Nutritious food is one of the pivotal building blocks of a child’s health. But many times it is seen that once the child is introduced to solid food, in addition to mother’s milk; s/he loses interest in food. At times, children are more interested in making friends, exploring the outside world and playing in the park. That’s why they are less interested in eating food. As a result, their weight and growth gets affected. There are many things that you as a parent can do to improve this situation. One of them is to know about the best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids. It will also help if you know how to cook and present these best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids.
In this article I am going to share the list of most commonly available and used best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids. For the benefit of some of the first time parents who are not so confident in cooking, I would also be sharing some of the easy, quick to make but high protein/calorie recipes of best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids.
Let’s begin with the lists of best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids:
1. High Calorie Foods for Infants:
All kinds of Beans (cooked and mashed)
- Lentils (cooked and mashed)
- Whole milk yogurt
- Full fat cottage cheese/Paneer
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
2. High Calorie Finger Foods for Toddlers:
- Peeled/Diced Banana
- Sweet potato fries
- Lassi (Sweet/Namkeen)
- Homemade cheese crackers or cheese puffs, Mathris
- Fresh/Dried fruits such as apple, oranges, pears, peaches, chikoo
- Hard boiled eggs
- Frosted wheat biscuits
- Diced grilled cheese sandwich
- Homemade pancakes, waffles
- French toasts
- Peanut/Groundnut Butter balls
- Sugar plums
3. High Calorie Additives for babies, toddlers and kids:
The items listed below can be added to pureed and mashed baby food, soups, dalia/khichadi, veggies, rotis/paranthas/other forms of bread, yogurt, cereals, and eggs. Start with 1/2 teaspoon for every ¼ cup and work up from there based on your child’s preference and after talking with your doctor.
- Oils (canola, safflower, flaxseed, walnut, and sunflower oil)
- Butter/Pure Ghee/Makhan
- Ground flaxseed
- Full cream
- Dry milk powder
- Sour cream
- Maple syrup
4. Some meal and snack ideas using best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids:
(a) Breakfast ideas
- Porridge/ kheer/payasam/phirni/cereal with cream,
- Scrambled eggs with grated cheese,
- Peanut butter/jam/honey/nutella/avocado on toast,
- Toasted cheese and eggs sandwich,
- Stuffed Parantha/Kathi Roll
(b) Lunch ideas
- Rajma-chawal, Kadhi-chawal, Dal-chawal,
- Mashed/Roast chicken with Rice/Pulao/ Biryani,
- Aloo ki sabzi-Poori,
- Pav Bhaji,
- Home-made mini pizza with meat, cheese and vegetables
(c) Dinner ideas
- Fried/Boiled Chicken/Veggies with mashed potato and grated cheese,
- Omelet with potato, tomato, cheese,
- Macaroni cheese or pasta with any kind of meat/veggies and cheese,
- Chicken legs/drumsticks with soft potato/cucumber salad,
- Fish fingers and vegetables with cheese on top,
- Soft baked potato with baked beans and cheese,
- Rotis-sabji/Stuffed Paranthas such as aloo, gobi, muli or pudina/palak,
- Tacos/Wraps with lots of meat/veggies, sauce and salad
(d) Snack ideas
- Yoghurt, frozen yoghurt,
- Fruit cream/custard,
- Flavoured milk/milk (for babies under 2 years)
- Fruits milkshake/smoothie (for babies under 2 years)
- Crackers and cheese,
- Fruit muffin, homemade slice/biscuits,
- Soft vegetable sticks with dip or cream cheese,
- Hard boiled eggs,
- Fresh cut/diced fruit and custard/ice cream,
- Dried fruits/nuts with cut/diced fresh paneer,
- Toasts with spreads (jams/ marmalades, butter or Makhan and jaggery)
5. My favourite recipes of dishes to be made with best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids
Recipe no 1: Grandma’s Classic Chicken Soup
Recipe type: Soup Cuisine: American Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 1 hour Serves: 05 kids
- Best suited for Babies above one year of age
1/2 kg chicken, cut into 8 pieces, 1/2 kg chopped carrots, ½ kg onions, 2 cloves garlic, crushed; salt, pepper, parsley and dill to taste, a few shakes of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger
- Place the chicken pieces in a large pan, cover with water, and bring it to a full boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and skim off any foam that rises.
- Add the chopped carrots and onions, and simmer for 1 hour, topping up with water as necessary.
