Published: 10/10/2010 - Updated: 05/31/2016
Author: K. Laura Garcés G
Children in normal growth tend to gain weight and height, which warns that the child is developing properly and that their nutritional status is optimal. When a child has a weight below normal (according to preset tables according to age and sex) is necessary to take measures as this could be a sign of malnutrition. Do not confuse a low weight with the constitution of the child, since children may be very well nourished and thin, while we find obese and malnourished children. We must also take into account that children whose body is genetically predisposed to have low levels of fat and, and even though they eat more, their body will be sleek and lean, so it would be unfair to force them to eat more when they could be well nourished.
In some cases, this requires consultation with a specialist to determine if a child is underweight, although some signs of underweight and poor nutrition are the weakness or low muscle tone, low energy, poor academic performance and physical tiredness during the day, predisposition to disease, etc.
If you notice that your child lacks weight or the muscles are very poor, do not hesitate to implement this nutritional program that will help your child gain weight.
Avoid the replacement of nutrients by junk food, and do not let your children eat these products if they have not eaten essential nutrients. For example: Do not give cookies or chips before the meal with the idea that this will help to gain weight. This belief only will make your child to be malnourished. If they are hungry and food is not ready, then it is better to offer a fresh vegetable salad or fresh vegetable juice, even a cereal bar between meals would be great.
A child with low weight may be due to inadequate attention to diet maybe because the mother or father is not at home taking care of the child's diet. If you work and your child will not eat with you, you need to make an effort to tell the staff who care for your kid to follow a diet, trying give the food that your child should eat either at breakfast or lunch.
Try to accustom your child from an early age to avoid eat sweets of all kinds. It’s believed that they are necessary but not really, since they only deteriorate your teeth, create indigestion and toxins in the body, and contain no nutritional value which only generates an overweight undernourished. For your child to gain weight and this stage, you must offer nutritious things and avoid those foods that just fill out.
Take into account the emotional factor: an infant with low weight may be suffering some form of depression. You need to try to establish dialogue with your child to help him/her to solve or relieve feelings.
If your child is not hungry and is underweight, do not despair. Children under 4 years usually are messy to eat and sometimes eat little. If your child has less than 4 years, is underweight and doesn’t eat, don’t force him to eat, but don’t give him/her unhealthy foods. Offer food at certain times that you consider prudent and don’t give anything else in between meals. If your child goes beyond the four years, it is also necessary to keep a lunch break, without forcing to eat. Offer food to eat at certain hours, if she/he doesn’t want it, remove the food and don’t insist, but tell him/her there is nothing more to eat within one or two hours. Thus begin a habit of eating what you offer and not what looks good. Get rid of the idea that your son will die of hunger. Nature is wise and if he/she needs to eat, the child will feel hungry and eat, but this is where your work: do not give him what he/she wants or just what you like, you should follow the feeding program to help gain weight because he/she will be better nourished.
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Remember that the best example for a child to eat well is at home, parents should enjoy mealtimes with them, show affection, concern and good eating habits.
- Foods not recommended for weight gain: fried foods, animal meats, sodas, sweets and junk food.
- Recommended foods: fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as oats, corn, wheat, etc. whole bakery, jams and fruit butters, seeds or nuts (such as peanut butter), eggs, vegetable milk, molasses, grain, poultry, fish, sprouts, crackers, nuts (walnut, almond, etc..) legume soups, granola bars (amaranth, sesame, oats, etc.).
- Dietary supplements after seven years: brewer's yeast, spirulina, soy or almond milk with added vitamins and minerals, etc.
The best in children's diet is to eat more often and less amount. Eating 5 times a day is healthy, so here is a guide to value and to follow their diet. Take into account your child's age and level of physical activity, this example is intended for children between 9 and 12 years of age and physical activity is moderate.
FASTING: a glass of orange or strawberries juice and a teaspoon of brewer's yeast tablet.
BREAKFAST: cup of oatmeal, wheat bread sandwich stuffed with something like eggs, chicken breast, cheese, etc.
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FOOD: stew to choose a salad or fresh vegetable juice. Do not give dessert immediately; the dessert should be eaten two hours after eating. Reason? The sugar in all fruit desserts does not allow proper absorption of other nutrients and also ferment foods consumed due to the sugar, which creates toxins and poor digestion.
SNACK: glass of milk (can substitute cow's milk for vegetable milk) with cereal or bread with peanut butter.
DINNER: granola bars, cheese sandwich or soup of legumes.
Between meals, you should try not to offer anything between meals until he/she has successfully adapted to the diet suggested, namely, that manages to eat 5 times a day. When she/he can follow this diet, then you can start offering desserts between meals, which must be well chosen. For example, sweet rice, sweet apples, raisins and chocolate, cereal bars, fruit or vegetable salads, etc.
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