How to Help Your Child Gain Weight When They Won’t Eat

babel · August 2, 2022
If your child doesn't gain weight properly, they may have physical development problems and also learning problems. Keep reading to find out what you need to know.

Children gain weight as they get older in order to grow and develop properly. However, some children don’t gain enough weight. Although there can be many reasons for this, the most common reason is that they don’t eat enough food to meet their needs. With a little planning, children can maintain their weight and avoid the negative health effects of not gaining weight.

If a child doesn’t gain weight properly, they may have low levels of vitamins and minerals in the body, which can lead to physical development problems as well as learning problems. That is why it’s so important to treat the problem of weight gain properly.

How can I tell if my child isn’t gaining enough weight?

All children have a growth pattern that’s natural for them. In order to know if your child is within normal parameters and to verify that they’re gaining weight in a proportionate way, you need to monitor him. The pediatrician is the right person for this.

You must take into account that the growth tables offer average values, with maximums and minimums. The constitution of the child and their genetic inheritance play a key role, so don’t be overwhelmed if your child is below average.

Two little boys sitting on the sidewalk eating ice cream.

Why is my child not gaining enough weight?

Your child may not be gaining enough weight for a number of reasons. Among these are the following:

  • They’re experiencing a growth period and their energy needs are high.
  • They have no appetite or refuse food.
  • The child eats only certain types of food
  • They eat too slowly
  • They’re easily distracted or lose interest in eating quickly.
  • They have a disease.

How can I get my child to gain weight?

Making small changes to your child’s meals throughout the day can increase the amount of calories and nutrients they receive. Some of the changes that can be incorporated are the following:

  • Offer a balanced diet based on varied foods that’s rich in nutrients and presented in a pleasant and attractive way.
  • Serve small amounts of food but more often.
  • Don’t offer liquids to the child until the end of the meal.
  • Add healthy fats to food in adequate amounts, avoiding saturated fats and, above all, hydrogenated ones.
  • Eat as a family and in a quiet environment, in which everyone eats the same but in adequate proportions.
  • Keep the child physically and intellectually active to stimulate appetite.
  • Offer a nutritional supplement or compound that stimulates the child’s appetite.

Food supplements provide calories and nutrients to support weight gain and promote growth. Supplements should be recommended by your child’s pediatrician, depending on the age and situation of the child. In any case, offering a nutritional supplement should be the last option.

An Asian family sitting down to eat a healthy meal.

A balanced diet for children

A balanced diet for children should be based on the following principles:

  • Base meals on compound (starchy) carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes. Choose wholegrain varieties whenever possible.
  • Provide at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose some lean protein, which can come from meat, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, and other non-dairy sources.
  • Include milk and dairy products, like cheese and yogurt, which are great sources of protein and calcium.
  • Include a small amount of foods that are high in fat and/or sugar, or eat them less often.
  • Reduce the consumption of saturated fat, which is found in processed meats, cakes, pastries, and cookies.
  • Cut down on sugary foods and beverages, including sugary chocolate, cakes, cookies, and sodas.