17 Solutions to Help Your Toddler Gain Weight

17 Solutions for Your Underweight Toddler

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
View more Paediatrician Our Panel of Experts

Understanding the underlying factors contributing to a child’s underweight status is crucial for effective intervention. Genetic predispositions may play a significant role, in influencing metabolism and nutrient absorption. Additionally, growth spurts, where height increases before weight catches up, can temporarily result in underweight toddlers. Addressing this issue demands a multifaceted approach. Implementing a balanced and nutrient-rich diet, consulting with pediatricians for tailored dietary plans, and monitoring developmental milestones can aid parents in navigating this concern. Empowering mothers with knowledge and support networks contributes to a holistic strategy for fostering a healthy weight trajectory in their children. This article will throw light on how to help toddlers gain weight.
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.

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 the 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 his health.

7 Solutions to Help Your 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 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 mealtimes 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 playtime, 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 mealtime.

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 developmental 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.

7. Consult a Pediatric Nutritionist

Seeking guidance from a pediatric nutritionist can offer personalized insights into your child’s dietary needs. A nutritionist can assess your toddler’s specific requirements, considering factors like activity levels and growth patterns. Tailoring a nutrition plan based on your child’s individual needs ensures a well-rounded approach to healthy weight gain, addressing any nutritional gaps that may exist in their current diet.

10 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:

1. Potatoes

Potatoes

A child who doesn’t eat potatoes is rare to find. Potatoes are the best option that promotes 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

 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.

3. Bananas

Bananas

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 too and give it in the form of pudding.

4. Nuts

 Nuts

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.

5. Eggs

 Eggs

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 eight-nine 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.

6. Jaggery

Jaggery

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.

7. Avocados

Avocados

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.

8. Fruits

Fruits

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.

9. Full-Fat Dairy Products

Full-fat dairy products

Full-fat dairy products like whole milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in essential fats and calories, making them excellent choices for promoting healthy weight gain in toddlers. These dairy options provide a good source of calcium, necessary for bone development, and are easily incorporated into various meals and snacks.

10. Quinoa

Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutrient-dense grain that stands out for its high protein content and a good balance of essential amino acids. Introducing quinoa into your toddler’s diet can contribute not only to weight gain but also provide valuable nutrients crucial for overall growth and development.

High-Calorie Meals and Snack Ideas for Toddlers

Here are some creative and nutritious high-calorie meals and snack ideas that can help meet the dietary needs of active and growing toddlers.

  • Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches
  • Toast with mashed banana and peanut butter
  • Rice or pasta prepared with butter and peas
  • Vegetable soup made with cashew cream added
  • Avocado toast sprinkled with hemp seeds
  • Steamed broccoli drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
  • Refried bean quesadillas with guacamole
  • Crackers or vegetable sticks accompanied by hummus, bean dip, or guacamole.

When to Consult a Doctor

If your toddler is not gaining enough weight, it is advisable to consult a doctor if you notice a consistent lack of growth, if there are concerns about their eating habits, or if there are signs of underlying health issues. It’s crucial to seek professional advice if you have persistent worries about your toddler’s weight gain and overall development.

FAQs

1. Can developmental delays play a role in a toddler’s underweight condition?

Developmental delays can indirectly contribute to a toddler being underweight. For instance, delays in motor skills or oral motor development might affect eating abilities. Consultation with a pediatrician is recommended to address both developmental concerns and nutritional needs.

2. Can food allergies be a factor in a toddler’s being underweight?

Yes, food allergies can impact a toddler’s weight. Allergic reactions might lead to aversions or limited food choices, affecting overall nutrition. Identifying and managing food allergies with the guidance of a pediatrician or allergist is essential to ensure a well-balanced diet and healthy weight gain.

So, this was all about making toddlers gain weight. 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!

References/Resources:

1. How to help your child gain weight; NHS; https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/childrens-weight/how-to-help-your-child-gain-weight/

2. 10 Possible Reasons Why Your Child Isn’t Growing; Cleveland Clinic; https://health.clevelandclinic.org/10-possible-reasons-why-your-child-is-not-growing

3. Failure to Thrive; Nemours Kids Health; https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/failure-thrive.html

4. Safe Weight Gain Tips for Underweight Kids; EatRight.org (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/weight-and-body-positivity/safe-weight-gain-tips-for-underweight-kids

5. Failure to Thrive; Johns Hopkins Medicine; https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/failure-to-thrive

6. Cow’s Milk and Milk Alternatives; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/cows-milk-and-milk-alternatives.html

7. Energy In: Recommended Food & Drink Amounts for Children; American Academy of Pediatrics; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Energy-In-Recommended-Food-Drink-Amounts-for-Children.aspx

Also Read:

Overweight Toddler
Height and Weight of Toddler
Food that will help to Loose Weight in Toddler

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