Looking for the foods for weight gain in babies?
Is the low weight of your baby troubling you?
Does your child have a normal appetite and yet have low weight as compared to children his/ her age?
Wondering which foods to add to your child’s menu for him or her to gain weight?
Worried about your toddler not gaining weight?
These questions are what most of the moms have. Most of the times, it actually has no co-relation to your baby’s actual weight.
You may think your baby is fine – the doctor said so and so does the weighing scale. But all that will quickly come crashing down when your child meets his grandparents. Suddenly you feel like he or she is grossly underweight.
Though I can’t see you, I can almost feel you rolling your eyes and agreeing with me. Some moms fall in the- I hope my child is healthy category. They constantly obsess of their child’s weight even without any pressure from outside world.
As a mommy blogger, I receive many mails from my readers regarding the low weight of their baby. In fact “how can I help my baby gain weight?” almost every mail had this subject line 🙂
Though weight has nothing to do with the development of a baby, a mother is always exposed to sarcastic comments and feels low regarding this.
Why is it so?
Simply put, it is because we associate the health of a child to his weight– I mean the chubbier the better!
If that was actually the case then we adults wouldn’t be spending so much on gyms.
Then after a while the constant outsider comments and your fear about your child’s weight leads to the most common scenario. You end up throwing the guide book to healthy eating out of the window. What follows is a free pass for junk food. This might lead to weight gain now, but you are setting up your child for great dangers later.
I cannot begin to stress how important it is for us to set healthy examples and a healthy start for our kids when it comes to their food.
The secret is to provide high calorie nutritious fresh home cooked foods other than going for chocolates, ice creams etc. So this post is the top 50 foods for healthy weight gain in babies and kids.
Why is my baby not gaining weight?
Before we get to the food items that will help your baby gain weight, let me ask you, do you know what your child’s weight and height should be according to his or her age? To know that, refer to the agewise height and weight chart for babies and kids.
If you still feel your baby is underweight, check if these aren’t the reasons why your child isn’t gaining weight.
But even then I would like to repeat that if a baby is active, healthy and achieves the milestones there is nothing to be worried about.
Let us take a look at those food items that would take all the worries of your head. Ok, not all the worries but at least one.
#1. Whole cream milk
How is whole cream milk different from the others? It is homogenized and pasteurized. That means the fat in the milk doesn’t separate and rise above.
Whole cream milk can help your baby to put on weight. It is power packed with calcium and loaded with calories. It also is rich in essential vitamins and minerals. You can give your 1year + baby / kid a glass of full fat milk every morning and evening.
If your child doesn’t like milk, there is nothing to be worried about. Try giving yogurt or any other foods as given in this article.
#2. Breast milk
Yes, contrary to what certain ‘well meaning’ people tell you babies less than 6 months do not need anything to ‘fatten’ them up! If you are breastfeeding, then do continue with that.
Breast milk is a super food itself and hence you can keep giving it. Breast milk helps to fulfill the fat and energy requirements of a baby.
#3. Soy milk
If you belong to a vegetarian household or if your little one is lactose intolerant, then you can give your child soy milk. It is rich in proteins and calories and will help your child gain weight.
Just check whether he or she is allergic to soya.
#4. Whole cream yogurt
Whole cream yogurt is an apt choice too.
Most kids run away at the very sight of milk, but are open to the idea of yoghurt. Don’t worry and let them enjoy as yogurt also is a healthy choice for weight gain in babies.
Yogurt contains calcium and other nutrients that are required for growth. It contains good bacteria that are essential for the body.
Curd is also very good for digestion which means that the food they eat is properly digested and their little bodies are able to reap the benefits of what they eat.
Please refrain from buying the flavored fruit yogurt available in the market as they are loaded with sugar.
Yogurt recipes for babies:
- Flavored yogurt/ smoothies:
If your kid doesn’t like the normal yogurt you can easily whip up a flavored one at home. All you need are some fruits, a blender and yogurt. Just blend them together; a wholesome fruit yogurt or smoothie is ready which is high on taste and nutritive value.
Smoothies are especially good for fussy eaters as it a great snack choice, rich in calories and high on nutritional benefits.
