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Top 10 Healthy Foods for Kids to Gain Weight

A healthy, active child full of energy is a joy to watch, and every parent tries to ensure that their little one is in the optimal weight category. In contrast, being underweight or even an overweight child who’s lazy and passive is a cause for concern for any parent. Children’s weight issues can be corrected by making the right choices concerning the foods they eat.

You are always in a hurry, with no time to sit down and finish your meal. Every morning, you race to the workplace with only a toast in your hand, intending to eat on the way. But did you realise that your toddler, who was watching your ‘eating on the run’ technique, will soon emulate your eating habits?

Recent studies (1) have found a considerable correlation between the parent’s dietary choices, education, health and attitudes and the child’s food preferences. We believe that if you see your child is not following regular eating hours or has a strong desire for unhealthy treats, it is important to focus on the child’s parent’s eating habits.

According to Paediatrics for Parents, “The mother of the household is frequently regarded as the primary parent in charge of childcare activities such as meal preparation. Fathers believe that their eating habits and attitudes towards food are not closely observed and adopted by their children.” However, researches demonstrate that children tend to consume more frequently at fast food restaurant chains based on their fathers’ preferences. A mother’s choice has little impact because husbands usually decide where to go out, even for a family supper.

How to make a child gain weight fast?

The metabolic rate of a child is much higher than that of an adult since their bodies are still growing and developing, which is why their food or the calories they consume should be higher. A child who receives weight gain food for kids that follows proper meal times, and has correct eating habits is headed in the right direction. Teaching good food and eating habits is essential from the beginning. A great way to start is with a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fats and sugars.

It’s easy to reach for a takeout menu and order some fast food or to give in to sugary treats, but if we refrain from this long enough, we are already making the right choice of food for kids to gain weight. While cutting down on fats, sugars, junk, and fast food is the first step in getting an obese child into the optimal weight group. Other measures can be considered after consulting your child’s paediatrician and a nutritionist.

On the other hand, an underweight child is prone to have many health issues apart from being lethargic, so it is essential to include some weight-gaining foods in their diet. Let’s now explore some foods for kids to gain weight.

Here are a few popular healthy food choices for kids, along with a few suggestions on how to use them.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

  • Potatoes and their lesser-used variant- the sweet potato, are a readily available ingredient in most markets and are a good weight gain food for kids due to their versatile nature.
  • As it is rich in carbohydrates, it will give your child the energy needed to complete their various tasks. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are rich in amino acids, Vitamins B, A, and C, and dietary fibre.
  • From the obvious choice of making fries and wedges, both can be used together or separately for chats, parathas, and tikkas. Add beans, butter, and cheese to your mashed potatoes, and you’ve got a healthy weight-gain food for your kid. Both are tasty when roasted in the oven with some herbs and oil.

Milk, Cheese and Dairy Products

  • Milk and milk products like cheese, yoghourt and butter are staples found in most Indian homes and must be a regular part of every child’s diet.
  • Milk is a rich source of proteins and calcium, essential for developing bones and teeth. Cheese is also a great source of calcium, fat, protein, and vitamins A and B12, along with zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin. Yogurt contains good bacteria to maintain good gut health, and butter is a healthy fat and an excellent weight-gaining food for kids.
  • Milk and dairy products can be added to a child’s diet in various forms and combinations to make them weight gain foods for kids. For instance, milk can be given in plain or as milkshakes and smoothies. In cereal, many Indian sweets like kheer and semiya are made of milk. Yoghurt can be given plain or mixed with a fruit pulp or made into lassi, and flavoured lassi can even be frozen in the mould to make lassi pops a real healthy treat for the summer months. Butter can be smeared onto chapatis or parathas, a delicious way to help kids to gain weight.

Eggs

  • Eggs are another readily available ingredient. Besides being highly nutritious, they are palatable and adaptable to numerous dishes.
  • This wholesome food is packed with proteins, good fats, phosphorus, and vitamins B12 and A, all of which are essential for the growth and development of muscles and tissues in the body.
  • Boiled eggs are the easiest way to consume this power-packed food. Adding butter and cheese to it would make it yummy and an excellent weight-gain food for kids. Add milk and cheese to eggs and scramble them, or add a few vegetables to make delectable omelettes. Even French toast, an all-time favourite, can be made with milk eggs and sweetened with honey, making it a healthy food for kids.

Bananas

  • Grilled, fried, baked, or even eaten as it is, bananas are an all-time favourite among kids. Readily available and are pocket-friendly too.
  • With over 100 calories in each banana, they are also rich in potassium, Magnesium, vitamin B6, and fibre making them popular among weight gain foods for kids.
  • Bananas are delicious but are even more fun when added to milkshakes in combination with other fruits like mango and strawberry. They can be used as toppings on porridge, waffles, and pancakes. Even overripe bananas can be made into cakes for a quick and healthy snack for kids.

Avocados

  • Avocados, a gorgeous green exotic fruit, is slowly gaining ground in local markets due to their nutritional value. It is also referred to as butter fruit due to its creamy smooth texture. It is considered a superfood due to its nutritional content and health benefits.
  • This healthy food for kids and adults contains vitamins C, E, K, potassium, and Magnesium folate. It also has a high content of healthy fatty acids and fibre. Unlike other whole fruits, its sugar content is low, making it calorie-dense and promoting healthy weight gain.
  • Due to its buttery texture and mild taste, it can be used as a spread on toast, chapatis, or parathas, it can be had plain with either a dash of salt and pepper or with a slight sprinkling of sugar. It can be made into a dip or a delicious milkshake by itself or with some banana, a creative way to increase its calorie content.

