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Healthy Weight Gain for Kids: 7 Nutritious Add-In Foods to Boost Their Diet

Updated: Sep 8, 2023


A happy little boy eating pasta

As a parent, it's natural to worry about your child's health and well-being. While some parents worry about their kids becoming overweight, others face the opposite problem: their child's inability to gain weight.


It can be challenging to know what to do if you're struggling with this problem. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective ways to boost your child's diet and promote healthy weight gain. In this article, we'll explore seven nutritious add-ins that you can incorporate into your child's diet to help them gain weight in a healthy way. By adding these healthy and tasty ingredients to your child's meals, you'll ensure that they're getting the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.

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Understanding Healthy Weight Gain in Kids


Before we dive into the add-ins, it's essential to understand what healthy weight gain means for kids. Kids grow and develop at different rates, and it's normal for them to gain weight at different speeds. However, if your child is significantly underweight or not growing as expected, it's crucial to talk to their doctor to rule out any underlying health problems.


In general, healthy weight gain for kids involves a slow and steady increase in weight over time. The goal is to gain weight in a way that's both healthy and sustainable. This means focusing on nutrient-rich foods and avoiding empty calories from processed and sugary foods.


The Importance of a Balanced Diet for Kids


A balanced diet is critical for kids of all ages, especially for those who need to gain weight. The goal is to provide your child with a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods that will help them grow and thrive. This includes a mix of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.


It's also important to avoid foods that are high in added sugars and unhealthy fats. These foods can lead to weight gain, but they won't provide your child with the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Instead, focus on whole foods and try to limit processed and packaged foods as much as possible.


A little girl drinking a smoothie

Nutritious Add-Ins for Healthy Weight Gain


Now that we've covered the basics of healthy weight gain and the importance of a balanced diet, let's explore some nutritious add-ins that you can incorporate into your child's meals to promote healthy weight gain.


Avocado


Avocado is a nutrient-dense food that's packed with healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. It's also incredibly versatile and can be added to a wide variety of dishes, from smoothies to sandwiches to salads.


One easy way to incorporate avocado into your child's diet is to mash it up and spread it on toast or use it as a dip for veggies. You can also blend it into smoothies for a delicious and creamy texture.


Greek Yogurt


Greek yogurt is another nutrient-dense food that's packed with protein, calcium, and probiotics. It's also a great source of healthy fats and can be used in a variety of ways to boost your child's calorie intake. Non-dairy varieties like coconut and almond yogurt are now readily available and they are a good alternative source of nutrition.


One simple way to incorporate Greek yogurt into your child's diet is to use it as a base for smoothies or as a topping for fruit. You can also mix it with granola or nuts for a crunchy and satisfying snack.


Peanut Butter or Nut Butter


Peanut butter is a classic kid-friendly food that's packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. It's also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to boost your child's calorie intake.


One easy way to incorporate peanut butter into your child's diet is to spread it on toast or use it as a dip for fruit. You can also mix it into oatmeal or yogurt for a delicious and filling breakfast. For kids who are allergic to peanut butter, SunButter or nut butters are nice alternatives. Fun Food Fact: peanuts are legumes, not nuts. :)


Nuts and Seeds


Nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber, making them an excellent addition to your child's diet. They're also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to boost your child's calorie intake.


One simple way to incorporate nuts and seeds into your child's diet is to sprinkle them on top of yogurt or oatmeal. (Nuts can be ground into a fine powder, too.) You can also mix them into baked goods or use them as a topping for salads.


Whole Grains


Whole grains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. They're also incredibly filling and can help your child feel satisfied and energized.


One easy way to incorporate whole grains into your child's diet is to use whole grain bread or pasta instead of white bread or pasta. You can also serve brown rice or quinoa as a side dish.


A boy eating a piece of chicken

Lean Protein Sources


Lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu are essential for healthy weight gain. They provide your child with the protein they need to build and repair muscle tissue, which is especially important if they're active.


One simple way to incorporate lean protein sources into your child's diet is to add them to salads or stir-fries. You can also serve them as a main dish with a side of veggies.


Fruits and Vegetables


Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet and can help your child gain weight in a healthy way. They're packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and can help your child feel full and satisfied.


One easy way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your child's diet is to offer them as snacks or sides with meals. You can also blend them into smoothies or puree them into sauces for added nutrition.


Creating a Meal Plan for Healthy Weight Gain


Incorporating these nutritious add-ins into your child's diet is just the first step towards healthy weight gain. To ensure that your child is getting the nutrients they need to grow and thrive, it's essential to create a meal plan that's balanced and nutrient-dense.


Start by planning out meals and snacks that incorporate a mix of whole grains, lean protein sources, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. Be sure to offer a variety of foods and flavors to keep your child interested and engaged in their meals.


It's also important to listen to your child's hunger cues and allow them to eat when they're hungry. While still providing structured meal and snack times, with 3 regular meals and 2 or 3 snacks throughout the day, you can help your child meet their calorie needs.


Putting It All Together


Promoting healthy weight gain in kids can be challenging, but incorporating these seven nutritious add-ins into your child's diet can help make it easier. By focusing on nutrient-dense foods and avoiding empty calories, you can help your child gain weight in a healthy and sustainable way.


Remember to listen to your child's hunger cues and offer a variety of foods and flavors to keep them interested and engaged in their meals. With patience and persistence, you can help your child grow and thrive.

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All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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