5 tips to help children maintain a healthy weight

Parents do their best to keep their kids healthy and active, focusing on providing them the right amount of nutrients to help them grow. However, despite these efforts, some children may still be underweight and show poor growth.

Children born prematurely are often underweight. Additionally, picky eating resulting in inadequate food intake is a common cause for children being underweight. However, certain factors can suppress appetite or block nutrient absorption, these include:

  • Medications: particularly those prescribed to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Food allergies: can make getting enough calories difficult. The more food allergies, the greater the challenge.
  • Hormonal or digestive problems: can result in inadequate nutrient absorption, preventing children from gaining weight as they grow.

Identifying the causative factor is the most crucial step towards managing your children’s weight concerns. Here are a few tips to help your children gain and maintain a healthy weight:

  • Use healthy oils, such as olive oil or other heart-healthy oils by cooking food in them as they can help gain weight.
  • Avoid fruit juices, especially those with added sugars, as they can fill kids up without providing them with any energy, fat, or protein.
  • Add nut butter as they contain healthy fats and help make picky children eat fruits and vegetables such as celery sticks or apple slices.
  • Discourage excessive snacking as it can fill the child up on foods with low energy density and affect their appetite before meals. Instead, meal and snack times should be set to encourage healthy eating habits.
  • Add oral supplements as they can also help increase appetite and stimulate weight gain. However, consult a dietitian before consumption to find out about the right supplements and if they are suitable for your child.

However, if these methods do not work, consult a pediatrician.

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