Thursday, October 20, 2011

How can I help my underweight toddler gain weight?

Eating patterns of toddlers can be unpredictable and erratic. They may eat everything on their plate during breakfast and refuse to eat anything at dinner time. If your toddler is underweight it can be because of improper nutrition or an unbalanced diet. Hereditary and genetic factors can also be to blame. To get your toddler to gain weight, you don't have to increase the portion sizes that he eats, you just have to adjust the foods that you feed him.

High-Calorie, High-Fat Foods

Monitor your child to see which foods he likes and focus on fortifying these foods with butter, cream cheese, half and half, cheese, margarine, oil and mayonnaise. Add a dipping sauce or a pad of butter to his vegetables of choice. Put butter on his bread and add soft butter to his mashed potatoes. Whole-wheat pasta and creamy soup dishes can be garnish with grated cheese to add more calories. Give your toddler whole milk and whole-milk dairy products instead of low-fat alternatives.

Fruits And Vegetables
Serve your child fruits that are high in calories such as avocados, bananas, mangos and papayas. Dried fruits such as apricots, raisins and craisins are also good options. If your child doesn't like eating fruit, give him some ice cream or Greek yogurt and mix the fruit into it.

Protein-Rich Foods
Make chicken fingers or fish sticks for your child and use a thick coat of breading. Serve the meal with your child's favorite dipping sauce. For snacks you can serve deli meat slices, string cheese or chicken salad made with mayonnaise. Scrambled eggs, cooked in butter, are a good source of protein and you can mix cheese, turkey and ham into them. Kids may also like meatballs made with ground turkey or beef. Serve gravy with meats whenever possible.

Starchy Foods

Pancakes, French toast, muffins, bread sticks, bagels and pasta are all starches that can be used for your child's weight gain. Add syrup to pancakes and top the French toast with your child's favorite topping. Pasta can be prepared in olive oil or butter. Look for whole-grain, fiber-rich products because these have often more calories than their processed alternatives. Include brown rice and whole-wheat bread and pasta.

Read more: What are the Best Foods to Feed a Toddler Who Is Underweight? |

Remember that as the parent, you are in charge of the foods you give your child, and your child gets to decide what and how much of those foods he will eat.