Natural & Healthy Weight Gain Foods for Babies and Kids
Weight gain for kids and babies worries a great percentage of mommies out there. An exhaustive list of 20+ weight gain foods, should help ease this stress a bit. Since I am sailing in the same boat as you are, I have done my research and compiled this exhaustive list of weight gaining food items. Along with the weight gain foods list, I am bringing to you recipes which are easy to make in my “Weight Gain Foods Series”! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel if you want to be notified for all the video recipes I slowly add to this series!
Don’t we as mothers worry every single day about our babies not gaining weight? I as a mother have heard all sorts of comments on my baby’s weight. Is she sick? Don’t you make fresh food for your baby every single day? Are you feeding her junk all day? Does she not drink milk? Are you not giving her Parle-G? Are you not giving her supplements and Bournvita in her milk? She has not even tripled her birth weight, I would be worried sick if I were you!
Do you feel like you have heard these before! And if you are a bit over weight, then everyone would immediately associate a chubby child with you! They would never ever expect a child who is thin irrespective of whether the comparison is being made between a 3 year old and a 40 year old! To all those advice-giving-extra-knowledgeable-too-good-to-be-true-women, I give it back with a smile! I know that my child is active and happy and that’s all that matters.
So here’s an pro tip to all you wonderful mommies! Don’t stress yourself with what any one else has to say! Listen to your heart and to your baby’s doctor! If the kid continues to grow in the his/her growth percentile, then it’s normal. You can visit World Health Organization’s growth charts for babies. Growth Chart for Weight for Age and Growth Chart for Weight for Height.
Some factors affecting weight:
- Fussy Eating (In your control)
- Diet (In your control)
There are many factors including that of genetics which play when it comes to a child gaining weight. But yes, there is something we as mothers can work on. Something which is in our control and that is giving calorie dense nutritious home cooked food! As far as fussy eating is concerned, kids eat more if you make the food a bit attractive, or include them in the process of making it. I have compiled a list of weight gain foods which help towards weight gain in general.
Few things you should keep in mind while introducing any new food, especially to babies:
- Introduce new food in intervals and not all at once.
- Follow a 3 Day Rule for every new food introduced. Keep giving the same food for three consecutive days and look out for allergies. Stop/Avoid food which shows any allergic reaction in your baby. Consult your doctor before introducing it again.
- These food items should not be given to babies less than 6 months of age. Introduce these food items slowly once the baby has started solid diet.
- If the baby is 6 month plus and on mothers breast milk, then continue to breast feed as that’s one of the most nutritious food for the babies. These food should just be additionally given as part of their solid diet.
Weight Gain Foods
100 gms banana contains a whopping 89 Calories. Banana is calorie dense, nutritious and natural source of dietary fiber. Banana is also an excellent source of Carbohydrates, Potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
It’s a quick grab and go food and is excellent for babies as travel food as well. You can give the banana as is or with milk in the form of smoothies, milkshakes. You can make banana pancakes, banana loaf cake and add them in porridge as natural sweetener. It is one of the best weight gain foods.
Here are some recipes with Banana:
Mango is rich in dietary fiber, Vitamin A and Folic acid. It’s a calorie dense fruit and is very good for health. 100 gms of mango contains somewhere around 60 Calories. It’s a seasonal fruit and best given in it’s season! You can offer the fruit as is or with milk in the form of milk shakes, in porridge, smoothies, ice cream, etc.
Every 100 gm of peach can provide as much as 39 calories. Peaches are a great source dietary fiber, essential minerals like calcium, potassium, iron,zinc etc. You can give peach as is or you can make the most famous peach cobbler.
Pear is high in fiber, antioxidants, and is an excellent source of immune boosting Vitamin C. It’s one of our most favorite fruit and is also available all year long. Every 100 gms of pear has 60 calories. You can give pear as is. I love a nice poached pear with ice cream.
Avocado are a healthy fruit, rich in calories and fat! 100 gms of avocado can hold as much as 160 calories. They are rich in dietary fiber, range of Vitamins and minerals. Since Avocado has a buttery, nutty but almost neutral taste, it can be consumed in a lot of ways. Add them as a bread spread, add them in smoothies, add them in salads, in guacamole, etc. It’s the most natural and fuss free weight gain food.
Potato is a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium (even more than a banana). It’s naturally gluten free, calorie dense and packed with nutrition. Every 100 gms of potato gives somewhere around 77 calories. Potatoes can be included in curries, paratha, patties, home made fries, potato mash, potato soup and so much more.
Recipes with Potatoes:
7. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a healthy source of calories and nutrition. Every 100 gm sweet potato has approximately 89 calories. It’s a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, Calcium, Vitamin A (beta carotene) and essential minerals. The easiest and most common way to eat sweet potato is to bake them or steam them. Sweet Potatoes are a great weight gain foods.
Recipes with Sweet Potatoes:
Every 100 gm peas has approximately 81 calories. Green peas are a god source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, and essential minerals. It’s naturally sweet and calorie dense vegetable. Peas are also seasonal and are grown during winters. There are numerous ways of consuming peas. In paratha, as a bread spread, as puree, in curries and much more.
