If kids are too thin, you may worry that there is nothing you can do and that they may get sick. It helps to remember that children between the ages of one and five gain about five pounds a year. However, between the ages of six and puberty, weight gain slows to a couple of pounds a year.
You can schedule a doctor’s appointment for your child, and he can let you know how she measures up on the growth chart of children in the same age range.
Here are five things that will help if kids are too thin:
Reduce Junk Foods
Since your kids are too thin, and may find it hard to gain weight, you may be tempted to serve junk such as fries and milkshakes. That’s not a good idea.
If they eat too many sweet and salty foods they may be more likely to develop high blood pressure or diabetes.
According to Angela Lemond, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the “nutritional value of foods matters more because they are eating such a small amount.”
Cut Down on Liquids
Offer whole milk or water with meals. If they are drinking too much juice or soda during the day, they may not be hungry at mealtime.
Serve One Favorite Food
It may bother you that they will only eat favorites such as macaroni and cheese, but when you start with something they like, it may be easier to put new foods on their plates. Don’t introduce too many new foods at once. You’ve made a good start, so that is good enough for now.
Add Extra Calories
When you buy milk, choose full-fat dairy instead of low-fat or skim milk. Add sauces to vegetables and pasta, and serve creamed soup instead of broth. Add extra butter to potatoes before serving.
These methods add extra calories, and make food so tasty, that they may eat an extra serving.
Organize Family Exercise
Many kids would rather sit watching video games or watching television instead of exercising. Getting the whole family involved may encourage them to be more active.
Plan a family hike, ride bicycles, or go swimming. Encourage them to invite friends, and then they’ll have someone their own age with whom to exercise. All that activity may build up their appetite and they may be ready to eat a full meal.
If your kids are too thin, but are active and healthy, you don’t have to worry so much. Don’t lose your temper, and you may find that this is just a stage they’re going through, and may soon grow out of it.