Shrikhand is an apt recipe for babies and toddlers using yoghurt.
- Curd rice:
You can also whip up a curd rice.
Make a kadhi to be eaten with rice if your little one dislikes the raw yogurt/ curd.
Not everything healthy has to be boring.
Ask any kid if they like cheese, I doubt if they will ever say no. This is actually an easy one as it is very easy to spiff up your child’s food with cheese.
There are a million ways to add cheese to your little one’s diet. A small piece of cheese as an evening snack is a good option. Best option is home-made cottage paneer or cheese.
Cheese recipes for babies and kids:
- Cheese paneer paratha
- Broccoli cheese mash
- Potato cheese mash
- Eggs with cheese
- Soups with cheese grated on top
Chikoo or sapodilla is a yummy fruit that is enriched with fruit sugar. This is the reason why it finds a lot of fan following in the kid world. The high levels of sugar means that it is an excellent source of energy.
Chikoo is also good for the bones, digestive system, respiratory system and it boost the immune system.
If you are wondering how to give this fruit, then don’t worry as you can combine it with some whole cream milk and make a yummy milkshake.
Chikoo recipes for babies and kids:
- Plain chikoo puree
- Fruit salads
- Fruit milkshakes
#7. Golden Banana
Bananas are an excellent source of carbs and energy. Golden banana and Kerala banana both are excellent for weight gain.
Golden banana recipes for babies:
- Plain banana puree
- Banana milkshakes
- Banana cakes
- Banana sheera
- Banana halwa
- Banana kheer
#8. Kerala bananas
I used to hate Kerala bananas, because a big kerala banana and a tall glass of milk used to be our breakfast on the days my mom was ill.
For me it became a sign of sickness and the fact that there was no yummy breakfast that day. But they used to be filling and made my mom content with the fact that her kids won’t be hungry.
Kerala banana could be steamed, deseeded and mashed with a teaspoon of ghee. Please note to give half a banana every day if your child is fond of it.
Do read 13 Kerala banana recipes for some yummy recipes that will surely put a smile on your child’s face and tilt the weighing scale needle in your favor.
Every baby who has started semi solids are advised to have ragi, nachni, kora, finger millet or red millet. Ever wondered why?
The nutritive content of ragi is high and it contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, calcium, vitamins A, B complex and fibre. Now you know why it found its way into the must have list for kids. This healthy nutritive cereal, in conjunction with ghee and jaggery could help babies to put on weight.
It is not just for babies though, older kids can take it too. There are lots of different dishes that can be made with ragi.
Ragi recipes for babies and kids:
The ragi almond cookies recipe is my favorite as it combines the goodness of ragi and nuts.
All these are yummy and healthy and will definitely help your little one in his/ her weight gain endeavors.
Avocado is not very familiar to us, but with the world shrinking day by day, this has slowly started catching our attention. And it is good to give it your attention as this exotic fruit contains a lot of health benefits.
Avocado is rich in good fat. It is an excellent food for weight gain too.
Just blend it in with whole cream milk or have it plain by mashing it. A mom suggested adding jaggery to avocado. I had my reservations, I tried it and my verdict- It’s YUMMMMY!!!!
- Avocado mash with milk
- Plain avocado mash
Disclaimer: If you can’t get avocados or butter fruit at your place, don’t stress! It’s not necessary that you ought to buy imported avocados for your baby’s weight gain. Always opt for local homegrown fruits and vegetables.
#11. Sweet potato
Sweet potato is also great as a first food. From the baby’s point of view, it is due to it’s yummy taste. From the parents’ point of view, it is because the health benefits.
Sweet potato like sapodilla is rich in sugar and beta carotene. It also contains vitamin B, C and minerals like magnesium and potassium.
Recipes with sweet potatoes:
- Sweet potato apple and chicken
- Sweet potato plain mash
- Sweet potato with milk
- Sweet potato lentil mash
- Sweet potato mash with cheese and whole cream milk
This is a no brainer. Eggs are famous as a food item to turn to if you/ your kid is under weight. Eggs are power packed with protein. Yellow yolk could be started from 8th month and whole eggs from 1 year. This is done to prevent any allergies.
