Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Your Kid Too Thin?

I was reading the April issue of Parents magazine, and I dog-eared this page in the health section because it addresses kids that need to gain weight to be healthier. Sometimes children's health isn't a matter of eating an excess of something bad for them, it's about not eating enough of things that are good for healthy fats.

Pour on full-fat milk for awhile.

We all know about the childhood-obesity problem, but some kids actually need to gain weight. "Children who are underweight may not be getting enough nutrition, and that can impact mood, concentration and growth", says Jill Castle, R.D., a child nutrition expert in Nashville. If your pediatrician tells you that your child needs to put on a few pounds, follow Castle's sensible plan of action....

* Create a schedule for meals and snacks and stick to it as closely as possible. Offer your child food every three to four hours, and make sure you don't rush him when he eats. Aim for three meals and three snacks each day.

* Add high-calorie, nutritious foods to meals without serving plus-size portions, which can be overwhelming for children. Sprinkle some cheese on mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs, toss a handful of nuts and dried fruit on cereal, and layer avocado slices into sandwiches.

Think healthy fats that also include calcium and some nutrients, like avocado.

* Give your child full-fat versions of dips, dressings, milk and cheese. Leave the skin on chicken and use higher-fat ground beef (such as 85 percent lean instead of 90 percent). And don't freak about the fat - remember, this is a short-term solution for getting your child back on track, not his lifelong diet. Castle recommends tossing noodles in a little olive oil before adding sauce, and even spreading a thin layer of butter underneath peanut butter or mayonnaise.

Happy Eating Everybody!

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