Nuts and Dry Fruits

  • Nuts and dry fruits are a powerhouse of calories and nutrients, no wonder our ancestors used every opportunity to include them in our diet. Due to their long shelf life, it is easy to buy and store a large variety for a few weeks, if not months.
  • Dry Fruits and nuts are a rich source of iron, vitamins, and minerals. They also have a reasonable amount of protein, natural sugars, and a good amount of natural healthy fats. All these are good to ensure weight gain in kids and help build their immunity.
  • These can be powdered or separately added to milk or porridge. When chopped can be added to halwa, kheer, semiya, and cakes. They can even be made into laddoos or snacked on by themselves. Many of our Indian sweets and Mithais also contain a lot of dry fruits and nuts along with milk making them a kitchen staple.

Oats

  • Oats as a whole grain have been accepted with open arms as they make their way into our Indian kitchen. Being a nutrient-rich grain, it has myriad uses in Indian and Western cuisines.
  • Oats are a wonderful grain filled with dietary fibre, which aids in regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. It also contains thiamine, iron, zinc, and Magnesium, making every bite healthy for kids and adults.
  • Oats are considered one of the weight gain foods for kids as they can be eaten by themselves as a sweet or savoury porridge, with added fresh or dried fruits, even with vegetables to enjoy an array of flavours. It can be easily sneaked into milkshakes, pancakes, omelettes, cookies, and even Indian delights like idlis, dosas, and laddoos.

Honey, Maple Syrup and Jaggery

  • Honey, Maple syrup, and Jaggery do not contain any natural fats and a very insignificant amount of protein or carbohydrates. We recommend it because it is not as highly processed as the commonly found white sugar, and they have a higher nutritional value than sugar.
  • Jaggery, the unrefined form of sugar, contains nutrients like choline, betaine, Vitamin B12, B6, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, Magnesium, selenium, and manganese. Honey and maple syrup being natural sweeteners, contain ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, and niacin riboflavin, along with calcium, copper, iron, Magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
  • These can easily be substituted for sugar in almost all instances with none of the empty calories but with some added health benefits. These go into the list of healthy weight-gain foods for kids.

Ghee and Nut Butter

  • Ghee is a type of clarified butter used for cooking, medicinal purposes, and religious rituals, whereas nut butter is a spreadable mixture made by grinding nuts into a paste. Both can be made at home with minimal and readily available ingredients or can be purchased.
  • Ghee is a calorie-dense food rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K . Though ghee is rich in fat, it contains high monounsaturated Omega-3s. Which are healthy fatty acids that help support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Nut butter is made primarily from nuts, so it retains all the nutritional value of the nuts and contains unsaturated fats that are good for you. Making nut butter at home is a better option as it lets you choose the amount or type of sweetener you’d like.
  • Ghee can be used for cooking or added to your parathas, chapatis or on top of Khichdi, and Nut butter can be used instead of butter on toasts or mixed with chopped fruit in milkshakes or on top of waffles and pancakes.

Lean Meats

  • Lean meats like chicken and fish are regularly consumed in non-vegetarian houses. They are easy to cook and adapt to numerous dishes and cuisines.
  • Lean meats are a fantastic source of protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, B12, copper, phosphorus, Omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium. All of these aid in muscle and brain development too. The development of muscle leads to weight gain in your kids and prevents them from looking flabby.
  • Lean meats are easy and quick to cook. They can be grilled, baked, boiled, made into curries, pulaos, sandwiches even added to soups and salads to increase the protein and calorie content.

Once we are aware of the weight gain foods for kids and how it is to be used, all that’s left is for us to use our imagination to make food exciting and healthy, which will help our kids gain weight the right way.

Try these tips to help your kid to gain weight

  • Get them involved in meal preps. Once they are involved and aware of the ingredients that go into the food, they may be open to trying it out.
  • While preparing snacks or meals, let your child taste some of the ingredients raw and then again after it is cooked and talk about the difference. This may bring about an interest in what they eat.
  • Try keeping the meals colourful and with varied textures to keep things interesting.
  • Avoid putting too much food on the plate, the child may feel overwhelmed, serve them little, and you can always have some more later. This discourages wasting food.
  • Avoid forcing your child, especially toddlers, to eat a particular type of food. They need time to adjust to new foods.
  • Avoid snacking on junk food between meals, as it spoils your child’s appetite.
  • Finally, please keep your child active. This will strengthen their bones and muscles and make them hungry.

Through this article, we are raising awareness of healthy weight-gain foods for kids. While most of the time they work, there may be various reasons they don’t, like genetics, regular activities, stress, or maybe some other underlying issues. In such cases do consult your paediatrician for advice.

Reference- https://cssp.org/our-work/project/pediatrics-supporting-parents/

For informative and accurate articles on all things related to your new born-toddler’s development, growth, health and nutrition, follow EuroKids Blogs and do check out our nationally recognized preschools – EuroKids for the first step in your kid’s educational journey!

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