Society tends to look down on being overweight, especially when this occurs in children. In the same way, people may look down on or single out those with malnutrition.
A child that is underweight can be a red flag for parents when the reason behind the condition is unknown. Adults often make the serious mistake of allowing these children to eat all the junk food they want.
They think this will help them gain weight in a healthy way. Of course, this is anything but healthy.
Actually, the best way to help a child gain weight properly is to change his or her nutritional habits. A good change begins with identifying and choosing the right foods.
To gain weight, children need foods that are high in nutrients, vitamins, and acceptable calories.
The first step I should take if my child is underweight
The first thing you should do, in any case, is talk to your child‘s doctor. He or she will determine what is best for your little one. Routine exams and a good medical opinion are always the best option.
What are the possible reasons behind my child’s low weight?
Your child’s build may simply be the result of the genes he or she inherited from your family or your partner’s.
If the mother or father is slim, then the child will likely be slim as well. If that’s not the case, then a doctor should evaluate your child and find the cause.
Little interest in eating
Children love to eat. Of course, they don’t love everything, but there’s a great variety of foods they can eat and enjoy. Therefore, if your child isn’t interested in eating, then it may be an indication of a medical or psychological issue.
Another cause can be a hormonal imbalance or low metabolism, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. Your child may also be allergic to certain foods or suffer from gastrointestinal issues. Either condition can make eating uncomfortable for your little one.
During preadolescence, the appearance of eating disorders among children is a common consequence of social pressure or ostracism. In this sense, bullying can lead to bulimia and anorexia.
An excess of physical activity causes metabolism to become accelerated. In extreme cases, this doesn’t allow the individual to digest and assimilate foods correctly.
How can I help my child reach his or her ideal weight?
Staying within a healthy weight range is a fundamental part of long-term health. Exercise and proper nutrition are a major part of what keeps us healthy. Furthermore, you can take the following factors into consideration:
If your child is underweight, then frequent meals are a good strategy. It’s not only a question of what your child eats, but also how often. Young children have smaller stomachs, so they need to eat up to six or seven times a day.
Healthy family habits
It’s important for the rest of the family to set a good example. If the entire family has healthy eating habits, then the child will easily follow this lifestyle. Logically, this contributes to your child’s overall health.
Combining an effective exercise routine with healthy eating is a wise decision. Physical exercise stimulates appetite. Therefore, getting your child active before mealtime can be very useful.
In addition to all of this, you should avoid unhealthy foods like pastries, soft drinks, cookies, fast food, junk food and candy.
Eating these items makes a person’s chances of developing health issues much greater. Some of the risks include diabetes, cardiac disease because of excess fat, etc.
“Adults often make the serious mistake of allowing these children to eat all the junk food they want. They think that this will help them gain weight in a healthy way. Of course, this is anything but healthy.”
What should I do to help my child gain weight?
The first thing you should do is evaluate your family’s eating habits and make necessary changes to be healthier.
Get rid of sugary juices and soft drinks and cut down on high calorie junk food. None of those things will help your child gain weight in a healthy way.
To replace these items, some better alternatives are foods with a balanced amount of calories and nutrients.
Look for options that are packed with vitamins and minerals. Having a variety of these items on hand will help you create endless menus that your child will enjoy.
Strive to provide a diet that includes items from all the main food groups. Include carbohydrates, like pastas, breads and cereals. Serve fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
Give your family proteins like beef, fish, grains and eggs, and dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese. At the same time, avoid excess fiber. Whole grain rice and pastas will reduce your child’s appetite.
Remember that fats aren’t always bad for our bodies. For example, vegetable-based oils are a great way to add nutrients to a diet. Seeds and nuts are excellent options for afternoon snacking, or to add flavor and crunch to your meals.
If your child isn’t a big fan of eating fruit, then you can try smoothies, natural popsicles, and fruit salads.
As for vegetables, you can prepare delicious purees and pot pies. With creativity and innovation, you’ll be sure to spark your son or daughter’s appetite.
The reasoning behind all of these changes is to provide the right vitamins and nutrients. With the exception of a medical diagnosis that requires specific treatment, eating well will be sufficient in helping your child gain weight properly.
Sometimes change is difficult, but necessary, especially when it comes to our family’s health.