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Boeing Center for Children's Wellness (Lean Team)



Every day you make hundreds of decisions about what, when, and how much you eat. While making healthy changes to your diet can seem overwhelming, there are general principles that you can follow that can make a world of difference.

Let’s begin with the basics. One pound of body fat is equal to 3, 500 Calories. To lose one pound of fat per week, create a 500 calorie deficit each day by eating 250 calories less and increasing activity by 250 calories. 

Click on the tips below to identify things you could change to decrease your energy or calorie intake.

1. Don't drink sugary beverages
2. Decrease fat and increase whole grains
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables
4. Reduce portions
5. Don't eat in front of the T.V.
6. Plan ahead and eat throughout the day


1. Don’t drink sugared beverages.
Sweetened soda and tea are filled with sugar that turns to fat in the body. Because it is liquid, it does not satisfy. One 12 oz can of soda contains 15 packages of sugar or about 1.5 ounces! Consume this above your basic energy needs, and you’re talking serious weight gain.

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2. Decrease fat and increase whole grains in your diet.
Fat costs 9 calories per gram, twice as much as a protein or carbohydrate.  Food preparation is a big deal; frying food forces water out and fat in. A piece of fried chicken has easily twice the calories as a piece of chicken where the skin is removed and it is baked.

  • avoid fried food
  • choose grilled, poached, or steamed foods
  • use less oil, margarine, butter, and cream in recipes
  • use less salad dressing, or choose lite versions

Whole grains are foods that have been minimally processed and have higher nutrient content and fiber.  Whole grain foods typically have the same calorie cost as the less nutritious white alternative.

  • choose whole grain bread, pasta, and cereal
  • stop eating white bread, white rice, and sugared cereals
  • eat real food, instead of pre-made and pre-packaged

Go to Stirring the Pot for how-to recipe videos.

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3. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are high in water, fiber, potassium, and other minerals and vitamins and low in calories, fat, and sodium. They will help you to feel full. The general recommendation is 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables each day. However, the American Cancer Society now is recommending 10 each day.

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4. Reduce portions and leave the table a little hungry.

Begin by eating less:

  • be aware of serving sizes
  • check food labels and multiply calories by servings per container
  • use a smaller plate
  • chew gum while cooking to avoid eating before the meal
  • when eating out plan to take half of the meal home 

Get in touch with hunger:

  • identify your hunger (boredom, stress, true hunger)
  • rate your hunger (1-5, 1=starving, 3=satisfied, 5=over-full)
  • eat slowly
  • stop before you are full to avoid over-eating
  • allow 20-30 minutes before taking a second helping

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5. Don’t eat in front of the TV!
Meal time is an important time to share with your family, actually taste and enjoy the food, and be mindful of what you are doing. Try to follow the rule of sitting at the table to eat.

Gather around the table for meals - family meal time promotes healthier eating!

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6. Plan ahead and eat throughout the day.

Planning ahead helps you stay on track and feel less hungry:

  • pre-plan meals and snacks
  • grocery shop and stock your kitchen
  • cut up fruits and vegetables for the week
  • pack a lunch box with quick, nutritious items for school, office, or travel
  • choose a restaurant that offers healthier food options

Eat throughout the day:

  • start your day with breakfast
  • don’t skip meals
  • eat 4-6 small meals throughout the day to stabilize blood sugar
  • don’t let yourself get overly hungry, eat on schedule
  • Healthy snacks for children

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