I have an active teenager who is underweight. He eats regularly but with his high metabolism and activities it is hard for him to gain weight. What is a healthy alternative instead of the powder shakes to gain weight. He is 6' tall.

Young teen boys often times do have very fast metabolisms and it is important that they are eating to keep up with them! I would first recommend that your son eat frequently and consume three larger meals and two to three hefty snacks a day. He should try to make this a priority every day, although, I realize how hard it is to balance school, homework time, friend time, and sports (if he is an athlete). Try to help him by making sure he eats a nutrient dense breakfast in the morning. You could set out large bagels and have him top them with dollops of peanut butter. With that encourage that he drink juice or milk and finish with a banana. He may enjoy a large bowl of steel cut oats and mix in raisins, brown sugar, butter, and honey. Or he could have a non-traditional breakfast and you could heat up pizza or pasta or last night’s leftovers. Now, send him out the door with calorie dense snacks! Whip up a batch of trail mix (his favorite nut, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate candy pieces, and his favorite dry cereal) or send him out the door with a high calorie sports bar. He may also enjoy snacking on fresh fruit throughout the day. If he allows you to pack his lunch, include a hearty sandwich (meat filled or peanut butter and jelly) and top it with several slices of cheese. You may wish to include peanut butter crackers, hummus with carrots, string cheese, dried fruit, almonds etc. At dinner be sure that he has a healthy serving of starch (rice or pasta or bread) along with a protein source (meat, eggs, beans) and a good portion of a vegetable. If he is willing, whip him up a potent high calorie smoothie for dessert. Include Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, fruit juice, and a little protein powder. It will taste so good he will forget that it is going to help him gain weight. Finally, encourage him to drink adequate fluids throughout the day. If he will accept, have him drink milk (or almond milk/soy milk), 100% fruit juice, and other healthy calorie filled beverages.

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