Weight Gain for 11 Year Old?

I was wondering If you could recommend any books, or have any suggestions that would help my 10 year old son gain some weight. His doctor had a nutritionist send some suggestions, but they mostly contain high calorie milk shakes.

After a couple of days my son gets tired of them and then doesn't want to drink them for a while, plus he starts to have a lot of gas and says his stomach hurts after these drinks. He is a very picky eater and only weighs 55 pounds.

Please send some suggestions, it would help a lot. I am very worried about his growth.


Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Carol,

High calorie milk shake type drinks are a good way to add calories to a diet, but like any food, too many of them can get tiring. It may also be that your son has a lactose intolerance, which is causing the gas after drinking them. Many people with a lactose intolerance can drink milk in small or moderate quantities, but an overload can tax their system and create unpleasant side effects, like gas, bloating, cramps, diarrhea. Maybe a milk shake can still be included on occasion. An alternative to that is a 'fruit smoothie' made by blending yogurt (which has much less lactose than milk) with favorite fruits like bananas and strawberries.

Here are a few tips that may help you son to successfully gain weight:

  • Gain weight slowly and steadily.
  • Increase portion sizes and eat more snacks between meals. Or, since your son is small and may not be able to eat too much at one time, try eating several small meals throughout the day.
  • Be careful not to eat too much fat, especially saturated fat, or cholesterol.
  • Make you son's increase in food be mostly in the form of complex and simple carbohydrates, such things as whole wheat bread with jam, fig or other fruit filled bars, waffles with syrup.
  • Eat a large snack before bedtime

Slow, steady weight gain makes the job easier, and feels less like force feeding. Simply by adding a few more foods during the day, and slightly increasing portion sizes, you will be making a difference. Eating small to moderate amounts frequently rather than 3 large meals or heavy filling snacks will be better tolerated.

The following is a sample menu with suggestions that you can use as a sort of 'pattern' to go from as you create variations of it based on your son's likes and dislikes.

  1. Breakfast: Glass of orange juice, french toast (or pancakes or waffles) with syrup, low fat milk (or lactose reduced milk)
  2. Snack: Yogurt with banana and brown sugar
  3. Lunch: Turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayo on whole grain bread, 1 cup juice, carrot sticks and ranch dressing dip, oatmeal cookies or fig bars
  4. Snack: Graham crackers and hot chocolate
  5. Dinner: Cheese and veggie pizza, fruit kabobs, low fat milk
  6. Bedtime snack: Peanut butter and jelly crackers, glass of milk or juice

Some other snack ideas: popcorn with butter or shredded cheese, pretzels, apple slices spread with peanut butter, GORP (raisin, peanuts, Cheerios, and chocolate chips), cereal with milk, Homemade oven baked french fries, pudding, string cheese sticks, energy bars (the type used by athletes), dried fruits and nuts, Rice Krispies Treats, fruit salad, cottage cheese, muffins

I hope that these suggestions will help to put a few pounds on your son, in an easy and delicious manner. Good luck.

Thank you for writing.

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