Read 8 egg recipes for babies and kids for all you need to know about starting your little munchkin on this super food. So time for some yummy eggs.
You can also refer to the egg pudding recipe.
Potato, the starchy yummy vegetable that is used by us in a variety of dishes also makes the list. Fortunately it also makes the list of vegetables kids eat without a fuss.
Potato is proven to help put on weight. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates and energy and can be given in the form of potato cheese mash. The humble potato also contains minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals.
Avoid the ready to eat french fries available in the market as they may contain chemicals and preservatives. You can easily make it at home by the deep fry or baking method. Also don’t forget to add a variety of potato dishes to his daily meal.
Potato recipes for babies and kids:
- Potato mash
- Potato carrot mash
- Potato cheese mash
- Potato sabji
- Potato sandwich
- French fries
Apart from whole cream milk and yogurt, butter is also good for weight gain.
Fun fact- people trying to lose weight run away from this, but it is actually essential for us, in the right amount though!
Add a teaspoon of butter to baby’s foods like dal khichdi, vegetable mashes, soups etc helping to increase the nutritional content.
Please don’t go overboard with butter as its 97% fat and could trigger obesity in babies. Please limit to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon a day. You want them to be healthy, not fat!
After reading about the benefits of milk, yogurt and butter, I am sure you thought about ghee or clarified butter. It is made by melting the butter and due to the very low amounts of lactose present, it is generally considered safe for people with lactose intolerance.
Now regarding the goodness part of it, remember how your grand mom used to say that everything becomes better with ghee? I used ghee as my go to safety net, if I felt any of my dishes lacked the punch, especially when I had just started my experiments in the kitchen.
Ghee makes any dish taste better. But remember, the same golden rule above applies for ghee as well. Do not go overboard while adding ghee.
#16. Peanut butter
Peanut butter made from peanuts is an excellent source for weight gain. If your baby is a year old and above, you can spread a teaspoon of peanut butter on a bread / toast and give it to your child. You can also use it along with jams and other spreads. You can even use it as a side for pancakes. You can even make cookies with it.
If you child is allergic to peanuts, it goes without saying that you need to keep him/ her away from this.
#17. Olive oil
The oil that is extracted from olives is good for weight gain. It is used predominantly in Mediterranean cuisine. The thing that makes olive oil popular is the fact that it contains monounsaturated fatty acids or good fat.
Apart from weight gain, it is also good for the skin. It would be wise if you start preparing baby food in olive oil. You prepare homemade pastas, pizza etc. using olive oil.
Please note: Imported olive oils are not required solely for baby’s weight gain. If olive oil is available locally at your place, you can use it. Else stick to the coconut oil or any oil that’s used in your region.
Mixed nuts are enriched with Vitamin E, proteins and fat. The high oil content in nuts is what makes it a great weight gain food.
Please make sure the nuts are grounded well to avoid choking.
You can also use mixed nuts as a snack for older kids.
Recipes with nuts for babies and kids:
- Chocolate almond powder
- Toppings over milkshakes, porridges
- Mixed nuts as snacks
#19. Dry Fruits
Did dry fruits remind you of Diwali? If it did, I don’t blame you, the number of dry fruits boxes that exchange hands during our festivals are not even funny.
Dry fruits are also great for weight gain as it is safe and yummy. Dry fruits also make a great snack.
Try making some yummy homemade mixed dry fruits powder for your little one. You can start with this once your child is 8 months and above.
#20. Virgin coconut oil
I was surprised when my doctor told me to use virgin coconut oil. You can add a teaspoon full of virgin coconut oil to your child’s food.
The only word of caution is that do not go for the big bottle, as it can get rancid really soon.
#21. Tuvar dal
Rice, dal and ghee – most mom’s associate it with baby food. It is actually an amazing combo to give your little one, especially if he/ she is lagging when it comes the weight.
Pulses or dals are high in calories and hence will help your child gain weight. Apart from that it also has proteins and whole lot of other goodness which will help your baby stay healthy.
Recipes with toor dal for babies:
- Toordal and rice khichdi
- Sweet potato lentil mash
#22. Moong dal
There are a lot of dals to choose from and a lot of different ways to incorporate these into their diet. Moong dal is one such lentil.
