One of the major problems worldwide is obesity. The United States is one of the top countries in the world that is paying the price for eating too much unhealthy foods. At the other end of the spectrum, a number of people have to deal with the lack of food to eat. Some may not fully grasp the gravity of the situation until they get to personally see the suffering of these children. In 2013, an estimated 98 million children five years of age and below suffered from being underweight. The lack of food and proper nutrition is also responsible for 45% of deaths among children in the same age group. Suffice to say, starvation is a worldwide problem particularly in some countries in Southern Asia, Oceania, and Eastern and Western Africa. Truth be told, it’s everywhere. We see photographs of malnourished children with their tummies and eyes bulging yet their arms and legs are reed-thin. This is one problem that needs to be addressed by everyone. As long as there are children that doesn’t get enough nutritious food then being underweight is not far-fetched.
But before you step out into the streets to protest the inequality when it comes to food distribution in the world, you need to look at your own household and community first. For parents who have kids that are not healthy enough there are simple ways to deal with this.
First, you need to determine whether the child is indeed underweight and malnourished. There are child development stages wherein the weight is usually an issue. The average weight for a two year old is 12 ti 15 kilograms. As the child grows older, the required amount of calories consumed daily also increases. For a five-year old, 1,800 calories are needed. When he or she reaches six, the body will look skinny paving the way for adults to think the child is not eating enough. This may be because of the rapid growth of the body particularly as the child grows tall. In other cases, underweight children may be the result of genetics. If both parents are skinny, chances are the child may turn out skinny as well. The best way to know is to see a doctor to evaluate the child’s weight. If your kids indeed turn out to be underweight due to reasons aside from heredity and rapid growth spurt, there is a need to feed the children more while promoting healthy eating as well.
Kids are known to be picky with their food. They are also known to enjoy snacks that aren’t too healthy.
What you can do is to disguise meals and snacks for kids. You can find lots of recipes for kids that may help you in getting them to eat healthier. It may be as simple as adding herbs to their favorite pasta dish or a bit more compatible as making burger patties out of mushrooms and tofu. Nutritious meals and healthy snacks for kids are possible if you know how to make them more palatable.
Turn mealtime into fun time. Get your kid all pumped up for breakfast by making heart-shaped pancakes. If you’re not that artistic enough, you can simply put on a smiley face or “write” their name on the pancake using syrup. You can make meals more creative by adding a surprise inside their lunch box, drawing on sandwich bags, or by adding color. Remember fruits and vegetables come in a variety of colors.
Children’s stomachs are smaller as compared to adults’. With this in mind, you should understand why children tend to not finish their food during meal time. If such is the case, it is better to feed them five or six times a day. Make it a point to have healthy snacks between each meal. Just make sure not to give them a snack right before mealtime.
There is a notion that eating sweets and junk foods result in weight gain. While this may prove true, it doesn’t mean you have the license to feed your kids with such unhealthy foods. Serve them meals and snacks that are filled with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential for better growth.
As a last resort, you may opt for supplements for underweight children. Do this only if your doctor advises it especially when your kid is dealing with certain medical issues.