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Underweight Toddler

Our 15-month-old toddler is underweight (3rd percentile for weight, and tall--usually measures in at 90th percentile for height!), so we need to fatten him up. He is a somewhat picky eater--he refused to eat any solid food at all until he was a year old, and then he leapfrogged ahead to finger food. High calorie foods we've had success with: avocado pudding, cheesy bread, cake. We also mix extra heavy cream and/or pediasure in with his milk.

Does anybody have any other recommendations for toddler-friendly, high calorie foods?

ETA The doctor wants us to get him more calories. There is concern about a dropping weight percentile. Our calorie goal is normal, 1200 per day, but our baby does not eat a large quantity, so we need to make what he DOES eat more calorie-dense.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2012 03:46 pm (UTC)
Are you trying to add calories because you want to or because the child's doctor wants you to? (I ask because my 4 and a half year old has always been in that range and we've never been encouraged to "fatten her up"-just to ensure she eats a healthy, well balanced diet, that she's offered adequate food and drink options, and that she meets milestones.)
Nov. 11th, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
same with my 3.5 year old.
(no subject) - cloudscudding - Nov. 11th, 2012 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thejoysofjess - Nov. 12th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cloudscudding - Nov. 15th, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kelj99 - Nov. 11th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - cloudscudding - Nov. 11th, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - sushidragon - Nov. 11th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 11th, 2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
Nut butters if he isn't allergic!

Though I second the above commenter's question. :)
Nov. 11th, 2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
Peanut butter can be a choking hazard...are others more dissolvable?

The doctor wants us to. There is concern about a dropping weight percentile. We have a target of 1200 calories per day.
(no subject) - sblmnldrknss - Nov. 11th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - evil_lion - Nov. 12th, 2012 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 11th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
I would avoid adding sweet foods (like cake) just for the calories and focus on healthy, high-fat, high-calorie foods instead.

You could add coconut oil or flaxseed oil to his foods - soups, smoothies, yogurt, etc. Bacon, egg yolks added to soups, using coconut oil or butter for cooking, etc.

I hope that helps.
Nov. 11th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
My daughter has always been super tall and skinny. She's usually in the 95ish percent for height, and about the 5th percent for weight. When she was about 2, the doctor recommended we try and get higher fat/calorie foods into her. His advice was to give her breakfast drinks, things like Carnation instant Breakfast/Ovaltine that kind of stuff, twice a day. Keep her diet as balanced as we could for a 2 year old and leave it at that. His thought was as long we know she's getting two solid servings of a fairly high fat/calorie/vitamins a day, then skinny is just skinny. As long as she wasn't loosing weight in real lbs (not just height vs weight precents) then he wasn't worried.
Nov. 11th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
Here in Canada we have a yogurt brand, Greek Gods, that is organic, 10% fat, and has the extra protein of a Greek yogurt. My toddler loves it plain (tastes not unlike sour cream), or I make different flavoured dips (onion powder +garlic powder+dried dill+pepper for "ranch") for her veggies. I'd look for something similar in your home area. I've also kept my daughter on full-fat milk instead of switching to 2% like you're supposed to after age 2.

Also, avocado if your child likes it. Mine doesn't :(
Nov. 11th, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
My ped told me to add olive oil to everything for my son and keep him on toddler formula, adding a little bit more powder to the water. Don't stress over it. My son is 3 years old, 37" tall and 23 lbs and perfectly healthy. Some kids are just small. Tell your ped to take his eyes off his weight chart and put them on your kid instead to determine his health.
Nov. 11th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
Cottage cheese was a hit for my son. Also, cream cheese (and other cheeses). Eggs with cheese on them.
Nov. 11th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
I don't think pizza has been metioned?
Nov. 11th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
Use coconut oil, olive oil and when appropriate bacon fat (great for fried eggs!). Full fat dairy as much as you can find it. I wouldn't worry too much, my 4 yr old is about 44 in tall and weighs about 33lbs but there are some days that he can pack it away like a football player.
Nov. 11th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Our kids are the same size and age.

