One of the most common concerns for mothers is whether their child is gaining enough weight or not. Underweight children are a perpetual concern for doctors and parents alike as being underweight predisposes the child to a host of medical conditions. Balanced nutrition plays an integral role in healthy growth and development of a child.
The essential nutrients required for the proper growth of the child include the following:
1 . Carbohydrates: contain sugars that provide instant energy.
2 . Proteins: help in building, repairing, and maintaining the muscles, immunity, hemoglobin, etc. Most importantly, they are needed to build muscle mass which adds to weight gain.
3 . Fats: help in gaining weight and provide energy due to their high calorie content per gram of food.
4 . Vitamins: help in utilizing other nutrients and are vital for all metabolic functions of the body, although in microscopic quantities.
5 . Minerals: are required for growth, repair, and regulation of body functions in small quantities like iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium.
FOODS THAT HELP IN HEALTHY WEIGHT GAIN
Here are a few healthy foods that help in weight gain in children:
1 . Bananas
Bananas are the most effective for helping gain weight. Whip up a banana milkshake with sugar or give 1-2 bananas a day to help put on weight. Bananas are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They provide instant energy and help in building muscles and bones.
2 . Mangoes
Mangoes are high in sugar, vitamins, and minerals. Mango milkshake is a delicious way to get your dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre, protein and calories on the road to gain weight.
3 . Eggs
Eggs are a complete source of protein, fat, and calories. Eggs help in building muscle mass and energy. Give your child at least 2 eggs daily- either boiled, as an omelette, bhurji, fried or any of the hundred ways it can be eaten in.
4 . Potatoes
Potatoes a staple diet for Indians is also a rich source of calorie-loaded carbohydrates.
5 . Beans
Beans such as soy, kidney, black, and red are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, iron, and fiber. They can be easily eaten daily to pile on pounds.
6 . Ghee
Ghee is proven to be a healthy fat providing enough calories and nutrition as well. Ghee is recommended to be consumed across all age groups for nutritious benefits.
7 . Cheese
Cheese is one of the tastiest options for your child to gain weight. It is rich in fats, proteins, and calcium. Easily add it to just about anything and your child will happily eat it!
8 . Nuts
Nuts are rich in good fat, iron, proteins, and calories. Include peanuts, almonds, cashews, raisins, figs, and walnuts in your child’s daily snack regime or hand a fistful to eat while enroute to school. They can be easily included in salads, milkshakes, sprinkled on ice creams, or crushed and added to milk if consuming them whole doesn’t go down too well with your child.
Other foods such as chicken, wheat bran, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which help in improving appetite. Better the appetite, higher the calorie consumption, quicker the weight gain!
It is important to rule out any underlying factors like food allergies/intolerance, malabsorption, infections, hereditary factors, that might be responsible for poor weight gain/under-nutrition. Consult a pediatrician if your child is losing weight over weeks to months without any obvious reasons for weight loss.