Categorized | Child Weight Issues, Health

How To Help Underweight Children Gain Weight

Childhood obesity is one common health issue of children. However, many children actually deal with the opposite problem. Underweight children can experience delays in development and health complications. Below are some tips on how parents with underweight children can help.

Consult With Your Toddler’s Pediatrician

Contact your toddler’s pediatrician to determine why your toddler is underweight. The doctor will be able to rule out any underlying health issues such as food allergies, food intolerance or Celiac disease (disorder of the small intestine) that may contribute to his lack of weight gain or weight loss.

Make Mealtimes Relaxing

Pressuring your little one to eat will only cause him to eat less. Never force your toddler to eat when he does not want to. Just let him leave the table. He will eat when he is hungry. As much as possible, eat together as a family. Do not punish him if he does not eat much. Also, make sure to provide a relaxing eating environment. Eat at the dining table and see to it that there are no toys, TV or anything that can distract your toddler.

Let Your Toddler Help You Cook

Another effective technique is to encourage your toddler to participate with meal preparation so he feels invested in the food and will eat more. Just assign him simple tasks such as setting up the dining table, letting him wash the vegetables or passing the ingredients to you.

Offer Small Meals Often

Offer a few extra snacks throughout the day. A toddler who does not like eating a full meal will benefit from eating small yet filling snacks in between meals. Ask your toddler every 2 hours if he is hungry and give kid-friendly foods and drinks such as dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars, cheese, yogurt, crackers, wheat bread spread with tuna or a glass of chocolate milk.

Offer Healthy Foods Your Underweight Toddler Will Eat

Keep in mind that it is your job to provide your toddler foods that will nourish his body. Give him whole milk instead of low-fat milk. Add milk (instead of broth or water), small pieces of vegetables and meat to soup. Spread peanut butter on apples. Stir olive oil into pasta. Grill potatoes and chicken instead of frying them. Slice fruits and vegetables into tiny portions to make a fruit and vegetable salad and create a tasty dip for more flavor. This way, even if he is eating small amounts of food, he still gets the nutrients he needs.

Also, an underweight toddler should never rely on candies, chips, chocolates, cookies and pastries for energy. Substitute these with healthy desserts and snacks such as fruits with whipped cream, frozen yogurt, low-fat muffins and cookies.

Provide Liquid Calories

Give your toddler water, shakes, smoothies and fresh fruit and vegetable juice to increase his calorie intake. Avoid giving him artificial fruit juices which have minimal nutritional value. Make sure you do not give your little one more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day as this can fill up an already tiny appetite.

Use A Multivitamin Supplement

Using a multivitamin supplement can also be helpful in making sure your toddler gets all the necessary nutrients he needs until his diet improves. Ask your pediatrician which vitamins are suitable for your little one.

Helping an underweight toddler to gain weight can be a really challenging task. But with a little help from the expert, creativity and a healthy meal plan, your child can gain weight for better health in no time.

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