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When you become a parent it is amazing the things you start to worry about. Is your child eating enough? Is he hitting his milestones. The list goes on and on. I learned a long time ago that each child is an individual, but you know what? That still is not enough to keep me from worrying about my children.
While I have learned to let it go on most things, one thing that has been a real concern for us is our childrens’ growth. I make small kids. I can accept that. But it doesn’t mean I don’t worry about them and if they are at their personal ideal weight and height. The Goof has always been small. In fact, he turns 6 this week and he is still hovering around 32 pounds and just over 40 inches. At his last appointment he wasn’t even on the charts. Zero percentile. Now, don’t get me wrong, we aren’t expecting to have tall kids. I mean, Mike and I are on the shorter side ourselves. But I still can’t help but worry and wonder if he is getting all the nutrition he needs.
While it may very well be in his genes to be short and skinny (why didn’t I get that last one?), as a parent I still want to make sure he is at his personal ideal weight and height. So our family has really focused this year on what we need to do to be healthy and help our bodies grow the best they can. Today I want to share with you some things we have been doing, and also how we handle concerns about the Goof’s height and weight. Plus I have a coupon for you, and then a recipe at the end.
We are working really hard on teaching the Goof about proper nutrition. To help, we take him shopping with us. Recently we took him to our local Fred Meyer. Now, can I just say how much I love this store. Our local one (and from what I hear several others) offer free pieces of fruit for the kiddos to eat as you shop! So score one for helping teach our kids about proper nutrition offering fruit instead of cookies. But back to the nutrition lesson. We loved shopping and talking to him about what is good for our bodies and what is an “occasional” for our body. While we were there, we headed over to the baby, toddler, and preschooler drinks area (in the baby area at our local store) and picked up some PediaSure® Grow and Gain. Even though we are teaching the Goof about proper nutrition we want to make sure he is getting everything he needs. PediaSure® Grow and gain is clinically proven to help kids grow and is the #1 brand recommended by pediatricians. Plus, it lets the Goof feel like he is getting a special treat two times a day and with this $3 off coupon for Kroger stores it is a great deal. (They even have a PediaSure® Grow & Gain with Fiber)
We also have started focusing on our over all health. The Goof is never going to be the tallest kid in his class. Heck, we held him back a year from starting kindergarten (due to his blood disorder) and he is still the shortest kid in his preschool. So we are not just focusing on our height and weight. You know how as a parent, you worry about your kid, but you don’t want them to know you are worried, because you don’t want them to worry and become obsessed with whatever your concern is? (Did you follow that?) Basically, we don’t want the Goof to think the most important thing is how tall he can grow and how much he weighs. So while we may be worried about it, we try not to stress the importance of growing and instead we focus on taking care of our bodies and being healthy. We have started going on weekly walks or hikes as a family and have talked about how we need to exercise regularly and build our muscles. We have started talking about the importance of getting enough sleep. We talk about how we need to not only eat good foods, but drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids. The Goof has his own water bottle he tries to drink 1-2 of a day, plus he loves having two of his PediaSure® Grow & Gain shakes each day.
As a parent, I gave myself a reality check. Let’s be honest and real for a moment. As a parent, especially a new parent to a baby, people tend to think the higher their kids are on the growth chart, the better it means they are doing. Be honest with yourself on this one because almost everyone does it. You may not think you do, but if you have ever posted this on facebook: “Baby had his check up today. He is 95% in height and 85% in weight- strong and healthy.” or anything similar, then yes, you are indeed giving those growth charts more credit than you think on telling you how well your kid is growing. REALITY CHECK: Those growth charts are NOT test scores. Having a child in the 25% doesn’t mean he is failing and having a kid in the 100% range doesn’t mean they are the healthiest, best eating kid out there. Some kids have to be at the top and some have to be at the bottom. It doesn’t mean you are failing as a parent, and it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with your kid. What it does mean? That you should bring up your concerns with your child’s doctor. You may very well just have short kids, but your pediatrician can tell you if their weight and height are well proportioned (more important than their percentile) and if they have any concerns.
Don’t expect a change overnight. Okay, so if you are like us and while you know you will have short kids, there is a small concern, it can be really hard to be patient and wait for change. While parents feel like their kids grow inches overnight, it doesn’t really happen that way normally. It is important that when you are worried about your child’s height or weight, you make a plan with the help of your pediatrician and stick with it. One great thing is that with our plan and adding in the PediaSure® Grow & Gain 2 times a day, we are hopeful it won’t take forever to see some results. In fact PediaSure® Grow & Gain is proven to help kids grow in just 8 weeks when they have 2 a day. In order to keep ourselves from going crazy, we don’t measure or weigh at home except once a month.
Get them involved with meal prep. I have mentioned in the past that we are teaching the Goof to cook. Having him help with meal prep has just reiterated what we have been teaching him about proper nutrition, the importance of knowing what is going into your body, and eating a balanced diet. Even when it is just a sandwich and veggies and fruits for lunch, he gets excited because he made it. He loved helping make this recipe I am about to share with you as well.
Focus on the positive. Be sure to think of all the things your child excels at. Is he musically inclined? Is she good at sports? Is he a good big brother? Really, their height and weight are just numbers- and while they can mean something is wrong or missing, or even if they are just short- those numbers do not define them. They can be an artist or an actor or a doctor, even if they are small. So focus on the positive things about your child.
Now that we have talked about what we are doing to help the Goof make sure he is growing to the best of his ability, I want to share this fun recipe with you. You can find this and lots of other healthy recipes on the PediaSure® Grown & Gain website, as well as other tips and tricks and additional savings.
Sure-to-Please Mac and Cheese
(I love that this recipe is so simple to make and that it also uses the PediaSure® Grow & Gain to help make sure it is packed with nutrients.)
For this recipe you will need:
- 1 8 fl oz bottle/1 cup PediaSure® Grow and Gain Vanilla
- 2 cups elbow macaroni, enriched
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
To start, in a medium saucepan boil the macaroni until cooked. Drain and put to the side.
In a saucepan (we used the same one) melt butter over medium heat then add flour stirring constantly until it forms a smooth paste.
Slowly add the PediaSure® Grow & Gain Vanilla. Stir constantly, being careful not to boil, until blended well and smooth. Remove from heat and add in salt, pepper, cheese and cooked macaroni. Stir until cheese is melted and well mixed. Serve immediately.
TIP: For extra protein and energy, sprinkle more cheese on top, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and bake until melted and slightly crunchy. (The Goof loved it this way!)
Head on over and check out the other recipes and tips from PediaSure® Grow & Gain. Let me know which recipe you are most excited to try in the comments below.