Written by Natalie Weisfeld, Nutrition Instructor Camp Shane NY

Weight loss for kids can be a difficult obstacle. A child’s palate is not fully developed, which is why they crave “kid” foods such as chicken fingers, ice cream, and French fries. The key to weight loss is not depriving yourself from your favorite meal, but rather putting a healthy spin on it. Changing one ingredient can alter the nutrition facts in your food drastically. Why deprive your body when you could eat secretly delicious foods?

Suggestions from American Heart Association

Substitutions for Recipes

You can make many of your favorite recipes healthier by using lower-fat or no-fat ingredients.  These healthy substitutions can help you cut down on saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol, while noticing little, if any, difference in taste.


When recipe calls for  . . . Use this instead  …
Whole milk (1 cup) 1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk, plus one tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil
Heavy cream (1 cup) 1 cup evaporated skim milk or 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese
Sour cream Low-fat unsalted cottage cheese plus low-fat or fat-free yogurt; or just use fat-free sour cream
Cream cheese 4 tablespoons soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) blended with 1 cup dry, unsalted low-fat cottage cheese; add a small amount of fat-free milk if needed
Butter (1 tablespoon) 1 tablespoon soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) or 3/4 tablespoon liquid vegetable oil
Egg (1) 2 egg whites; or choose a commercially made, cholesterol-free egg substitute (1/4 cup)
Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce) 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or soft margarine; since carob is sweeter than cocoa, reduce the sugar in the recipe by 25%

Smart Substitutions for Snacks

You can snack healthier by substituting snacks that are high in
saturated fats and/or trans fats with these sensible snacks:


Instead of  . . . Enjoy …
Fried tortilla chips Baked tortilla chips (reduced sodium version)
Regular potato or corn chips Pretzels or low-fat potato chips (reduced sodium version)
High-fat cookies and crackers Fat-free or low-fat cookies, crackers (such as graham crackers, rice cakes, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps and molasses cookies)
Regular baked goods Baked goods, such as cookies, cakes and pies, and pie crusts made with unsaturated oil or soft margarines, egg whites or egg substitutes, and fat-free milk
Devil’s food cake Angel food cake
Ice cream bars Frozen fruit bars
Pudding made with whole milk Pudding made with fat-free or low-fat milk
Ice cream Sherbet, ice milk or frozen, fat-free or low-fat yogurt
Doughnut Whole grain bagel or toast

Smart Substitutions for High-Fat Items at Restaurants

You can eat sensibly when you eat out by choosing
lower-fat foods instead of “the usual.”


Instead of Try …
Cream-based soups Broth-based soups with lots of vegetables
Quiche and salad Soup and salad
Buffalo chicken wings Peel-and-eat shrimp
Bread, muffins, croissants Melba toast, pita bread, whole-grain rolls
Fried chicken sandwich Grilled chicken sandwich
Chicken fried steak Veggie burger
French fries Baked potato, brown rice, steamed vegetables
Potatoes and gravy Potatoes without gravy, baked potato
Creamy coleslaw Sautéed vegetables, steamed vegetables or tossed salad
Hot fudge sundae or ice cream Nonfat yogurt, sherbet or fruit ice

Smart Substitutions for Fast Food Restaurants

You can eat sensibly at fast-food restaurants by choosing
lower-fat foods instead of “the usual.”


Instead of Try
Danish Small whole grain bagel
Jumbo cheeseburgers Grilled chicken sandwiches, sliced meat sandwiches or even a regular hamburger on a bun with lettuce, tomato and onion
Fried chicken Grilled chicken and a side salad
Fried chicken pieces Grilled chicken sandwich
French fries Baked potato with vegetables and/or low-fat or fat-free sour cream or margarine on the side

By using these guidelines, weight loss for kids can be simple. They won’t even know that their favorite dish has a healthy spin. The key is finding a weight loss plan for kids that will work. It is simply unreasonable to assume a child will eat green. Don’t deprive them of their cravings, just put a healthy spin on it; Nutritious and Delicious!

Simple Alternatives to Aid in Weight Loss for Kids


The Camp Shane Team

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