Worried your toddler isn’t gaining enough weight? While they are renowned for their fussy eating habits, toddlers typically still manage to maintain a healthy weight. However, it is possible your toddler may not be gaining enough weight and that can obviously be pretty worrying.
Underweight toddlers can experience issues with fatigue, delayed development and irritability. So, if your toddler is diagnosed as being underweight, how can you help them to gain it? Here, we’ll look at some of the top tips that can help. Remember, some children have naturally smaller frames. So, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis to ensure your toddler is underweight and doesn’t just have a slimmer build.
Focus On Weight-Gaining Foods
The first thing you’ll want to do is focus on adding foods to your toddler’s diet which are known to help with weight gain. These include:
- Cheese and Milk
- Starchy Carbohydrates
Cheese and milk contain a lot of fat and calories, along with essential nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D. So, you can use these foods as bulking agents. Sliced cheese can be used on crackers and in sandwiches, while you should ensure you use whole milk on cereals and as a healthy drink.
Avocados are renowned for their health benefits, most of which are credited to their high healthy fat content. You can add avocados to a number of foods including soups, salads, smoothies and sauces. A great idea is to puree the avocado, using it as a butter to create delicious treats such as brownies.
Although as adults, we’re told to avoid starchy carbohydrates and eat complex, whole grains instead, children have much different nutrient requirements. The whole grains can contain too much fiber for toddlers, so focusing on starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta and bread is a better option. If you want the ultimate weight-gaining food combo, offer macaroni cheese. This contains both starchy carbohydrates and cheese, both guaranteed to help your toddler gain weight when eaten regularly enough.
Ensure Mealtimes Are Relaxed
As well as ensuring your toddler has a healthy dose of healthy fats and calories, you’ll also want to pay attention to how mealtimes usually go. Ideally, you’ll want to make mealtimes as relaxed as possible. It’s also important to have a set routine so your toddler knows when they’ll be eating.
Avoid giving your toddler any distractions during mealtimes too. This means, not allowing them to watch TV, or any form of technology. This should also apply to you too as if you’re distracted, you may feel like you’re in more of a rush, inadvertently rushing your toddler to finish their meal. By creating a relaxed atmosphere, your toddler will be focused on eating, which in turn will encourage them to eat more.
Provide Healthy Snacks
Snacks are an important part of your toddler’s growth. However, even though you’re looking to help them gain weight, it’s important to ensure you’re feeding them healthy snacks. It might be tempting to opt for sugary, high-fat snacks as these will obviously help with weight gain. The trouble is, unhealthy snacks will also lead to numerous health problems.
So, when offering snacks, make sure they’re packed full of healthy fats. Nut butters spread onto vegetables and fruits is a great idea. Similarly, you can use the healthy foods mentioned earlier as inspiration. Adding pureed avocado on bread or crackers is another great healthy snack choice.
Remember, it’s important to limit snacks to avoid your toddler filling up on them and skipping their meals. Try to allow at least half an hour to an hour after your toddler’s last snack before serving them a main meal.
Involve Your Toddler In Meal Planning
If part of the problem is caused by your toddler not wanting to eat a lot of foods, involving them in the meal planning process can be helpful. Several studies have shown that children who are included in the meal preparation, tend to be much more likely to try new foods.
Ask them what they like for dinner and include them in the entire process. Let them help you choose the ingredients for the meal when you go shopping. Then, let them help in the kitchen as you prepare and cook the meals. You’ll generally find they are much more excited to eat their dinner if they’ve helped to make it.
Consider Nutritional Supplements
As a last resort, nutritional supplements could be a good option. However, you should never give your toddler any form of dietary supplements before first talking it over with a doctor.
You especially shouldn’t purchase your supplements online unless you know you’re buying them from a respectable source. There are a lot of fake supplements out there which could contain absolutely anything. Ask your doctor whether they feel weight gaining supplements would work and which ones are right for your toddler.
Remember, it’s important to be sure your toddler is underweight before making any changes to their diet. It’s also a good idea to avoid arguing with your toddler over the foods they’re eating if they are diagnosed as being underweight. While you’re trying to help them gain those extra pounds, it’s worth feeding them whichever foods they prefer.
It can be worrying finding out your toddler is underweight. However, with the tips above you should be able to work on the problem and encourage them to gain weight in a healthy manner.
Did you need to step in to help your toddler gain weight? Let us know what worked for you in the comments below!