A toddler and weight gain is quite a challenging combination for most mothers.
Every mom knows how difficult it can be to ensure healthy and adequate weight gain for a toddler whose only priority is to run around and explore the world. Challenging yes, but making a toddler gain weight is not impossible. Here’s how!
Toddler weight gain chart
Maintain a height and weight growth chart as supplied by your pediatrician. Plot your child’s details on it meticulously every 3 months. Make note if he is falling off the coloured percentile bands that are marked out on the chart. If he/she is falling off the band, either due to excess weight or undernourishment, it needs to be immediately discussed with a doctor and corrected.
If the child is underweight for his age and height, then there might be either poor eating habits or an underlying disorder to blame. Visit your pediatrician for a thorough check up to assess if there is any condition that is causing the poor weight gain. Your doctor will do a thorough physical examination and might even order blood tests to confirm the same.
If all examination and investigations are clear, then it's simply the nutritional habits of your child that need to be changed.
You can download IAP growth charts here:
Toddler weight gain food
Every child needs to derive his energy from calories consumed via food. A well balanced diet with a variety of foods spanning various food groups like proteins, carbohydrates, dairy, fats, etc. needs to be incorporated in the daily meals. Here are some important checkposts your child should be clearing to gain healthy weight-
- Eat three small meals with three interspersed snacks each day.
- Eat at least 5 portions of various fruit and vegetables daily.
- Meals comprising of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates for energy.
- Some dairy or dairy alternatives (e.g. soya drinks and curd). Choose low-fat and low-sugar options.
- Some beans and pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins. Try to give two portions of fish per week – one of which should be an oily, fish like salmon or mackerel.
- Unsaturated oils – eat in small amounts.
- Plenty of fluids – at least 6-8 cups/glasses a day.
Children under the age of two, need concentrated energy provided by fats. There are also some vitamins like vitamin D that are only found in fats. Thus energy-dense foods such as whole milk, yoghurt, cheese and oily fish are very important.
Toddler weight gain: drinks
Plain water and cow milk are best drinks for a growing toddler. Upto the age of 2 years, give the child full-fat milk. After 2 years, if the child has an otherwise healthy growth and adequate weight gain, he can be given skimmed milk and yogurt. If the child is underweight, the pediatrician might advice you to continue full fat milk even beyond 2 years.
Avoid sugary drinks like colas, sweetened juices and shakes, iced teas, etc. that are full of empty calories that can lead to fat gain.
Keep an eye out for the amount of juices and shakes the child has.
Overall, as long as the child is having a variety of foods of different food groups in moderate quantities each day, three should be adequate weight gain.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.