- Crush the garlic and add then season to taste with salt, pepper, parsley and dill.
- For a thicker soup, scoop out a ladle or two of the veggies, puree them in a food processor and stir back into the soup.
Recipe no 2: Ragi Kheer/Porridge
Recipe type: Dessert Cuisine: Indian PREP TIME: 15 mins COOK TIME: 15 mins
Ragi Flour – ¼ cup, Figs – 2, Dates -4, Almonds – 5, Cashews -5, Pistachios -5, Powdered cardamom – ¼ tsp, Saffron – a pinch (optional), Milk -1.5 cups, Hot Water – 1.5 cups, Ghee/Clarified Butter – 3 tbsp + 1tsp, Powdered Jaggery or brown sugar – 2-3 tbsp
- Measure brown sugar or jaggery (if using) and keep aside. Melt jaggery and strain water if using jaggery with impurities.
- Take a pan and add a tsp of ghee, roast the cashews, almond and pistachios for a minute. Remove from the pan once done and set aside.
- Soak dates and fig in warm water for 15 minutes, and then grind them in a blender to a smooth paste with the water used for soaking the figs and dates.
- In a pan, add the remaining ghee and the ragi flour. Sauté the ragi flour in ghee for 5 minutes or until nice aroma comes.
- Then add hot water little by little. Mix well without any lumps. Now cook everything in a low flame for 5 minutes or until the ragi gets cooked well and the kheer becomes thick and shiny.
- Stir it continuously otherwise it gets stick to the bottom. Once the ragi is cooked, add milk (for babies above one year) and cook it further for 5 minutes. For babies below one year, skip this step. Then add powdered cardamom, ground dates fig paste and powdered jaggery or brown sugar (if using).
- Mix well and cook it further for 2-3 minutes.
- Finally add ghee roasted nuts and saffron (if adding). Once this is done, switch off the flame. For babies below one year, add 2 tsp of nuts powder instead of whole nuts.
- Add formula milk once the kheer is warm. Your kheer is ready for serving/feeding the babies.
This is one of the best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids. It is easy to feed, high on protein and calorie for all ages of kids.
Recipe no 3: Tortilla de Patata (Spanish Omelette)
Recipe type: Breakfast Meal Cuisine: Spanish Prep Time: 10 min Cooking Time: 01-05 min Serves: 4-6 kids
- Best suited for Babies above one year of age
01 tablespoon oil, 06 eggs, 200 grams new potatoes, 01 onion thinly sliced, 01 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced, 02 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped, 01 tablespoon milk, 02 tablespoon finely grated cheese, 01 teaspoon salt and pepper powder
- Let the potatoes cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 08-12 minutes until tender. Drain and leave to cool and then slice.
- Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the sliced onion and red pepper until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute. Add the potatoes to the pan and spread out evenly.
- Beat the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper powder together in a bowl. Pour it over the potato mixture.
- Cook for 04-05 minutes until the eggs set underneath the potatoes.
- Leave it to cool in a plate after that and then cut them into smaller triangular pieces and garnish it with pepper flakes/ powder as your kids like and serve.
Recipe no 4: Sugar Plums
Recipe type: Finger food Cuisine: European Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time: 10 min Serves: 2-3 kids
- Best suited for Babies above 6 months of age
3/4 cup nuts or seeds, toasted 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 1/2 cup dried plums (prunes), 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 cup dried cherries
- Put all ingredients in a food processor.
- Mix until smooth.
- Wearing gloves roll into 1-inch balls.
- Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Plums are ready for serving to the kids in lunch boxes/eating at evening snack time.
Recipe no 5: Dalia Upma
Recipe type: Snacks Cuisine: Indian Prep time: 10 mins Cooking time:15-20 mins Serves: 2-3 kids
- For Babies above 6 months of age
1 1/2 cup broken wheat (dalia), 1 medium green chilli, 1/4 cup peas, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 2 1/2 cup water, 1/2 medium chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, 1/4 cup diced carrot, 1 1/2 teaspoon refined oil
For Garnishing: 1 handful chopped coriander leaves
- Clean and wash the broken wheat thoroughly under running water. Drain the excess water and keep the broken wheat aside till further use.
- Now add refined oil in a pressure cooker and heat it over moderate flame for a minute.
- Add the mustard seeds and once they start to splutter, add onions, green chilli and ginger. Sauté the ingredients till the onions turn slightly pinkish in hue.
- After few seconds, add green peas, carrots, broken wheat and salt. Mix well and sauté all these ingredients for 3- 4 minutes on medium-low flame.
