Meadville Tribune

Breaking News

Lifestyles

September 28, 2012

Tips and tricks for when kids need to put on weight

Despite an obesity epidemic in this country, many toddlers and children are underweight. Parents repeatedly ask me how to help a child gain weight in a healthful way. This is an important question because the age-old advice of milkshakes and ice cream (or in my opinion even the sugar-laden Pediasure) just doesn't cut it, and can spark a cycle of insulin resistance that can lead an underweight child down a path toward obesity and diabetes.

Parents might want to focus less on the scale and instead direct their energy toward providing their children with enough macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Empty calories, like those in ice cream, might add a few pounds here and there, but they will not provide the nutrients a child needs to build a healthy brain, resilient organs and strong bones. So if you have an underweight child, begin by ensuring all calories ingested are nutrient-rich.

 

              The following foods can help a child healthfully gain weight and thrive:

  • Beneficial fats, especially plant-based fats. Each gram of fat has about nine calories while each gram of protein or carbohydrate provides about four calories, so a meal made with fats can contribute to wanted weight gain. Here are some recommended sources of healthful fat:
  • Flaxseed oil. Add to it everything! Flaxseed oil has a mild flavor, so it will go unnoticed if mixed into a smoothie, drizzled onto popcorn or tossed with vegetables.
  • Coconut oil. Coconut oil adds sweetness and beneficial calories, so add a tablespoon into a smoothie or to vegetables when roasting.
  • Nuts and seeds. Pistachios, walnuts and almonds are great choices for kids.
  •  Avocados. Make guacamole with fresh avocados, onions and tomatoes, or mix avocado into a fruit smoothie.
  • Olives are about 80-85 percent healthful fat, and because of their high amounts of antioxidants and phytonutrients (a beneficial plant compound), they have been shown to help prevent disease.
  • Full-fat dairy has more calories and fat than the reduced-fat varieties, yet a comparable amount of nutrients. We buy only full-fat dairy at our house, because everyone needs beneficial fats.
  • Smoothies. Smoothies are an easy way to ingest needed nutrients and calories, especially if you add coconut oil, coconut milk or almond butter. Get creative with your favorite fruit, full-fat yogurt, nut butters and seeds.
  • Grate cooked eggs into salads, sauces and soups.
  • Cook pasta, rice and whole grains in chicken broth, adding extra nutrition and a few extra calories.
  • Dried fruit lacks water, making it easier to eat more sizable quantities. This means a greater calorie intake.
  • Make granola with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and coconut oil, then mix with full-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Make trail mix with your choice of nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
  • Hummus and bean dips make good snacks.
  • Grated, frozen chicken liver provides children with essential nutrients such as protein, Vitamin A, all the B vitamins and iron. It doesn't greatly affect flavor when frozen and grated into food. My kids have never even noticed!

Text Only
Lifestyles
  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Are America's biggest alcohol brands targeting the country's underage youth?

    Underage drinkers - those between the ages of 18 and 20, most specifically - are more heavily exposed to printed alcohol advertisements than any other age group, according to a new study. And it's America's biggest booze companies that could be to blame.

    July 10, 2014

  • How professors are using Facebook to teach

    Technology is an established part of the lives of students. But university lecturers are becoming increasingly frustrated at how they must compete with tablets and laptops for students' attention in the lecture hall.

    July 10, 2014

  • Why does the Vatican need a bank?

    The Vatican Bank's history reads more like Dan Brown than the financial pages, but its worst -- and weirdest -- days may be behind it.

    July 10, 2014

  • Careful planning is the key to a successful Mother’s Day visit

    Are you planning to visit your mom at a senior living residence for Mother’s Day? Are you wondering what you should do or what you should bring? Our experience may provide you with some valuable insight.

    May 10, 2014

  • Which foods are the worst for the environment?

    As with most arguments about our food supply, though, it's not that simple. Although beef is always climatically costly, pork or chicken can be a better choice than broccoli, calorie for calorie.

    March 12, 2014

  • Old Spice attracting women in gender-bending win for P&G

    Young women are embracing Old Spice - long known as the brand dad kept in the medicine cabinet - even as P&G's marketing continues to focus on their male peers.

    March 12, 2014

  • news_planesearch.jpg Missing Malaysian jetliner confuses a world that's online 24/7

    The disappearance five days ago of a Malaysian Airline Systems Bhd. aircraft with 239 people on board is confounding search teams and a global audience used to around-the-clock connectivity and real-time updates.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_nycexplosion.jpg VIDEO: Aftermath of NYC building collapse

    Footage from the New York Daily News shows firefighters responding to a building collapse at East 116th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem. At least 11 minor injuries had been reported late Wednesday morning.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_google.jpg First Apple, now Google hit with kids' app lawsuit

    Last month, 4- and 5-year-old brothers in New York quickly spent $65.95 in real money to buy virtual goods in Marvel's Run Jump Splash game on the family tablet. They were able to rack up the charges without entering a password. And for that, the boys' mother has joined a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday against Google, accusing the company of deceiving consumers about its in-app purchase system, which critics say makes it too easy for kids to spend money on their Android devices.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo