Children experience a number of changes, and fluctuation in weight is one of them. Sometimes, it can take awhile for a child's weight to catch up to his height, especially during major growth spurts. You may think your child is underweight, but it may be just a matter of time before he fills out on his own. Like adults, weight control in children is a balancing act of calories and physical activity. Your child's body may not have found that balance yet. Given time, it most likely will, so active weight gain may not be necessary.
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Before changing your child's diet, talk to your doctor. Medical professionals can assess growth rate in comparison to weight to determine if your child is underweight. They can also appraise body mass index, activity levels, diet and overall health to make recommendations. If your child's weight is a problem, your doctor can suggest specific dietary and exercise changes to add healthy pounds to her body frame.
Though your doctor will have certain suggestions, the best "weight gainer" for kids is often a well-balanced diet. Don't start feeding your child calorie-heavy foods just for the caloric value. They should be predominantly nutritious foods, such as whole-grain pastas, breads and cereals as well as fruits, vegetables and legumes. Low-fat dairy, lean meats and nuts can also help increase caloric intake, even in moderation. Calorie-containing beverages, like fruit juice, sports drinks or skim milk, can help boost caloric intake.
Another facet to gaining weight healthfully is eating habits. Increasing the frequency of your child's food intake can also help bring a balance to calories and physical activity, and thereby helping your child gain weight. Smaller meals at regular intervals throughout the day can increase caloric intake without making your child feel uncomfortably full.
As you increase the caloric value of meals with nutritious foods, encouraging your child to snack between meals can also act as a "weight gainer" for kids. Peanut butter, graham crackers, string cheese, bran muffins, granola bars, avocados and lean meats are all snacks that are nutritious, yet boost caloric intake. Even if your child is eating smaller meals throughout the day, consider giving him a snack prior to bed to add a few pounds.
Just because your child is currently underweight or seems to be underweight, unhealthy dietary habits to promote weight gain can eventually lead to overweight or obesity. Make sure that your efforts to get your child to gain weight aren't sabotaging a healthy weight in the future.