Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Underweight Kids

Before I start this post, I want to re-post the Poetry Friday word which is LAME.  Don't forget.

There is so much information out there for getting kids to eat healthy but not a lot for fattening up kids who are underweight.  Understandable.

As I previously mentioned, 2011 sucked for us. We went through a large upheaval and tragedy.  Our twins, now 7 years old, were diagnosed with PTSD and have been seeing a therapist.  We noticed that our son had lost a lot of weight.  A worrisome amount.  But we thought that therapy would help and so we waited.  Therapy goes well, but his weight still worries us.  He has always been a very skinny boy, on top of which he has a metabolism like his father's - highly active and in need of feeding regularly or they suffer sugar lows, to the point of vomiting.  Don't worry, we consult our doctor about these things of course.  But here's the thing, we need to encourage eating without stuffing him with empty calories to gain weight.

What to do.  It's not difficult to find healthy eating tips.  What is difficult is finding the balance between healthy eating and eating to gain weight.  Here's what we're attempting to do.

As much as my husband and I would prefer to eat a larger variety of meals, we're sticking to the kid favorites for now.  If they love the meal, they are more likely to eat it and eat seconds too.  I am adding whole milk into their diets for a while.  2% isn't going to cut it for the time being.  I bought cookbooks specifically for kids.  I am encouraging the kids to participate in the meal making.  When they are invested in the food on the table, they are more inclined to eat it.

Here are some meals we're making:  macaroni and cheese (not the kind that comes in a box - I can't stand that stuff), tacos, roast beef, roast chicken, mashed potatoes, breakfast for dinner like pancakes or french toast and eggs, pizza (strictly homemade of course - we won't break our pact), hamburgers, spaghetti.  Anything the kids love, it's going to be on the table.

I am also encouraging healthy snacking between meals.  We've always used fruit for that.  Lately I try to give them yogurt or cheese with their fruit.

I'll let you know how it goes.  Tell me if you've had this problem, what did you do?


De said...

Can't say I've shared your experience, but I have some ideas that might help.

While snacking is important for everyone, I would be careful not to let them snack too close to mealtime, or the snack calories may just replace the meal calories instead of augmenting them.

Look for fortified foods and the so-called "super" foods that pack in a lot of nutrition. I get ideas from my father's Type-2 diabetes cookbooks that focus on "good" carbs.

In addition to the kid-friendly entrees you are offering, provide three or four other side dishes with the meal. I find that my picky son will eat two or three bites of four different things, but would never eat twelve bites of one.

Good luck!

Lynnea said...

Great points De. Snacking only happens right after school, so we're good there I think. Checking which foods are 'super' is a great idea, I'm going to do that.

jaded said...

I don't know about increasing the weight of children in a health way, but when I am more active (i.e. walking daily and doing yoga) I have to be aware of my blood sugar to keep from crashing. I snack on edamame, peanut butter, roasted nuts, beef jerky and cliff bars. Some of these foods have a higher fat content, but it can be a trade off to get food with a higher protein content. If I have a salad I try to include boiled egg or avocado. I know most of these are not kid centric food, but you can't always predict what kids will eat.

Lynnea said...

Jaded, we do a lot of peanut butter here as that is a definite kid favorite. Good idea though. In fact, granola bars high in protein is a great one. I could keep some of those for snacks also.