Snacking on my toddler's leftovers is making me fat!

By Erin Dym on January 31, 2013
Elliott Samuelson looks at his stomach in dismay.

“We’re chasing a toddler around all day! How is it possible that I’m gaining weight instead of losing it?” says the dad of Jordan, 16 months.

He isn’t the only parent who has ended up packing on the pounds in recent years. “Losing weight is difficult at the best of times, but parents often find it difficult to set aside the time to exercise because their schedules are so busy,” says Lorne King, a certified personal trainer and former Canadian Football League star.

Lack of sleep can promote weight gain, but the toddler stage is also when food becomes a factor. Toddlers are no longer only consuming breast milk and baby food; they are eating real adult food, and often, their small appetites and attention spans mean they can’t fi nish a whole portion.

“As parents find themselves preparing a child-friendly menu, they often snack on some of it along the way and have a tendency to fi nish their child’s leftovers,” says Lorne.

According to a recent study released in the journal Health Affairs, kids in the United States now get more than a quarter of their daily calories (27 percent) from junk food. “This means that snacking on your toddler’s food can really be hazardous to your health,” he says.

When you crunch the numbers, it’s easy to see how the pounds add up. “There are 3,500 calories stored in one pound of fat,” says Lorne. “Overeating by only 50 calories per day can mean that you gain an additional fi ve pounds of fat per year.”

Here's where the calories are hiding:

One chicken finger: 140 calories
Half an Orea cookie: 70 calories
Half of a kid's bowl (1/2 cup) of macaroni and cheese: 179 calories
Finishing a glass (1/2 cup) of homo milk: 75 calories
French fries: 9 calories each multiplied by how many are in a handful!
Half a hot dog: 120 calories

There are two main takeaways for parents: “Be conscious of making healthy choices for your children,” says Lorne. “And throw away those leftovers because these extra calories can really add up!”

Lorne King is a fitness expert with three (fit) children. He conducts in-home and on-site training out of Advantage4Atheles (A4A) in Markham, Ont., a state-of-the-art training facility and the offi cial training site for Sport Canada. Visit for more.

Originally published in ParentsCanada: Me & Mom, October 2012.

By Erin Dym| January 31, 2013

Our Magazines

Our Partners



Read ParentsCanada Digital Magazine For Free

© 2018 ParentsCanada. All rights reserved