Toddlers can be fussy eaters and getting them to eat can be a daily struggle. Poor eating habits can cause your toddler to become underweight. He may be unable to concentrate for long periods and can get tired quickly. Your toddler may have nutritional deficiencies if he is underweight, so he can get sick often. To increase your child's weight, motivate and encourage him to eat so that he consumes more calories on a daily basis.
Feed your child high-calorie, nutritious foods. Include foods such as macaroni and cheese, bread, pasta, creamy soups, and whole milk. Increase the calories in foods as you prepare them. Add sour cream or butter to vegetables; prepare soups with dried milk; add cheese to eggs and mayonnaise to sandwiches, and include sauces, dips, and gravy in meals. Avoid low-calorie, low-fat and non-fat foods.
Encourage your child to snack frequently throughout the day so his total caloric intake for increases. Have snacks available within his reach. Offer snacks such as granola bars, dried fruit, and crackers with cheese or peanut butter. Keep your child from snacking before meal time because this will reduce his appetite.
Increase your toddler's portion sizes or feed him more frequently during the day. If your child doesn't respond well to eating a large amount of food in one sitting, add extra meals to his normal-sized meals to still get the extra calorie intake.
Supplement your toddler's diet with nutritious, high-caloric shakes. Over-the-counter nutritional supplements are high in calories, minerals, and vitamins and can contribute to your child's weight gain.
Avoid liquids while eating because you don't want your toddler to fill up on liquids. Let him eat and fill up on food first, before giving him milk, juice, or water.
Involve your toddler in the food preparation process because the invested effort may motivate him to eat. Ask your toddler's help in making a grocery list. Take him grocery shopping and allow him to pick and point out the foods he likes. Let your child help you prepare the food in the kitchen.
Sit down to eat as a family and make family meals a pleasant experience. Avoid rushing meals so your child has plenty of time to eat. Your toddler will look forward to meals and may eat more to savor the experience.
- Baby Center; Helping a Child Who's Underweight; Aug. 2005
- Virginia Tech University: Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids: What Should I Do if My Child Is Underweight; Elena Serrano, et al.; May 2009
- Parenting: On Call - Underweight Child; Claire McCarthy
- PediaSure: Why PediaSure?
- Keeps Kids Healthy: Boosting Calories
- Banner Health: Underweight For His Age; Mandi Turner
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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