Ghee or clarified butter is calorie dense rich food which is very beneficial for babies. Ghee can be added in all the food prepared for babies like porridge, khichdi, etc. 100 gms ghee has approximately 920 calories.
10. Olive oil
There is approximately 884 calories in 100 gms of olive oil. Olive oil is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids which helps improve good cholesterol. It is also good for digestion. You can add olive oil in a lot of dishes like pasta, raw salads, dips.
Recipes with Olive Oil:
11. Coconut oil
There is approximately 862 calories in 100 gms of coconut oil. Coconut oil is not only calorie dense but also a great for skin, hair, digestive system and boosting immunity. You can cook food for the baby in coconut oil or use the oil in making ladoos.
Breast milk is the most nutritious milk for your baby so start giving outside milk only after you have weaned the baby off. You can also introduce milk in baby’s diet after 1 year of age. Since outside milk is animal milk and if you are Vegan, then you can replace it with almond milk, soy milk or any plant based milk source in your child’s diet. Every 100 gms of whole milk (3.25% fat) has approximately 61 calories.
Recipe with Milk:
Cheese is made with dairy and hence is an excellent source of calcium, protein, Vitamin A and B12. However, different cheeses have different composition. There are various varieties which differ in their nutrition composition. The most important point to note is that you should avoid processed cheese and only buy natural cheeses as much as possible. Processed cheese has a very high sodium level which could be harmful in the long run. Cheese can be given as is, especially the hard cheeses. Cheese can be used in a pizza, pasta and a hoard of other recipes.
14. Whole wheat
Eating whole grains is essential. Whole grains provide nutrition and are vital for health and well being of our bodies. Grains are not only rich in dietary fiber but has several B vitamins and minerals. You can give whole grains in the form of chapati, home made cookies, ladoos, etc.
Recipe with Whole Wheat Flour:
Oats are very healthy whole grain, which are loaded with dietary fiber. Oats are rich in antioxidants, minerals and healthy fats. 80 gms of oats contains approximately 297 calories. Oats are generally consumed as breakfast porridge and in baked goods.
Recipe with Oats:
Ragi is naturally gluten free and is one of the best sources of non-dairy calcium. It’s rich in dietary fiber and is also a natural source of Vitamin D, iron and antioxidants.
Recipe with Ragi:
17. Moong dal
Moong dal is a good source of protein for vegetarians. It’s a pulse which is high in carbohydrates and protein. Yellow moong dal is extremely light on the tummy and very easy to digest. It lacks the fiber content which whole green moong dal has. You can give moong dal in the form of dal, khichdi, paratha, etc.
18. Urad Dal
Urad Dal is a very rich in protein and Vitamin B. It’s also high in Iron, Calcium, Folic acid, Magnesium and Potassium. It’s also rich in fiber and hence easy to digest. You can give Urad Dal in the form of dal, vada’s, idli and dosa batter is made with urad dal.
Almonds are rich in healthy fats which is beneficial for babies. Apart from this, almonds are also a great source of Vitamin E, minerals and protein. Almonds can be given as is. Or you can soak the almonds for 5 to 6 hours to help peel the skin off. Soaked almond is more easily digested. You can also add almonds in gravies, in porridge, in baked goods in the powdered form. You can also give babies a special dry fruit powder which is made with combination on almonds and other nutritionally dense nuts and seeds. However, you should introduce any kind of nuts to babies only after they turn 1 year old. This is because nuts may cause allergy.
Recipe with Almonds:
Figs are naturally high in fiber and are a good source of essential minerals and Vitamins. Dried figs are more nutritionally dense than fresh figs. Figs are a rich source of Calcium. You can give Figs as is or you can add them in milkshakes, in energy balls, etc.
Recipe with Figs:
Raisins are a good source of concentrated calories, besides being rich in vitamins and minerals. 100 gms of raisins may contain approximately 299 calories. You can give raisins as is or you can add them in porridge, pancakes, etc.
100 gm of jaggery contains approximately 358 calories. Instead of refined sugar, you can include Jaggery in your baby’s diet.
Eggs are a good source of protein and healthy fats. They are packed with minerals and vitamins. Eggs, however, should strictly be introduced post 1 year, to be on the safer side. Egg may cause allergic reactions and hence best avoided till 1 year of age. You can introduce the yolk in and around 10 months of age but strictly after following a 3 day rule to rule out allergies. You can give boiled egg, scrambled, in the form of omelette, as french toast, etc.
Recipes with Egg:
Meat including chicken, red meat can be good as weight gaining food for babies. If you are a non-vegetarian, introduce home cooked meat to your baby and strictly follow the 3 day rule to rule out any allergies. Chicken and meat can be introduced post 8 to 10 months of age.
Recipes with Meat or Chicken:
Fish can also be a good weight gaining food. Select a low mercury fish for your baby and only introduce post 1 year of age. If you are planning to introduce earlier, then consult with baby’s pediatrician before introducing and also follow a 3 day rule to look out for allergies.