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As a parent, you are bound to be concerned about your child’s eating habits and his growth and development. And chances are, you’re a tad anxious to know whether or not he is meeting his developmental milestones. Many toddlers are extremely fussy when it comes to eating healthy food and an unbalanced diet leads to underweight babies.
If your child is underweight, he might not be getting enough calories required for his age. At this stage, he should be eating nutritious food to get his growth and development back on track.
WATCH: Weight Gain Tips for Babies by Dr Varsha Saxena
Know when a child is considered underweight and what you can do to help him gain weight:
- A child is underweight if his weight is less than a 3rd percentile of the weight on the growth chart.
- Give your child a high-protein diet which includes eggs, meat, soy-proteins, and nuts.
- Include foods rich in carbohydrates in his diet, like whole wheat bread, pasta, and chapatis.
- High-calorie fruits, like bananas and mangoes, can also be given to children. You can give high-calorie supplementary drinks to picky eaters.
- As the child grows you will see an improvement in your child’s health.
6 Solutions to Help Toddler Gain Weight in A Healthy Way
Here are simple solutions that you can use to help your toddler gain weight.
1. Create A Relaxed Atmosphere for Eating
Most often kids get distracted by television, phone calls, or the computer when eating. When there are too many distractions, you yourself might feel rushed, which also puts a pressure on your baby to eat. Sometimes your child also refuses to eat in such a situation. Creating a peaceful atmosphere helps you and your child concentrate on the task at hand.
2. Set A Routine for Your Child’s Meal Times
Maintaining an organised routine for meal times is imperative for your child to fall into a regular eating pattern. Monitoring the clock and feeding him at regular intervals will help his weight gain. If that means pulling your child away from play time, so be it. Don’t give meals a miss even when you have to go out. Carry light snacks with you so you can feed your children at their allotted time.
3. Increase The Intake of Calories
Some children eat very small quantities. So when increasing the amount of food doesn’t seem like it’s going to help, it’s best to introduce high-calorie foods for toddlers weight gain. This’ll ensure that your toddler is getting the right amount of nutrition. Include foods like full-fat dairy products, cream cheese, mayonnaise or puddings made from milk.
4. Try Weight Gain Supplements for Children
It might be a good idea to include some weight gain supplements in your child’s diet for underweight children, especially if your child has a small appetite. Vitamin supplements should include vitamins A, C, and D and they should be specially formulated for their age group.
5. Try and Make It Easy for Your Child to Eat
Knowing what your child loves and how he loves to eat it is as important as determining the right kind of food for an underweight toddler. If he likes his banana smashed, feed it to him that way. Peel and cut up fruits or mash his food so that it’s easier for him to eat. Serve him his favourite dishes too so that your child looks forward to his meal time.
6. Offer Snacks but Healthy Ones
Snacks form an important part of toddlers’ diet. Finger foods are loved by children and when your baby picks up finger food on their own, it ensures that they are meeting their development milestones. However, be careful in offering snacks. To promote weight gain in toddlers, make healthy snacks like a granola bar, peanut butter crackers, and cereal bars. Oats are a healthy option to make snacks. You can also give your child fruit juices but abstain from those aerated drinks.
8 Foods to Help Toddlers Gain Weight
Foods play a major role in weight gain and weight loss, whether it is a child or an adult. If your toddler is underweight, try and include these foods in his diet to help him gain weight in a healthy way:
A child who doesn’t eat potatoes is rare to find. Potatoes are the best option that promote weight gain in babies. Carbohydrates intake is necessary for the weight gain process and potatoes are the optimum source of carbohydrates. Potatoes also contain amino acids which encourage weight gain in babies. Apart from potatoes, you can also include other starchy vegetables in your baby’s diet.
2. Olive Oil
All of us are aware of the benefits of eating olive oil. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which makes it a healthy addition to your diet. It is also rich in antioxidants and high in calories. Add olive oil to your toddler’s salads and in other healthy recipes.
Bananas also top the list of healthy foods for weight gain. Bananas are easily available and you don’t need to make something out of it. Being rich in carbohydrates they make the process of gaining weight simpler in babies. All you have to do it peel a banana and give it your toddler while he is busy watching his favourite cartoon show. To make it more appealing add it to yoghurt or curd, mix some other fruits to and give it in the form of pudding.
Nuts are favourite among children. All they have to do is grab some and munch while they play. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds are rich in fats, protein, and fibre. Include these nuts in their diet every day. You can also give them badam halwa, or give milkshake garnished with these nuts.
Eggs again are a good source of protein and contain vitamin A and Vitamin B12. Eggs can be included in a baby’s diet by the age of 8-9 months. There are umpteen ways to give eggs to your baby; you can give him omelette, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, egg sandwich and so on. Make it look interesting so that your baby won’t deny eating it.
Jaggery also helps in weight gain in toddlers. Jaggery is better than refined sugar and is rich in calories. It is also abundantly available in India, so use it in generous amounts in your baby’s diet plan.
Avocados are a rich source of vegetarian fat. Avocado is full of calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fats, almost everything that fosters weight gain. It is a buttery fat and can be used to make dips, salads, and mashes. And rest assured because kids will love all these recipes.
Fruits and vegetables are the best foods for healthy weight gain. Include mangoes, papaya, pineapple, and steamed vegetables in your baby’s diet. You can also add butter to steamed vegetables freely. If your child is refusing to eat fruits, you can whip up a fruit salad and add nuts to it. Toddlers love colours and they will eat it without fussing.
Weight loss is not always a sign of an underlying medical condition. To get your child to eat it’s important to make eating easy and enjoyable for them. Try these weight gain recipes for an underweight toddler for positive results. Take note: if you obsess over your own weight and keep counting those calories, your child will quickly pick up on this, which could easily affect his or her own eating pattern!