A weight gain meal plan for underweight children is presented here by our nutritionist. You can choose from these high-calorie meals according to your child’s preferences.
These high-calorie weight gain meal options include breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. In addition to being high in calories, these food meal plans are also the healthiest and most balanced.
Diet will always play the most significant role in a person’s life. Particularly at a young age when a person is still under maturation and requires all the energy and those vital nutrients for the appropriate build-up of his/her bones and body.
In this case, it is necessary to keep a tight look at a child’s diet and nourish him with the most amount of nutrients attainable.
Energy Needs of a Child
A child might need 1200 to 1400 calories/day based on gender. [Ref]
The goal here is to fulfill this calorie requirement without wasting any space for the nutrients.
Protein plays a great role in building the muscles and the tissues and for a child aged 4 to 9 almost 19 grams are required per day and for children aged 9 to 13 this demand increases to 34 grams per day. [Ref]
For fat intake, it must be 30% to 35% of total calorie intake for children aged 2 to 3 years, and for children above the age of 4, it must be 25% to 35% of total calorie intake. [Ref]
Among the essential dietary elements, carbohydrates mark their own space as they are vital for the maturation of the brain at a young age and for this, nearly 130 grams are needed daily.
Weight gain meal plan for underweight Children: Breakfast Options
Breakfast is the jump starter of your day so it has to have the most amount of nutrients in a closely controlled calorie intake.
Smoothies are one of the healthiest options on this list. The two most required dietary components in a child’s diet are dairy and fruits. This option specifically gives you both of these.
Dairy takes the crown for keeping your bones strong. At a young age, the bones of a child are still under development and calcium is being actively deposited in their bones.
The most significant source of calcium is dairy which helps with the growth of muscles, skin, vision, and nerves.
Children might avoid drinking milk as some do not like the taste of it and in such scenarios, it is just better if not best to provide them with a mix of some fruits and milk or yogurt.
Fruits are just nature’s reserve for all sorts of nutrients. They are loaded with healthy sugars with no fat and all types of vitamins and minerals.
To make a smoothie you need to take a cup of chopped or sliced fruit of your choice and a cup of milk.
Preferably add two or more fruits. Blend them in a blender and add some nuts or oats as well. Avoid adding any extra sugar as fruits already have enough and serve cold.
Another great option that gives you the best of all nutrients. Salads might be the last thing your kid wants to look at but there are more pros and fewer cons (if not none at all) for including salads in their diets.
Vegetables and fruits together can fulfill more than half of your nutrient needs. Couple these salads with a smoothie and you have a complete breakfast ready.
Salad dressings like olive oil are significantly important for their monounsaturated fatty acid composition.
Including salads does not mean that you throw in some raw veggies and expect your kid to eat them, even adults do not like salads unless there is some flavor to them.
For this reason, try chopping all the colorful veggies into different shapes and include some fruits as well.
Add some boiled beans and olive oil as a salad condiment. Mix all these entirely in a bowl and place jelly on top to entice them.
Weight gain meal plan for underweight Children: Lunch Options
Lunch can make a whole lot of difference if it is full of foods that provide only empty calories. This is typically the time when children want to eat junk food that contains no nutrients but an ample amount of saturated fat.
Sandwiches are a child’s best friend and also a great way to sneak in those green leafy vegetables. The slices of bread are used to provide your child with carbohydrates that are crucial for the developing brain.
Then comes all the choices that you make to put in the sandwich. Choosing chicken can fulfill the protein requirements and vegetables like tomatoes or lettuce leaves can do just as great at providing other nutrients.
Instead of chicken, you can choose any other meat options as well as eggs which are loaded with protein.
Children are obsessed with junk food these days as they keep seeing it being advertised on the internet and through cartoons. Junk food is a reserve for saturated fatty acids and empty calories so it needs to be avoided at any cost.
A healthy alternative is to make it at home, in this way you are in charge of what is being added to the burger.
An easy yet healthy way to make a burger is by taking to burger buns and spreading mayonnaise or one bun and ketchup or mustard on the other.
Place a grilled chicken patty inside along with some sliced tomatoes. You can choose to add a slice of cheese according to your preference.
Weight gain meal plan for underweight Children: Dinner Options
Dinner can make or break your child’s health. It must be carefully planned and nutritiously filled.
Another great option that covers almost all the food groups. Tortilla wraps contain a tortilla filled with vegetables, beans, meat, etc.
Carbohydrates are given by the tortilla itself.
If you choose to add some veggies then they should be chopped. Adding some boiled beans can provide protein and healthy fiber. Add shredded chicken to enhance the protein content. Add some cheese if you like.
This option will be fun to look at one for children as bland options only repel them from eating.
Mashed Potatoes with Corn:
Potatoes are a child-friendly food and it is commonly added to the diet. Mashed potatoes will fulfill the fiber requirement along with the potassium requirement that helps with regulating fluid and electrolyte balance.
Boiled corn is full of B-vitamins, essential for continuous development and growth. You can add some beans as well.