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Development of each kid is different; while some kids gain healthy weight according to their age, some go overboard with weight and a few remain underweight. Till the time kids are gaining healthy weight, parents need not to worry.
The real concern surfaces when the toddler shows no adequate weight gain as per his age. There can be many reasons why a toddler fails to gain the considerable weight. You will have to seek your child’s health care provider’s advice and see if your child is gaining the needed weight. It’s very vital that the weight of preschoolers is monitored on a regular basis. This is one important phase of their growth and if anything is missed on at this stage, it can only create complication in your child’s future health.
You can always seek expert advice to know if your child is facing any eating disorder, or if his metabolism is working fine. Along with doctor’s help, you must also make some efforts to help your preschooler gain weight. Avoid giving your toddler foods rich in sugar or fat as they will never help them gain weight in a healthy manner. There are ways to provide them with healthy calories without experimenting too much with their appetite. Here check out what your underweight toddler needs to be fed with:
1. Kids in the age bracket of 3-5 years are quite energetic and their diet needs to be planned given their energy requirement. Encourage smaller yet frequent meals rather than sticking to the conventional 3 meals a day norm. Break the meals into smaller parts and increase the frequency.
2. Serve them with full fat milk and curd, this extra fat aid in your toddler’s growth
3. When serving dal or veggies to your toddler, top them with little ghee or butter. You can even use olive oil.
4. Cheese in adequate amount is also a good source of increasing weight. You can add some amount of cheese to homemade vegetable sandwiches, pizzas or pastas.
5. Instead of buying desserts from outside such as ice creams, chocolates, pastries or sweets; serve them with homemade desserts like kheer, different type of halwa et.
6. Nuts are also good for maintaining a healthy weight. Make sure you feed your child with adequate amount of nuts like almonds and cashew. You can either add them to their dishes or give them a handful either in the morning or evening hours. But ensure that you powder them well or finely chop so that your toddler can eat them with ease.
7. Potatoes are good source of carbohydrate which aid in weight gain. Make sure you add them in your toddler’s diet.
8. If you are a non-vegetarian, eggs and chicken can be the best foods to be given to toddlers who are underweight.
Sample Meal Plan for Underweight Toddlers
Now that you know what all things your underweight toddler needs to be fed with, let us here check out this sample meal plan which has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.
This is just a guideline; you can plan the diet given your child’s choice of food and preferences. You can pick any food option from the list as given or modify it the way you like. Make sure it’s served in small quantity.
1. Early Morning: Serve him a glass of milk with peeled and mashed almonds (soaked in water overnight) or fibre rich biscuits
Vegetarian options: Milk with cornflakes, oatmeal, dalia made with milk, suji halwa with powdered cashews and almonds, vegetable poha, vegetable sandwich, idli, vegetable upma, or vegetable cheela
Non-vegetarian options: Scrambled egg, omelette with buttered toast
3. Packed Lunch to School: Vegetable upma, a fruit dish, small sized roti or paratha with small amount of any seasonable sabzi.
Vegetarian options: Small sized chapatti topped with ghee, dal, vegetable dish, rice, vegetable khichdi, vegetable pulao with curd, or paneer curry.
Non-vegetarian options: Vegetable pulao with egg curry, small sized chapatti with chicken curry and salad, rice with fish curry, or chicken biryani with raita.
5. Evening Snack: Wholewheat crackers jam and butter sandwich, fresh fruit slices, milkshake made of banana, mango etc, or sweet potato fries
Vegetarian Options: Vegetable pulao with raita, vegetable pasta, vegetable noodles, khichdi, plain rice with dal or small sized chapatti with veg curry.
Non-vegetarian options: Vegetable pulao with egg curry, small sized chapatti with chicken curry and salad, rice and fish curry, egg noodles or chicken pasta. Use this as a sample guide and keep bringing in variety. Also, choose the portions very carefully. They need to be in very small quantity say half a cup or 1 small bowl. Encourage healthy eating and keep monitoring your toddler’s weight.