Many families I work with are vegetarian and vegan. They are regularly told that their little one needs to gain weight. That is often very concerning for parents, so today I am sharing some “weight gain” foods. I hope it helps give you additional ideas for feeding your child nutritious food to help them thrive.
As with all of the information I share with you, this is not meant to replace what your pediatrician or nutritionist tells you to do. Also, be sure to offer only age-appropriate foods.
You will see that this list is not solely focused on vegetarian foods, but it does include many vegetarian and vegan options. I recommend choosing organic whenever possible.
Nutritious Foods to Help Your Child Gain Weight
- Seeds, seeds, seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, hemp, flax, chia
- Nut butters
- Ragi/millet (although read about it first)
- Pea protein
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet squashes (Kabocha is so good!)
- Meat, if you eat it
- Fish, such as sardines and salmon, if you eat it
- Coconut butter/oil
- Other oils like olive and avocado
- Most fruits (Easy to digest examples are pears, bananas, apples, blueberries, kiwi.)
- Garbanzo beans as hummus, or simply ground up (Do not give whole, or in even in halved form. They are choking hazards!)
- Beans (again, choking hazard unless mashed up)
- Cashew cheese
- Oatmeal with fruits and rice or oat milk (avoid sweetened kinds)
- Pancakes (think traditional, but also cottage cheese, zucchini, banana)
- Sour cream
- Whole grain or nut and seed gluten-free bread and pasta (Watch out! Sometimes starting starches leads to a bread and pasta-only baby.)
- Muffins filled with nutritious foods, such as apples, nuts, seeds, veggies
- Protein powder added to baked goods or a smoothie (get pediatrician okay for protein powders use)
Start to provide a few finger foods on the food tray at the end of a meal, or while parents are eating. You might try some small pieces of papaya, grated apple, lentils, or very small pieces of banana. Cheerio-like cereals.
Further, it may help to figure out if your little one is a sweets only little one, or a salt and sweet little one. Most are sweets only. Go ahead and try grated green apple as a regular food because it can help with taste bud expectations and offer a slow transition from sweets to sours. Also, sour can sometimes satisfy the sweet tooth.
Lots of little ones like blended foods such as hummus and smoothies. Give those a try as well. Make it fun and nutritious.
Here’s to happy eating!
Looking for more strategies for feeding your little one? Contact me.