BY KAMAKSHI GANESH
The best way to help your child gain weight would be to introduce nutritious, high-calorie foods into their diet and make sure they are eating 3 proper meals with 2 smaller snacks throughout the day. While most parents think they know of all the possible weight gain foods for kids, the idea of a chubby child is not what entails ‘healthy weight gain. It is important to remember that the main aim is to give a balanced diet that provides all the right kind of nutrition for kids. This is central to healthy growth and development.
Furthermore, every child is different and grows differently. This can be due to metabolism, genetics, and a number of other factors. These, however, can sometimes alarm parents who feel that their child is not putting on weight fast enough. This comes back to keeping in mind the main priority: get the basics right with simple ingredients and healthy recipes and the weight gain will come eventually, in its own time.
Here are the top 25 weight gain foods for kids:
1. Ragi (Finger millets)
A tried and tested first food for babies, ragi cereal is great for introducing to kids for weight gain. It is rich in calcium, iron, protein, and fiber and also easy on their stomach. As they grow older, ragi dosa and ragi rotis can be added to their weight gain diet plan.
2. Whole oats
In addition to helping kids gain weight, oats are packed with iron, zinc, and thiamine and are excellent for aiding healthy bowel movements due to their high fibre content. You can give your babies ready-made organic rolled oats cereal mixed with milk and nut powder.
Healthy oats recipe for babies – Carrot oats cereal
Swapping out your kid’s candy and chocolate snacks with nuts and dried fruits granola, helps them load up on nutrients and gain weight while compensating for their sugar cravings.
100% natural nut powder, made from almond, cashew, pistachios, saffron, and turmeric
Jaggery is a healthier replacement for refined sugar in kid’s meals since it contains iron. If used in moderation, it adds a lot of flavor and aids in weight gain. Check out some mind-blowing benefits of Organic Jaggery powder.
5. Millet pancakes
Which kid doesn’t love pancakes? Substitute flour pancakes with these readymade millet pancakes which are packed with protein, vitamins, and fibre for a delicious meal that will also help them gain weight.
Paneer is rich in protein and fat which aids in tissue and muscle growth for children. Did you know paneer is also safe for babies? Just shred or puree paneer along with other vegetables and it can be fed to babies from 8 months of age.
Cheese is also rich in protein, calcium, and fats. Full-fat cheese is recommended for weight gain and it can be used in a number of delicious snacks which your kids would love like cheese toasties, baked cheese balls, and everyone’s favorite – MacNCheese!
8. Peanut butter
Peanut butter has a very high-calorie count because of the naturally occurring oil and fat content. However, if your child is allergic to peanuts, substitute it with other nut butter like almonds or hazelnut.
9. Ghee (clarified butter)
Our very own desi ghee is one of the richest sources of healthy fats. Ghee can be introduced into your 7 months old baby’s diet chart.
Yogurt and curd is a great addition to your child’s weight gain diet plan. The high calcium and potassium also improve their bone health and it’s very gut-friendly for younger toddlers and babies too.
11. Whole milk
Whole milk and its full-fat dairy derivatives are rich in calcium, fat, vitamins and protein. As long as your child isn’t lactose intolerant, children are advised to consume milk daily to help with weight gain and the development of strong bones.
Hailed as one of the most sought-after weight gain foods, eggs are rich in protein, calcium, and healthy fat. If you are introducing eggs to a baby, make sure to start with the egg yolk since the egg white is more likely to cause allergies.
Bananas are high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins making them a healthy high-calorie weight gain food for kids. It can be a great on-the-go snack or added in milkshakes, fruit salads.
A hearty healthy breakfast recipe – Banana chia seeds smoothie
14. Coconut oil
Cooking vegetables and meals in cold-pressed coconut oil add beneficial calories to the meal for your kid.
15. Sweet Potato
Sweet Potatoes are very low in saturated fat and high in dietary fiber, vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. They can be given as purees to babies.
Pears aid in weight gain while providing ample dietary fibre, vitamins and iron for babies and toddlers. Peas are very nutritious for children right from the time they start on solids. Being high in fibre, thiamine, and vitamins, they are advised for weight gain and can be in
Introduced as purees for babies and added to pasta and curries as they grow older.
Chicken is one of the best sources of lean meat for children. A great way to start introducing chicken to babies is as a stock that is packed with all the goodness and flavor.
19. Brown rice
Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice and helps in healthy weight gain. Brown rice cereal is also recommended as a first food for babies.
Made from chickpeas and being rich in protein, hummus is a great weight gain food for children. The smooth consistency makes it ideal even for toddlers. For babies, make sure to not add any tahini, salt, or spices since it could be heavy for their digestive system.
21. Mashed potato
You aren’t going to face much resistance in your household with this universal favourite. Mashed potato (without seasoning) can be fed to babies and as they grow older, it is a great side dish that helps with healthy weight gain.
Tofu is a good source of plant protein and a great substitute to lean meats if you are vegetarian. You can bake it or add it to their salads!
23. Fruit juice
Fruit juices are a good way to encourage your fussy eaters to consume sufficient calories and hit their daily nutritional target, subsequently leading to weight gain.
You can get creative with smoothies and add a whole bunch of high-calorie fruits, nut butter and dairy to it as an easy weight-gain hack for your kid.
Corn is rich in carotenoids that promote eye health. It is primarily composed of carbohydrates.