Moongdal recipes for babies and kids:
- Moongdal khichdi
- Moongdal soups
- Moongdal pakoras
- Moongdal halwa
- Brown rice and moongdal porridge
- Moongdal mash with vegetables and ghee
#23. Urad dal
When it comes to nutrients, urad dal is not far behind. We usually use it to temper dishes but apart from that we can make yummy recipes using urad dal.
Recipes using urdal dal for babies and kids:
- Urad kali
Kabuli chana, chickpeas, garbanzo benas whatever be the name, the fact remains that it is great for weight gain. It is rich in proteins (vegetarians take note).
Recipes with chickpeas for babies and kids:
- Chickpeas puree with vegetables
- Choole with paratha
- Boiled chole with turmeric and salt
- Spinach and chickpeas soup
#25. Kidney beans
If your little one loves rajma chawal, then yeay!!! Kidney beans are high in calories and is a good item to add to your child’s meal plan.
#26. Lima beans
This may not be as famous as the other beans on this list, but lima beans are also good for weight gain. They are also called butter beans due to its texture. It is rich in proteins, fibre and minerals.
Adults can consume it for its ability to lower cholesterol and help with diabetes.
#27. White Meat
If you are a non- vegetarian, include meat in your kid’s diet. It is rich in fat and protein. If you are worried about when to start do read the post on introducing non- vegetarian food to your little one’s diet here.
The most popular example of white meat is chicken.
For yummy non- vegetarian recipes that are 100% kid friendly, then our 29 Non vegetarian recipes for toddlers and kids 29 Non vegetarian recipes for toddlers and kids e-book will surely guide you.
#28. Red Meat
For older kids, you can give red meat like mutton, beef, pork etc. But make sure you follow the proper method of cooking and avoid non-vegetarian food from outside.
Fishes are a way of adding protein and good source of Omega 3 fatty acids to your child’s diet, check out our post on how to introduce fish to your baby.
#30. Soya beans
Soya is for vegetarians what meat for non-vegetarians.
Apart from being a rich source of protein, it also contains calcium and iron. When I say soya beans, I am not just talking about soya chunks, I am talking about the actual green soya bean as well.
Many people wonder what tofu is. To put it simply, think of it as paneer made from soy milk. The best part about of tuna is that it is versatile and you can use it in any dish, without worrying about altering the flavor.
Oats is loaded with carbohydrates and is a good and healthy option of putting on weight. If your little one doesn’t like a bowl of oats for his breakfast, you can try out these yummy treats instead.
Recipes using oats for babies and kids:
#33. Natural fruit juice
Yes, fruit juices are loaded with calories and nutrients. But rather than buy preservative laden packaged juices, try and prepare juices of seasonal fruits.
But too much of juices can lead to your child rejecting other food items and that can give opposite results, so a glass of juice per day is more than enough.
- Juices for baby- when, why and how
- Malta orange juice recipe for babies and kids
- Carrot juice for babies
#34. Raw banana
This is also a must add to your child’s diet if you feel he or she is underweight. You can either make a porridge by making raw banana powder at home or you can buy some.
For older kids, you can make a dry sabji or even make some yummy cutlets. The high starch content in this works wonders and gives positive results.
Peas happens to be one of the first finger foods for the baby. Most babies love the taste and that fact that it has proteins, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber makes it a good addition.
Peas recipes for babies and kids:
- Green peas mash
- Green peas soup
- Green peas cutlets
- Green peas curry
Eating roasted or boiled corn at the beach or during monsoons – heaven in each kernel!!! This yummy member of the maize family will also help gain weight. Be sure to check if your little one is allergic though.
This yummy tropical fruit is also called fruit of angels. It contains high amounts of natural sugars that will provide your child with energy and will help him/her gain weight.
Papaya recipes for babies and kids:
- Papaya smoothies
- Papaya salad
Daliya or broken wheat is yet another healthy way of gaining weight. While this is low in fat, it is high in calories.
Pumpkin or kaddu is rich in vitamins, anti-oxidant, helps to boost immunity and helps in healthy weight gain.
