthy eating! And no money for the vending machines or shops!

    A lot of local council gyms will have sports programmes aimed at teenagers. My local one offers swimming clubs, a cycling programme and reductions for the get moving gym programme. Boosting his activity might be another way to help him. And finding "his" sport would build his confidence.

    Foodwise, it depends what you both think of as fun and tasty. One idea would be to get him involved with the making of food. Kids often will eat new foods when they have had a hand in making the meal. It is worth finding out exactly why he can't eat eggs or tomatoes and each fruit. Is it mouth feel or flavour? As a child, I hated any egg, fried, poached or boiled, that had the slightest bit of "jelly" white. But my mum got round this by giving me omelettes, scrambled eggs, over cooked fried eggs and, still a family favourite, fried eggy bread fingers. By adulthood, I was eating them cooked any way. Does he eat egg custard and mayonnaise? Two other ways of introducing him to eggs. And, of course, they're in cakes! There are healthier baking recipes out there. Does he eat baked beans, because they are in tomato sauce? Does he eat ketchup? It might just be the seeds he has a problem with. But that would mean that you could use canned chopped tomato, puree and passata, which would help with pizzas, pasta sauces and soups.

    I would concentrate on finding which healthy options he is happy with. We had a lot of success with vegetable batons to dip. Red pepper, cucumber and carrot are still favourites, with just a handful of toast or pitta fingers or nachos. Dips can be any mixtures of home made salsa; yogurt & low fat cheese spread beaten together; quark plus some curry paste; tuna mashed with salad cream and a touch of ketchup, houmous. Perhaps explore the dips in the supermarket and then together work out how to make your own versions. Much cheaper, but better yet, you have control over how much oil etc is added. We found variations on coleslaw were successful too. So we added an ounce of peanuts, or added some slivers of almond and sultanas to grated carrot dressed in lemon juice.

    It is worth really investigating cereals. The ideal ones are the 100% whole grain ones, like oats, puffed wheat, shredded wheat and mini shredded wheat. I sometimes offer half puffed wheat and half another option with sugar in, like the multigrain hoops that all shops sell their own version of now. 1 shredded wheat is nice sprinkled on top of fruit and yogurt. Wholemeal bread sandwiches would be good for lunch. If you fill them with low fat meats, cheeses, etc. I would always add a veg to each filling. All the bread buns and rolls, give you portion control, which may be an issue for a starving teenager. Don't forget wholemeal pitta and wraps, both of which can also be used as pizza bases for his own toppings. Bread based sweet options are much lower in kcals than equivalent cakes. So look at crumpets, scotch pancakes, bagels, tea cakes, malt loaves and fruit breads for a touch of sweetness without extra fats.

    If he is happy with it, quorn and some other meatless options offer much less kcal compared to the meat versions. We found the mince worked well in chilli and curries. Because we added so many highly flavoured sauces etc to our burgers and hot dogs, we found the meatless ones went undetected.

    After school, we often left a pan of vegetable soup for snacking with unbuttered toast.

    When it comes to puddings, we tended to go for fruit based ones. We did find frozen fruits and fruit canned in juice were helpful too. We often added them to sugar free jellies. Or topped the fruit with a crumble topping and added custard. Fruity bread and butter puddings give another way to give him eggs, and are low in fat. Gelato icecreams are made with milks rather than cream and so might well be less kcal. I love frozen low fat/low sugar fruit yogurtsf. They take ages to eat. I found, if I put a filled fruit bowl on the coffee table in front of the TV. The fruit just got eaten, absent mindedly. Without me putting him off by recommending it.

    Drinks are a minefield for this age group, especially if, like me, you weren't wise enough to bring him up drinking tea and coffee. Juice can be swopped with no added sugar squashes. For fizzy drinks, I would swop to sugar free versions. It might be worth offering a limited number of cans per week, as offering big bottles just meant that the average intake in a sitting became the size of the bottle - 2 litres. The acid in these drinks is very damaging to teeth, even without the sugar.

    Good luck with all your planning and experimenting. The benefit to my son was, when he went to university, he was the only student in each group of flat mates who knew how to shop and cook economically.

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