- Add 2 1/2 cups of water in the mixture and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Once the vegetables and broken wheat is properly cooked, turn off the flame and transfer the Daliya Upma in a serving bowl. Garnish the healthy dish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
Again this is one of the most economical yet high on protein best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids.
Recipe no 6: Peanut/Groundnut Butter Balls/Laddoos
Recipe type: Dessert /finger food Cuisine: American/Indian Prep time: 10 min setting time: 1 hour Making time: 10 min serves: 2-3 kids
- Best suited for Babies above 2 years of age
This is no baking required high on calorie finger food for your little ones. Kids just love it.
1/2 cup creamy peanut/groundnut butter, 2/3 cup shredded coconut, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup ground flax seed meal, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, 1 cup old-fashioned oats (raw)
- In a mixing bowl, stir together peanut /groundnut butter, syrup and vanilla extract.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir until coated.
- Transfer mixture to refrigerator or freezer and chill until set.
- Remove from refrigerator and shape into 1-inch balls. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
Recipe no 7: Mango Mastani
Recipe type: drink/ a kind of mango milkshake Cuisine: Indian Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 10 mins Serves: 4 -5 kids
- Best suited for Babies above 6 months of age
Ripe Mangoes – 2 ( 400 grams ), Grapes – 15 to 16, Cashew nuts – 2 tbsp. ( finely chopped ), Almond – 2 tbsp., Milk – 400 ml, Pistachios – 1 tbsp. finely chopped, Chocolate syrup – 2 tbsp., Ice cream( of any flavour) – 2 scoops
- Wash, peel and cut 2 ripe mangoes into small pieces. Keep a little mango aside for making the shake.
- Take 15 to 16 grapes. Cut its tip and dice into 2 or 4 small pieces.
- Put the thick pieces of mangoes in a jar. Add 3 tbsp. sugar, 400 ml milk to it to prepare a thick shake. Blend it well.
- To prepare Mango Mastani, put the chopped pieces of mango in a glass; pour the mango shake into it. Leave a little space in your glass.
- Put 1 or 2 scoops of ice-cream in it, Put chopped dry fruits (cashew, pistachios almonds in it).
- Put a few pieces of mango and little grape pieces on the top.
- Pour a little chocolate syrup over it.
Luscious Mango Mastani is ready. You can serve it to your little ones and relish it. This is another summer time one of the best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids without much ado.
Recipe no 8: Banana Toffee
Recipe type: Dessert Cuisine: Chinese Prep time: 10-12 min Cooking time: 20 min Serves: 02-04 people
- Best suited for Babies above 1 year of age
This is again a typical traditional Chinese dessert. You can also try it with different seasonal fruits such as Apple.
3 not so ripe bananas, ½ teacup plain flour (maida), 2 tablespoons corn flour, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, Oil for deep frying, water, Ice-cubes, For the caramel coating dip: 1/2 teacup sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, 3 teaspoons sesame seeds.
- Put the sugar, oil and 2/3 teacup of water in a pan and cook on a high flame for some time.
- When the mixture begins to bubble, shake the pan continuously to prevent burning.
- Continue cooking and shaking the pan until the syrup is light brown in colour.
- Remove from the heat and add the sesame seeds and mix well.
Your Caramel syrup for coating the toffees is ready.
- Mix the plain flour, corn flour and baking powder in a bowl.
- Add water and stir into a smooth, thick batter. Once your batter is ready, peel and cut the bananas into small, round, thick bite-size pieces.
- Coat the bananas evenly with the batter. Heat the oil for frying the Banana Toffees.
- Deep fry the toffees in hot oil until golden. Fill a bowl with ice-cubes and cover it with water.
- Place the fried bananas in the caramel syrup and coat evenly. Drain well and put them into the bowl full of ice-cubes.
- Keep it for a few minutes till the caramel coating hardens. Drain thoroughly and your toffees are ready to be served.
Now you know what all foods should be included in your baby’s diet, you might be interested in knowing-
When infants and toddlers get the right nutrition for their needs it helps them to grow, be healthy and heal more quickly after any illness. Extra nutrition and extra energy (calories) diet are important to help children gain weight. I have tried all of these recipes and found them to be some of the best foods for weight gain in my daughter. Try the above mentioned recipes and best foods for weight gain in babies, toddlers and kids.
Happy Shopping! Happy cooking!
Happy Parenting with Budding Star!
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