You know the story, ‘Hansel and Gretel’ where the father drops off his two children into the woods and they find a house made of candy? How this candy house belongs to an evil half-blind witch who captures them and force feeds Hansel to fatten him up so that she can eat him? Well, I’m on a similar mission to fatten up Azmu because I’m a witch really and I am going to eat her she looks to be slightly on the smaller side.
I must thank Azmu for keeping me fit and kinda toned. That bundle of energy has always got me running after her, picking up her zillion toys from one room to another and catching her mid-air while she jumps off beds and sofas. For a little tiny being, she sure is lively! MashAllah. However, this is resulting in her burning off many calories and not utilizing them to gain her optimal weight. Now, I know kids come in all different sizes and shapes, but even I must agree here that Azmu could do with a bit of weight gain.
Web browsing foods with high calorie intake has become my daily obsession. Visiting her dietician has become a monthly routine. And, comparing kids her age in the playground has become an unconscious norm. In the midst of the web browsing, hospital visits and chats with other mummies, I have learnt a bit about the various foods that help toddlers gain weight, which I have outlined below:
- Rice: This carbohydrate-rich staple food gets mentioned to me everytime I discuss about Azmu’s weight. It is rich in B complex vitamins and a good source of iron- essential for carrying oxygen around the body and therefore providing energy. Over-cooked rice can be pureed with a variety of other vegetables for the little one’s picky taste buds.
- Sweet potato: Again from the carbohydrate family, sweet potato is high in dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin A and vitamin C. These can be added to any puree or even served as baked chips. Also, warm steamed sweet potato can be served and because of its soft consistency, the little ones can easily mash it up on their own and enjoy eating it.
- Chicken: Apart from giving Azmu bits of boneless chicken to chew on, I also boil and puree it with rice. The trick to amazing tasting chicken puree is to not over-cook it when boiling, but rather let the chicken simmer on low heat to give you tender juicy pieces. This protein source is also rich in magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, necessary to support the body’s metabolism and muscle development.
- Cheese: Rich in calcium, phosphorous and selenium, cheese can be added to your little one’s food in a variety of ways. Grated cheese can be added to her pureed food, sprinkled on bread or even munched on as finger food. Whenever we have pizza, Azmu loves to pull the cheese strings and pretend that she is eating noodles. And don’t even get me started on Mozzarella sticks! Yum!
- Butter/Ghee: Although, low in nutritional value, adding butter or ghee to other foods can turn a moderate-calorie meal into a high-calorie meal. Fat is important for babies and toddlers for brain development and adding appropriate amounts of butter/ghee to your babies food can provide them with the essential fats. Start with a tea spoon and build it up to a tablespoon per serving.
Ofcourse, there are various other foods that are great for weight gain such as yoghurt, eggs, avocado, bananas and lentils. I have introduced Azmu to most of them and a variety of other foods too, Alhamdullilah, as I understand the importance to having a balanced diet. With the recent news about eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day, instead of five, I’m really going to have to up my game. Maybe even get my hands on learning the art of cutting fruits into pretty flowers and preparing Japanese Bento boxes with rice shaped into Hello Kitty and Pokemon characters! Never say never!
Disclaimer: Please consult your paediatrician before you make any changes to your toddlers diet and include foods mentioned in the post above.