As a first-time parent, you have probably realized that making children eat healthy food can be a bit of a challenge. Most kids tend to be picky eaters which is why parents have to constantly look for ways to make their children eat healthy and nutritious food.
If you feel that your child is not eating enough and is showing signs of being underweight, you need to immediately address this issue. Generally, you should consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) weight-for-age or weight-for-length growth charts to determine if your child is getting adequate nutrition.
Most often, kids tend to be underweight because of dietary issues. Other factors include genetics and low birth weight. As a result, your child can suffer from lethargy, a weak immune system, and impaired growth.
In this article, we highlight the top tips every first-time parent should follow if their child is underweight.
Weight Gaining Shakes
A great way to increase your child’s weight is by preparing weight gaining shakes for kids. The benefit of such shakes is that you can easily include many healthy food items without ever telling your kid to eat them since you can easily mask the flavor using cocoa powder, peanut butter, or any other preferred ingredient.
Another benefit of weight gaining shakes is that you can vary the calorie intake while keeping the quantity the same. This is especially useful if your child eats less food on average.
So get creative and do a few trial runs of delicious weight gaining shakes till you find the perfect balance of ingredients.
Weight Gaining Foods
While children require an adequate nutritious intake to keep them healthy, sometimes it might be a good idea to feed them weight-gaining foods, especially those high in protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Some examples include dairy products such as whole milk or 2% fat milk, full-fat cheese, full-fat yogurt, and buttermilk. Similarly, opt for high protein food such as fatty fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy protein, white meat, and red meat. You may also find high-carb food items such as rice, potatoes, pasta, and high fiber breakfast cereals useful.
Have A Dedicated Meal And Snack Time
As a parent, you should stick to a dedicated meal and snack time for your children. This allows their digestive system to function optimally. It also helps to regulate their internal clock and makes them eat at regular intervals, which may keep them from being underweight.
It is recommended that growing children eat after every 3-4 hours. This means that you need to prepare the three standard meals along with snacks so that your child’s target calorie intake is fulfilled.
Some examples of healthy snacks include fruits and vegetables such as coconut, avocados, figs, dates, bananas, squash, and dried fruits and nuts.
A common mistake is to ignore the importance of daily and routine exercise and activity if your child is underweight.
Regular physical activity will encourage children to become hungry and eat well. It is part of the appetite cycle and is a great way to motivate them towards adopting a healthy lifestyle as well as eating sufficient amounts of food.
We recommend setting a dedicated time for daily exercise with the promise of their favorite snacks afterward.
Healthy Habits You Need To Encourage
As a parent, you will need to put in some effort to inculcate healthy eating habits among your children. This includes not skipping meal times, avoiding junk or high-sugar foods, and eating high nutrient and energy-based foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Also, ask them not to use any electronic devices when eating.
As a rule of thumb, look for alternatives to highly processed food items and encourage your kids from an early age to avoid consumption or over-consumption of soda and fizzy drinks, packet chips, and candy.
Consult With Your Pediatrician
You can also benefit from visiting your pediatrician and asking them to conduct a thorough examination of your child. This will allow you to get a professional medical opinion and decide the best course of action.
Your pediatrician can accurately point out why your child is underweight and may even prescribe an appropriate multivitamin supplement. You can also work out a dietary plan with them to help you with your food choices for your child.
As a first-time parent, it may be overwhelming to deal with an underweight child. The trick is to constantly monitor your child’s eating habits and regularly note down their weight in order to make timely adjustments in their food intake.
Just follow the above tips so that your child gains weight and stays healthy and fit.
Passionate Writer, Blogger and Amazon Affiliate Expert since 2014.