7 Weight Gain Foods for Preschoolers, Toddlers
Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht Updated on Jan 03, 2020
Questions which always in your mind that how to ensure the child's healthy weight gain especially when started going to preschool. For a toddler, who is on the verge of being an independent child from a baby, food often becomes a reason to assert her. It so happens that the toddler may refuse to eat or even try the food. So, low weight is an important watch-out in this age group. As a mom, one is worried about one's child's growth and development, especially regarding her weight. Is s/he gaining enough weight, what can I do to improve my child's weight, what foods could I try to help my child gain a healthy weight —are some questions a mom is battling with. Here are tips on how to increase your toddler's weight in a healthy way.
Is My Child Really Underweight?
The problem with us Indian moms is that we tend to associate 'chubbiness' with 'being healthy'. Also, most of us co-relate a child's weight with the way the mother is bringing her up. But is that right? I strongly feel as long as the child is thriving properly, is active, healthy, and happy, there should not be a cause of concern. Having said that, it is equally important to keep a check on the baby's weight, time to time, and get your doubts verified by a pediatrician. A pediatrician will rule out any possible chances of medical problems, and also let you know if the child is really underweight. And if he really is, then nutrition will play a key role here.
Being Underweight And Your Child's Development
If your child is not thriving well and has a low body weight for his age, it can be quite a serious issue. Children who are underweight can suffer from developmental delays and irritability. Such children are also at an increased risk for depression and infections since they also suffer from low immunity levels. For an underweight child, it is imperative to aid growth with a diet that is nutritionally rich and well-balanced. Adequate nutrition and weight gain may also be achieved by including certain foods in your toddler's diet. [Follow these tips to put underweight child on healthy kilos]
Healthy Weight Gain Foods For Your Preschoolers
The ages between 1-3 are very crucial for a child as most good and healthy habits are formed in these years. It is also in these years that these small children grow a lot, and they need more energy and calories to thrive. Children this age have smaller stomachs, so they cannot get all calories from 3 straight meals and may need multiple meal times to boost energy intake. The key here is to offer your child a varied, nutritionally balanced diet comprising of meals and snacks at frequent intervals. Here are some foods to help you get started -
Now is the time to start with finger foods or foods which the child can handle herself. So now besides the usual mashed rice/chapatti or porridge you can give small bite size of chapatti/parantha or even rice with vegetable/egg/dal/chicken. Add extra spoon of ghee or butter to the chapatti or rice. Paranthas/dosa can be stuffed with potato, paneer, cheese etc. Children in this age group start enjoying pasta, so apart from chopped/pureed vegetables, cheese/shredded chicken can also be given to them. Add butter/olive oil to make the dish calorie rich and dense
Fruits like banana, cheeku (sapota), mango, custard apple can be given as they are or added to a milkshake, custard or ice cream. Avocadoes are particularly helpful as they are rich in fat and calories and also a nutrient dense composition. These fruits can also be used to make smoothies with honey, powdered nuts and curds. However, make sure that your child is not allergic to nuts
Starchy vegetables with a good amount of carbohydrates can help your toddler pack some good calories. Use more of potato, sweet potato, colocasia, yam besides other vegetables. You may add these to their roti/sandwich or parantha, dosa, khichdi, soups or to other vegetables. Try to give at least one serving of these vegetables everyday
Eggs are a protein powerhouse and highly beneficial to children and adults alike. Eggs can be served to your child in a variety of ways such as hard-boiled, sliced into small bite sized pieces or omelet. It can also be used to make custard, pancakes or as filling for kathi rolls, parantha or dosa. French toast can give the added advantage of carbohydrates and calories
If your child eats poultry and fish, try to give him two servings of at least twice a week. They are not only rich in proteins but also have dense vitamins that can be found only in fats. Offer your child varied stews and well-cooked meat. Poultry, fish can be given as it or added to sandwich, parantha, dosa, pasta or made into curries and served with rice or chapatti
Watch this video on weight gain foods for your toddler..
#6. Home-made Paneer:
Whole milk can be used to make homemade paneer. It can be cut to bite size portion or grilled tikka. Offer this as finger foods or a quick snack to the child. Cheese can be given as small cubes or as it is to practice all types of dishes the child eats like sandwich, rolls, macaroni, pizza, parantha or any others. In fact, macaroni and cheese is a wonderful combination of nutrition and taste for young kids
#7. Nuts and Dried Fruits:
Nuts serve as great energy boosters and a handful of them can be very beneficial for a child's growth. Nuts like walnuts, peanuts, almonds and dried fruits like raisins, currants, and dried apricots can be given to children. These can be given to snack on as they are or rolled together with oats to make granola bars. Instead of regular chocolates and candies, such bars are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals besides being dense in calories and proteins. These would certainly give a boost to their weight. You can also opt for nut butter which can be added to bread, crackers, and smoothies for extra calories and nutrients.
How Do I Get My Toddler To Gain Weight?
- Offer your child a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy and poultry in at least 5 portions in a day
- Choose starchy carbohydrates with dense nutrients based on potatoes, pasta, bread and rice. Opt for whole grains and not refined versions
- Additional ghee/butter/oil can be used if the child is really underweight. In case the child's weight is normal, please use these in moderation
- Avoid giving empty calories in the form of sodas, packaged juices and sweets
- Whole cream milk can be used to further enhance the energy intake and weight. Once the child is on normal weight, use toned milk
- Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids, preferably water, at least 6-8 times in a day's span
- Make soups with milk instead of water, add grated cheese to toasts and pasta to give your child some quick calories
- While giving above foods, give only little amounts first, to check for any allergy. If there is no allergic reaction only then continue with those foods
Also Read: 10 Must Know Newborn Baby Weight Facts
Should I Use Toddler Weight Gain Supplements?
Though most underweight children can largely benefit from a well-planned calorie rich and dense diet, there may be some whose being underweight is related to some chronic medical condition or genetics. Some children also have a naturally poor appetite and may be very picky eaters, not deriving enough benefits from even the best of diets. If such is the case with your child, an expert on the subject would be able to help you in deciding whether you should supplement the diet with weight gain commercial supplements. These supplements offer varied vitamins and minerals, proteins and carbohydrates in concentrated forms. Mostly designed so as to appeal to children, they come in a variety of powders, mixes, tablets and liquid concentrate. Pre-packaged weight gain supplements should be given to a child only under a doctor's recommendation and advice. Do not opt for OTC supplements as many of them are suitable of us adults, but not for children.
Please note that the suggestions given here are dependent on the health condition of the child. In such cases, where the child has any illness or disorder, you should consult your doctor and a dietician for a personalized plan for your child.
| Mar 19, 2017
hai, my daughter is now 3 years and her weight is only 11. 5kgs. her birth weight was 2. 5kg... she will not eat what ever in her plate in full. she will eat half or 3/4 of the food. she will eat cashew not the almond. what is the way to increase her weight. can I know what should be the weight for her age.
| May 14, 2017
Hello Dr. Thanks for giving this useful information It gives me help to gain weight for my 3 years old daughter whose weight is only 10 kg. I'm very worried about her weight. Please suggest which butter is good like amul butter ,white butter ,nutralite butter.
| Aug 04, 2017
Thanks but I already did that