“Chubby cheeks, dimpled chin”, everybody must have heard this rhyme, and it’s essence is that chubby babies are everyone’s favorite. Healthy weight gain in children is one of the biggest challenges for every mother. However, during the ongoing pandemic around the globe parents are worried about obesity due to lack of physical activities in kids. But still there are many parents looking for tips on weight gain for their kids or baby food for weight gain. Gaining weight or gaining healthy weight are two different aspects. In today’s era kids are more prone to processed and refined foods which are easily available. But they don’t have any nutritional purpose other than just adding unhealthy empty calories to their body. If your baby is thriving properly, is active, happy and doesn’t fall sick frequently, there should not be a cause of concern. However, it is also important to keep a check on your baby’s weight at regular intervals, as he/she may suffer from development delays because of being underweight for a long period of time. In that case it becomes imperative to work on their weight with a diet that is nutritionally rich and well balanced. If your baby is not gaining weight according to their age, look for the reasons for that.
Reasons for not gaining weight:
- Not consuming enough calories
- Poor appetite
- Food intolerance and food allergies
- Poor eating habits and eating disorder
- Metabolic disorder
- Genetic issues
- Recurring infection
- Premature birth. Kids who are born premature tend to have poor weight gain
- Health issues like chronic diarrhea, liver diseases, gastroesophageal reflux, can affect weight gain in kids
- Sometimes few medications also lead to loss of appetite resulting in poor weight gain
Tips for healthy weight gain:
Physical activity: Encourage your child for physical activities. Indulge them in some sports like swimming, cycling and running which can help to increase their appetite.
Balanced diet: Focus on a healthy, well balanced, nutritious diet instead of just thinking about weight gain. Weight gain foods for kids should be nutrients-rich, energy-dense with adequate amounts of protein and carbohydrates. It should include foods from all food groups. Some fruits and vegetables have more calories than you might have thought of.
Small meals: Try to give 4 to 5 small meals, despite feeding 3 bigger meals. Also add 2 to 3 healthy snacks which may include fruits, nuts and seeds. They are the best baby food for weight gain. These in-between healthy snacks can help your kid to take in more calories than by eating three bigger meals.
Not skipping meals: Don’t allow kids to skip meals, or at least encourage them to eat something instead of skipping a meal.
Avoid processed food: Processed and packaged foods often contain added sugar, Salt, unhealthy fats and lose their original nutrients during the food manufacturing process. Discourage your kids for these easily available foods. They won’t favour a child’s health in any positive manner. (How does fast-food impact bones?)
Limited drinks: Hydration is important for kids. But drinking liquid just before or during meals can affect your kid’s appetite and make them eat less. Studies have shown that drinking water prior to meals can reduce calories intake. (Impact of sugar on the body?)
Proper sleep: Proper sleep is utmost important for kids in their overall development. A decent night sleep can make a positive impact on your child’s entire day and on their appetite also. (Link between sleep and brain)
Weight gain foods for kids:
Is the food you are feeding to your baby providing the right amount of nutrition or helping in healthy weight gain? Apart from giving a balanced diet it is also important to ensure that your little one is getting a sufficient dose of calories for healthy weight gain. Here is the list of foods that can help kids to gain healthy weight.
Ghee: Ghee is a form of clarified butter that originated in accident India. It’s rich in antioxidants,vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acid, which helps in healthy weight gain among kids, aids in brain development, great for metabolism and keeps the tummy troubles like gas and constipation away. Lactose intolerance babies can also safely consume ghee as the clarification process removes milk solids and decreases the lactose content of ghee. You can start giving a spoonful of ghee to babies as soon as they start weaning off breast milk. Ghee is considered as the best baby food for weight gain. (How to make medicinal ghee at home?)
Paneer(cottage cheese): It is a form of Indian cottage cheese, high in protein, phosphorus, calcium and selenium. The fat present in paneer provides the essential nourishment that is required for a kid’s healthy development. It also has a good amount of vitamin A which aids in night vision and provides healthy skin. 20 gram of paneer has 90 calories hence it helps underweight kids to gain weight. It is one of the best weight gain foods for kids. (How to make whey protein at home?)
Full fat yogurt: Yogurt being high in calcium and protein aids in building strong bones, which leads to weight gain. It also helps in digestion as it has good bacteria (probiotics). Adding curd rice to your kid’s diet which has 179 calories in just ½ cup, can help them to gain healthy weight. (Easy and tasty probiotic recipe)
Sweet potato: Sweet potato is not only the perfect first food for babies but also best baby food for weight gain. Sweet potato provides a good dose of calories as per 100gm it contains 86 calories. It is also loaded with calcium and iron, both of which are vital for an overall kid’s growth. Sweet potatoes are low in saturated fats and high in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, B6 and C. It has antioxidants like catalase, zinc superoxide, which prevent inflammation and help to increase weight. All these nutrients make it one among the best weight gain foods for kids.
Peanut butter: Peanut butter is a rich source of unsaturated fats, protein, B vitamins, iron, folic acid and fiber. It is an excellent food for weight gain as it has 62 calories per tablespoon. Add peanut butter to kids meal either by spreading on bread or on wraps. Many kids like peanut butter with apples too. (30 reasons why peanut help kids?)
Ragi (Finger millet): Ragi is loaded with protein, calcium, fiber, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and is the best baby food for weight gain. With around 130 calories per ½ cup, it also strengthens the bones, teeth and aids digestion. Ragi can be given as ragi porridge, kheer or in the form of flat bread. (How does whole grains manage menstruation pain?)
Pulses: All pulses are high in calories and considered as baby food for weight gain. They are rich in protein, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium which plays an important role in the overall development of kids. Moong dal (mung bean) and urad dal (black gram) are the best options, if you are looking for weight gain foods for kids. Urad dal contains fatty acids that help in brain development too. According to ayurveda, urad dal can help to gain weight because of its Guru (heavy) and Balya nature. (Ayurvedic herbs for kids body, brain, bones and immunity)
Almonds: Almonds are powerhouse of nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin E, protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and fatty acids. High fiber content of almonds aids in digestion. Almonds have 170 calories in one ounce (30 gram), which makes it one of the best healthy weight gain foods for kids. Almonds can be consumed in many ways by Kids. Roasting almonds and dipping them in chocolate makes a great snack for kids to eat any time during the day. Almonds can also be made into a butter for spreading on bread or grind into a flour to be used to make cookies or added to cake batter. Roasted almond powder can also be added to porridge. Roasting Almonds does not impact the nutritional value of the nut. (6 reasons why kids should eat almonds everyday)
Recipe of Ragi (finger millet) Laddoo/ Sweet balls
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