Should I Put My Daughter On A Diet?

Dear Sara,

My four year old daughter seems to be too heavy. She isn’t really fat, she’s just solid. She seems to have lots of energy and doesn’t stop until nap time. She eats a lot but I feel like she runs it all off. Do I need to put her on a diet?

Dear Zoe,

At your daughter’s age you can’t really put her on a diet but you can offer her foods that are low in fats and calories. Look for things that are healthier for her and stay away from things like ice cream, donuts and potato chips. Your daughter will eat these things whether she is hungry or not.

Toddlers need about 1000-1400 calories a day. You can use this as a general guide. Vegetables and fruit have few calories unless they have butter or cream sauce.

You might try to watch the sodium content as well. Milk is good for her but you could try for a lower fat content. She needs protein so meat fish and poultry are all good for her but try to stay away from fried.

What you really want to do is set a pattern of eating that she will follow the rest of her life. She needs to be used to the healthy foods that will keep her from being obese and all of the health problems that go with obesity.


  1. Frozen yogurt is a good alternative to ice cream and also sugar free Klondikes or sugar free ice cream. Healthy eating is important so at dinner watch the amount of carbohydrates (ex: don’t serve mashed potatoes and corn together) as they turn into sugar. Agree healthy snacks help…plenty of choices. My grandson loves celery sticks with peanut butter or low fat cream cheese on them or baby carrots with low-fat ranch dressing to dip them. Sounds like your daughter is active and that is GREAT! I would not worry about her at this point. Please, please do not put her on a ‘diet’.

  2. Can t wait for boobs to come in, periods to start and all that the fun her older sisters must be having with being a female. Having 2 older sisters she has learnt a lot of what goes on in a girls body, but I still need to be able to put her on the straight and narrow when she comes home with things that have been learnt from friends.

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