Ways to Help a Toddler Gain Weightby Shelley Frost
Toddlers vary in size based on a number of factors, including diet and frame size. Some are naturally slender, while others are considered underweight. If your toddler falls into the underweight category, helping her gain weight leads her to a healthier situation. Many toddlers stay busy and don't stop to eat or have picky tendencies. A strategic approach to deal with these stumbling blocks helps your child gain weight.
A grazing approach to eating accommodates the smaller stomach size of a toddler. If your child doesn't eat much at meal time, try offering him a plate of food for grazing throughout the day. Keep the plate where he can reach it. Foods like crackers, cheese, fruit and vegetables are usually fine to stay out for an hour or two at a time. Switch up the offerings on the plate so your toddler doesn't get bored.
Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods
Foods high in calories and nutrients boost your child's daily intake, even if she doesn't eat a lot of food. Avoid high-calorie foods without any nutritional value, such as candy or donuts. Stick with foods full of healthy calories, like cheese, avocado, pasta, eggs and yogurt. Peanut butter and other nut butters are another option as long as your child isn't allergic.
A toddler who drinks a lot often fills up on the liquids and won't eat as much food. This means fewer healthy calories for your toddler. Limit milk and juice consumption throughout the day. Avoid giving your toddler a sippy cup to carry around everywhere. Instead, offer him a small glass of juice or milk at certain times during the day. Hold off on liquids during the half hour before meal times that may contribute to your child eating less.
Sneak in Calories
Quite a few recipes will see a calorie boost by stirring in some extra ingredients. Dairy products work well in many recipes. Choose full-fat dairy products for the greatest boost. For example, add whole milk and butter to your child's mashed potatoes or add cheese to her soup. Dips are another way to add calories to a meal or snack. Peanut butter, yogurt or hummus works well for a variety of foods.
If your toddler is severely underweight or has difficulty gaining weight, work with his doctor to make sure he stays healthy. Your doctor can monitor your child's weight gain and general health while offering more suggestions for helping him gain. The doctor might also have insight into the cause of your child's weight problems, allowing you to get specialized care, if needed.
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