Pumpkin recipes for babies and kids:
#40. Saathu maavu
Sathu maavu is also known as navadhanya mix, health mix or homemade cerelac. This porridge mix will definitely help your child weight.
If your child hasn’t put on weight, despite having had this, you can rest assured that he or she is healthy. This powder has all the nutrients to help your child grow up healthy.
You can read the step by step homemade cerelac recipe.
Try making homemade health bars or laddus using flour and ghee.
Try out the oats sesame bar and it is sure to earn you some brownie points from your little one.
#42. Coconut milk
Coconut milk has the ability to elevate any dish. Add some coconut milk to your child’s food to see results.
Avoid the packaged processed variety and use freshly squeezed coconut milk.
The king of fruits is rich in vitamin A and fibre. It aids in healthy weight gain, digestion, moderation of insulin levels and the tryptophan will make you feel happy. Need more reasons to give your kid some?
Mango recipes for babies and kids:
Yummy and good for your child – this fruit is high in dietary fibre and vitamins. You can cut and offer the fruit as such or make smoothies, shakes or juices.
Yet another tasty fruit on the list – this is a good source of iron, fibre and vitamins. You can offer it as such or make smoothies, purees, juice etc.
#46. Almond milk
Almonds are good for your child and so is almond milk.
From being only used as a substitute for kids with lactose intolerance, this is now making a foray into mainstream due to its health benefits.
#47. Traditional poha with jaggery and ghee
A healthy breakfast is essential for healthy development, which makes it the most important meal of the day.
A combo of ghee, poha, jaggery and desiccated coconut is a yummy but calorie and nutrient rich breakfast.
You were probably wondering where this one was hiding. Rice is carb rich and will help you child gain weight. Like I said before add some dal and ghee for best results.
#49. Whole wheat bread
Wheat and weight gain? It is possible, whole wheat bread will help your child gain weight the healthy way and it has the added benefits of being rich in dietary fibre as well.
I love the taste of dates and they remind me of my childhood. The best part about dates is that a lot of kids love the taste. They are rich in calories and so if your child eats one or two, it will help him/her.
Parents please note:
- Refrain from giving too much chocolates for putting on weight. It could cause dental carries. Apart from that your plan of wanting your child your child to gain weight can backfire and lead to obesity.
- The weight of your baby has nothing do with his/her health, unless the baby is malnourished. If your baby is happy and active then that means you have nothing to worry about. The high metabolic activity of kids can be the cause of their lean frame.
- Genes play an important role in determining your child’s weight and body structure. So if you and your husband/ either families are on the thinner frame, don’t expect your child to be chubby.
- A chubby baby doesn’t mean a healthy baby. A chubby baby who is not active is a cause for concern.
- No vanaspati or dalda, stay far away from that. Cow’s ghee or nut seed oil available is good for cooking baby food.
- Despite what people might say resist the urge to force feed. It might cause your baby to throw up.
- If your baby/ child is averse to eating food, don’t worry. The point is not how much but how nutritious. The aim is to provide high calorie nutrient dense foods like Kerala banana mash. So even if your baby eats a little, the high calories can help increase the weight.
- Rather than big meals, aim for small meals with regular intervals.
- While store bought supplements sound like a sure shot way for weight gain, remember to use them only after your child’s pediatrician gives the approval.
- If you still feel that your child needs a supplement or formula to gain weight, then try some homemade energy mix/ saathu maavu. It is healthy and is beneficial for kids above 10 months of age.
- While feeding your child avoid TV, games, mobiles as the nutrients from the foods won’t be assimilated by the baby’s body.
Hope you liked my top 50 foods for weight gain in babies and kids. Have you grappled with low weight of your baby? What were the food items you included in his/ her diet, let us know, we are all ears.
You can see the powerpoint presentation of this post below.
- Please refrain from giving too much chocolates for putting on weight . It could cause dental carries
- No vanaspati or dalda. Olive oil or any vegetable refined oil is good for cooking baby food
- No force feeding please
- The aim is to provide high calorie foods like Kerala banana mash, so even if your baby eats a little , the high calories can help here.
Hope you liked my top 15 foods for weight gain in babies and kids. Do let me know your feedback / doubts.
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