Underweight child

 
Contributed by : Palak Vyas, Prachi Mihir Shah   
Underweight child

Underweight children require foods and diet that can provide them with enough nutrition and sufficient calories.

A balanced diet for a young child means having variety of foods. From the age of two, a child should be moving towards a diet that is similar to the rest of the family.

Follow below mentioned measures to increase weight of your underweight child in a healthy manner:

  • Your child should have at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • The meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates.
  • Some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks and yogurts). Choose lower-fat and lower-sugar options.
  • Some beans and pulses, in case you prefer non-vegetarian food, fish, eggs, meat and other protein. Aim for two portions of fish every week – one of which should be oily, such as salmon or mackerel.
  • Plenty of fluids such as water, milk, fresh juice making up to – 6-8 cups/glasses a day. Energy-dense foods such as whole milk, yogurt, cheese and oily fish can also be given.
  • By the time your child is five, they should be eating a healthy low-fat diet. There are a few steps you can take to increase your child's calorie intake until they reach a healthy weight, while still providing a healthy diet.
  • Bulk up mashed potato by putting milk or cheese in it
  • Put grated cheese on beans on toast
  • Make milk puddings


Try not to give more of:

  • Sugary drinks and foods – It's not recommended to give your child high sugar drinks and foods. The longer and more often sugar touches your child's teeth, the more damage it causes. If your child does have sugary foods or drinks, it's best to give them at mealtimes to minimise damage to their teeth.
  • Saturated fats – These are unhealthy fats, such as those contained in burgers, sausages, pies, biscuits, cake and cheese. Try not to give these too often.
  • Whole grains – Wholegrain foods, such as wholemeal pasta, bread and brown rice, can be high in fibre and may fill up your child before they've taken in the calories and nutrients they need. After the age of two, you can gradually introduce more wholegrain foods.


Note: It’s normal to worry that your child is not getting the food that he or she needs to grow. But kids are more than capable of knowing whether they are hungry or not. Unless your doctor tells you that your child isn’t getting the nutrients that he or she needs, you should not worry about the lack of food intake. As long as your child's weight is fine, (s)he is sleeping well and has normal bowel movements, there is no need to worry that whether your child is eating enough or not.




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