It is not very uncommon to see mothers worry over their kid's weight gain and searching for healthy ways to promote weight gain in children. The following trend is considered as normal weight gain in children:
- Up to 3 months of age, children gains weight of about 175 to 210 g per week
- By 5 months, the child doubles on his or her birth weight
- Up to 1 year, children gain about 400 g of weight every month
- By 1 year, the birth weight is triple
- By 2 years, they gain 4 times their birth weight
- By 3 years, they gain 5 times their birth weight
- By 5 years, they gain 6 times their birth weight
- By 7 years, they gain 7 times their birth weight
- By 10 years they gain 10 times their birth weight.
It has been noticed that on an average, children gain about 2 kg of weight every year between the ages of 3 to 7 years; after which they gain about double weight till puberty is reached. If the child is unable to gain the above mentioned weight as per his or her age, additional effort has to be made to promote weight gain in children.
Best Food for Kids for Weight Gain
- Dairy Butter: Butter, if taken in moderation, is good for health. Most of the butter sold under reputed brands is rich source of good fat and can help in weight gain in children.
- Nut Butter as a Best Food for Weight Gain in Kids: Nut butters include ready to eat jars of peanut butter, almond butter and other similar products available commercially. These are rich source of unsaturated proteins and fats which help in weight gain in children. These are generally liked by children in terms of taste and thus can be used to make a variety of sandwiches and dips.
- Milk and Cream: Breast milk is the best source of fat and other required nutrients, until the child is being only breast fed. Once the child starts eating other food products, cow milk should be incorporated in diet. Milk is a rich source of carbohydrate and protein. It is advised to drink at least 2 glasses of milk every day to help kids with weight gain. Milk can be consumed in various forms such as milkshakes, smoothies, cereals etc. Milk cream preferably made from whole milk can be added to cereal and fruit salad. Other milk products such as cheese, yogurt etc. provides required fat and nutrient to the body.
- Eggs: 100 g of eggs contain 13 g of protein. It is one of the richest sources of protein. Eggs also contain vitamin A and vitamin B12, which are required for growth and overall development of the child. The good part of eggs is that, it can be prepared in multiple ways as per the child's preference.
- Bananas: Banana is known to provide energy. One whole banana contains about 105 calories. They provide healthy fat and required carbohydrate to the body. Bananas can be used to make smoothies, milkshakes, fruit salad etc. or it can be served with chocolate or cream dip to make the fruit more acceptable by the child.
- Avocados: Avocados are a great choice of fruit for kids for weight gain or for under-weight children. They are good source of fat, carbohydrate and other essential nutrients. Ripe avocado pulp can be used to make spreads and pulp.
- Chicken: Chicken provides protein which is required for building muscles and can be excellent choice of food for kids for weight gain. Chicken can be used to prepare a large variety of dishes. Chicken is usually liked by children and it is not very difficult to make children have chicken.
- Potatoes: Besides being a rich source of carbohydrate, potatoes are a rich source of amino acids, arginine and glutamine making it a healthy choice of food for kids.
- Lean Red Meat: Red meat such as lamb or beef is a good source of fat and can be one of the best food for kids for weight gain. They are also rich in iron. Fresh cuts are preferred over processed or cured meat, as these may harbour food additives or preservatives.
- Tropical Fruits as the Best Foods for Kids for Weight Gain: It is very important to include a good portion of fruits and vegetables in a child's diet. Adding a small amount of butter to steam vegetables will make them tastier for the child. Fruits are rich in natural sugars and thus will help in weight gain.
In some cases, diet modification may not help kid with weight gain. The child may have some other underlying medical issues causing weight loss. It is advised to consult a paediatrician who will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of weight loss and will be able to provide better guidance.
Tips for Weight Gain in Kids
A balanced diet should be given to children to promote weight gain. Balanced diet is a diet that consists of the nutrients required by the body in right quantity as per the age of the child. Balanced diet for children should include the following:
- A minimum of 5 portions of fruits and vegetables to be consumed on a daily basis.
- Inclusion of starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, pasta, rice etc. Preference should be given to whole grain products.
- Dairy products or alternatives such as soya drinks and yoghurts should be included in daily diet.
- Source of protein such as meat, fish, eggs, pulses, beans etc. is advised. Include 2 portions of fish every week, out of which at least one should be oily fish such as mackerel or salmon.
- Small portion of unsaturated oils and spreads must be included.
- Adequate hydration is recommended; diet should include at least 6 to 8 cups or glasses of water every day in addition to other fluid intake.
The following tips may be considered while planning out a weight gain program for children:
- Introduction of a new food item every week.
- Breast milk is the best choice of food for weight gain till the baby is being breast fed exclusively.
- Home remedies for weight gain should be considered only after the child has started a solid diet.
- It is advised to be cautious about allergic reaction, while introducing any new food in the child's diet.
Though obesity among children is common among the American population, there is a considerable amount of children who are under weight and have issues with weight gain. Considering the nature of kids, it is often difficult to make them follow a healthy diet. However, certain modification in the preparation of food can help in making the actual taste and make the food more acceptable by the child. It is advised to provide a child with balanced diet packed with all the required nutrients including fat, carbohydrate and protein which as essential for weight gain and also for overall growth and development of the child. Frequent meals with smaller portion can help is adding nutrients to the child's system. It is important to increase the calorie intake in children who are trying to gain weight. This can be done with few modifications in the way daily food is being prepared. It is always necessary to consult a physician before introducing any drastic changes in the child's diet.