Young babies and children may appear small, however these growing humans too need the right balanced diet for their adequate growth needs. The kind of diet that is made up of food items from each category and a meal that gives the correct amount of calories and nutrients. Making sure that your child is getting the right and the sufficient amount of calories is very important to know whether your child is underweight or not. And as parents, we all know children can be very picky when it comes to food. They are hesitant to try new foods and may even cut down on their meal portion size, resulting in anxious parents worrying about whether their child is growing well.
How to tell if my toddler is underweight?
It is best to consult a GP to find out whether your child is underweight. The GP will measure your child’s height and weight, consider the sex and age of the child , and using a healthy weight calculator, assess where on the graph does your child’s measurements fit. If there appears to be an issue, the GP may refer your child to a dietician and advice on foods to include in the child’s diet.
A balanced diet
I myself have a child that takes a while to accept new foods and only eats a very small portion size. I already try to feed my child at short regular intervals and give her a balanced meal. A balanced meal is made of five portions of fruits and vegetables, include carbohydrates, dairy, pulses and protein. I also ensure my child gets enough water in her body throughout the day, especially after all the physical activity. One more tip I have learned is to keep the plate colourful, because children are visual learners and they are more willing to try what is on their plate if it looks colourful. Wouldn’t we too?
Along with a balanced diet, I include some high calorie foods to increase the calorie intake, whilst still providing a healthy meal. These high calorie foods are easily found around us and can be incorporated in most dishes without the child even realising. The high calorie means that even if your child is only having a small portion of their meal, it would still benefit them in terms of calorie intake.
What are these high calorie food items?
Here is a list of five high calorie food items that can assist in the weight gain of your child:
- Cheese: You can give cheese cubes on its own to your child to eat, or include in sandwiches in the form of cheese slices or add grated cheese on top of their meals. It not only adds to the taste, but is packed with nutrition, rich in calcium and healthy fats.
- Oats: You can use oats to make porridge, or also add to smoothies and make cookies out of it. Although they taste quite bland on their own, you can enhance their taste by adding dry fruits, nuts and maybe even chocolate to it.
- Sweet Potatoes: Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes and all the forms it comes in? Whether it is mashed on the side or some French fries, the kids surely love it.
- Butter: A household staple in every house. Add a dollop to your meals, spread it on toast or add it the soup. You can also try variations, such as peanut butter if there are no allergies.
- Bananas: Not only is this fruit sweet, but packed with calories. You can include them in smoothies or dice it up on some French toast.
Other foods that also come with a high calorie count include Avocados, Whole fat yoghurt, Eggs, Lentils, Salmon and ground meats.
It is important to discuss any changes to your child’s diet by speaking to your dietician. He will help assess how to slowly include these food items in your child’s balanced meal plan and also monitor the progress.
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