Some teenagers have difficulty keeping up with the energy needs of their bodies and may be underweight. The reason for this may be
· They are growing taller
· Exercising a lot with sports
· Might simply have a high metabolism
· Eating less according to the body requirement
· Any stress or eating disorder
· May not be getting balanced nutrition. He may not be getting enough vitamins, minerals (such as iron and calcium), protein, or dietary fat for a healthy body. For example, a growing teen needs plenty of calcium and vitamin D to make strong bones.
You can help your teen by these simple ways
Ø Add butter to food. For example, at breakfast, spread a generous amount of butter toast, or an egg sandwich. At lunch and dinner, use butter on chapatti or in dal & veggies .
Ø Use whole fat dairy products such as whole milk, full fat or regular cheese and yogurt instead of skim, reduced fat, or low fat dairy products. For example, at breakfast suggest that your teen have a glass of whole milk with his meal or with cereal or oatmeal. Or can have a glass of fullcream milk in evening ½ hr before going to play.
Ø Modify Cooking: cook more healthy food , add salads , fruits , and dry fruits in cooking like extra dry fruits in rice , salad dressing with nuts and cream , chapatti with some stuffing and veggies with some dressings .
Ø Use "Extras": try to add few extra calories in the form of small snacks like muffin , cookies , nuts, ice-cream, shakes .etc
Ø Maximize Portions: You may wonder how much food to offer your teen at meals and snacks. Paying attention to portions is a great idea for weight gain. First, think about how much your teen eats for most of his meals and snacks. Slowly try to increase the overall volume of food at each meal, starting with one meal. For example, try adding one food item to a typical breakfast. Add some fruit to cereal and milk. Then try increasing the amount of cereal. Make sure you switch to whole milk.
Ø Batter to give home made food : Avoid preserve or packed food , cook fresh and serve . avoid any packed drinks instead give home made shakes and fruit juice
Ø Never compare : Never compare your kid with other siblings or any friends kids , every one is different and always concentrate individual health concerns without comparing
Ø Do not force : It's okay to encourage your teen to finish his meal or snack, but do not force him to eat or to clean his plate. Prepare meals with high energy/calorie food and keep the volume of food normal.
Ø It's a great idea to offer a second helping of any food that your teen enjoys with a meal. For example, if he loves mashed potatoes, an extra scoop is great. If he is super thirsty at lunch, it's fine for him to have another glass of juice, whole milk, or lemonade. If he is particularly hungry after school, give him an extra snack or double the snack portion.
Ø Eating on a schedule: Encourage your teen to eat three meals each day and three snacks in the mid-morning, afternoon, and evening before bedtime.
Ø Don’t focus on food always: Be sure that food and nutrition doesn't take up all your time and thoughts. Thinking and talking about good nutrition is key when trying to encourage weight gain but remember to have discussions about school, sports, current events, and feelings with your teen.
When Should meet any specialists?
Ø A Dietitian (Nutritionist) : if your teen is underweight , feeling loss of energy after any physical activity , complain always for leg pain and lethargy , feel difficult to getup in morning . prominent Acne and skin changes , loss of hair and dandruff .
Ø A counselor or psychologist : who specializes in working with teens may be helpful with goal setting and providing help with any anxiety related to food and health. Consult if there is any eating disorder , constant decrease in performance , any behavioral change you notice which is seems to be very abnormal .