Underweight children are a cause for concern. There’s a difference if your child is a bit on the lean side and fussy about food, because many children are like that. If you suspect that your child is seriously underweight, however, whether you’re following an index counter online or your physician has recently informed you of something like that, then you will have to change your strategy towards health and nutrition for your child. As we all know, childhood is an integral age for building immunity and any issues, if they are there, should be corrected early so your child doesn’t suffer the consequences when they’re older.
While you might think that the easy solution to a child who’s underweight is to stuff them with extra cakes, chocolates, sweets, and other sugary, fatty foods, that’s not going to work. Your child needs a healthy, balanced diet, and by the age of five, they should be eating the same as any adult. However, they might not want to. Here are some tips to figure out how to approach feeding your child when they’re underweight.
Make meals at home
Eating out or allowing the children to eat bad lunches at school can add up. As far as possible, try to make meals at home, so you can control the calorie intake and cook up a balanced meal. If you eat together especially and try to make it fun, your child won’t be dreading meals. It’s also a great way to spend quality time together. However, don’t put too much pressure on your child to eat. You can control what kind of food you give to them, however. You and your partner can take turns cooking, or maybe hire someone to whip up some healthy meals.
Avoid too much snacking
This seems to be pretty common advice, but unless it’s an exceptional case, try to make sure your child has time to get hungry before sitting down to a meal. Snacks are fine in moderation but it’s good if they can be as healthy as possible; for example, let your child have peanut butter with apples or celery, and put olive oil or other healthy oils into the snacks, if possible. Avoid supplying them with store-bought fruit juices which are amped up on sugar. You can also try granola and dried fruits.
Make sure they’re getting enough dairy
A lot of kids don’t enjoy drinking plain milk, but dairy is good for calcium and bone health. You can add milk into their cereal or for thick soups, and put cheese into their eggs and sandwiches. For treats, try to add yogurt or homemade ice cream to pancakes and waffles if you make them at home. Have them drink milk regularly, whether you have to use a flavoring or not, and make them hot chocolate or cocoa as well. You can also make them smoothies with fruit, milk, or yogurt.
They should drink water at the right times
If your child drinks a lot of water just before a meal, or while they’re eating, it’ll fill them up very quickly and they won’t feel that hungry anymore. They can sip water between meals, but make sure they’re not chugging glass after glass. Otherwise, when they’re not sitting down for lunch or dinner, it’s very important they stay hydrated.
Eat enough fruits and vegetables
Remember, your kids need a balanced diet, so make sure they’re getting a few portions of fruits per day. For vegetables, you can work them in as snacks sometimes or sneak them into a meat-based dish if your children aren’t too fond of their greens. You can also serve raw greens and crackers with hummus dip.
Map your child’s progress
Keep track of your child’s growth and weight and make sure they’re getting enough physical exercise (at least an hour per day). Make sure to keep up to date on your doctor’s appointments so you can keep up with how your child is doing. Once they’ve reached a regular weight, you might need to adjust the diet.
It can be a bit worrisome for a mother when your child doesn’t eat right and it’s reflecting in their development and growth. However, as long as you make it your goal to make sure they reach a healthy weight and actively work towards it (without pressuring your child), things will be fine.