Greek full fat yogurt, cottage cheese, peanutbutter,, sushi (with cream cheese and avocado) guacamole, hummus are staples in her diet.
(no subject) - mertonfanatic - Nov. 11th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 11th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
Home made mac n cheese, make the sauce from scratch, both my daughters adore this. Put ranch dressing on his veggies, cheesy broccoli soup, bacon, sausage eggs etc for breakfast. We also did oatmeal and added honey for sweetening, Whole yogurt, cottage cheese, apple butter sandwiches, bologna and cheese sandwiches. These are all things we've done for my daughter (currently 21 months) who dropped from the 49th percentile to the 11th percentile between one well baby check and the next. Also make sure he's getting at least 24 ounces of whole milk a day (my doctors advice to us mainly because Lily would rather drink water). Keep a couple pieces of string cheese or some other high calorie snack with you when you go out and offer small amounts every two hours or so.

She's back to the 25 percentile on weight so it worked. Hope this has some useful stuff for you.
Nov. 11th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I would do a second opinion as one option. If he's never been above 10th percentile in weight for his age, and he's recently gotten longer, could this just be a normal fluctuation? My son's growth pattern his whole life has been to gain pounds, then stagnate on weight and just get taller, so he's never stayed on a single weight growth curve for more than a month or two. Did your ped talk about coming back in two weeks or so for another check, just to make sure this wasn't a fluke due to low water or being earlier in the day than a previous check (less food in the tummy just because he's only had breakfast)?

My son actually lost a pound between his 3rd and 4th year well-child visits. However, he'd gotten quite a bit taller, and my ped wasn't concerned. Now at almost 4y6m, he's started gaining pounds again (3 pounds since his 4y visit).
Nov. 12th, 2012 12:28 am (UTC)
All of this. Dropping from 10th to 3rd is not a huge drop and can easily be explained by tons of things.
Nov. 12th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
My skinny boy child struggles to stay on the chart as well - here are some of the things we feed him:

Meatloaf made with 85/15 ground meat
Slim fast as a drink, lately I've been using cans, but if you use the powder you can add extra, and use whole fat milk to make it.
Real butter on his veggies
Full fat ranch to dip (but really, try out a few different dressings - my daughter likes the poisonous orange "French" dressing and that stuff is a calorie bomb and a half)
Slim jims
Crackers with spread - cream cheese, peanut butter, whatever he'll consume at that moment.
Anything that he'll accept butter and/or cheese on - grits, mashed potatoes, toast
Smoothies with the calorieriffic add ons (the counter worker can tell you which pack the most punch)
Meal replacement bars or energy bars (but check for stimulants on the energy bars - I only made that mistake once.)

Careful about adding too much sugar - if he doesn't already have a sweet tooth, you don't want to give him one.

Good luck!
Nov. 12th, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
The breastfeeding question is good, if your child was breast fed, make sure they are taking that under consideration. My son measures small(10th percentile), but when compared to the WHO breast fed chart, he's ok, even though he wasn't ever EBF. To compare, my 14 month old to me has always seemed thin, at 14 months he wears size 18months for length but is really a 9-12 month waist. I take his cues as well, (BLW) so he didn't really start eating a significant amount of solids until he was 1. He's a healthy, normal, active and hitting all milestones early. What I suggest is offering him whole fat of milk, yogurt, & cheese. Do not fill him with fatty foods that contain lots of sugar just to increase his calories. Processed/boxed food is usually high in calorie, but won't offer him a lot of nutritional value. Make sure the fats come from healthy fats, like avocado, almond/peanut butter, olive oil and lean meats. My kid LOVES pasta, though I don't recommend anyone to feed their child pasta every day, we include it in his diet about 3-4x's a week. The key to having your child eat often, is to have a meal plan in mind. This is what I do on a normal weekend when I can monitor his food intake:
Breakfast: Multigrain pancakes (mix with whole milk & coconut oil instead of water & canola) with blueberries and a tiny bit of whipped butter served w/a glass of milk.
Snack: Diced cheese stick with whole grain crackers
Lunch: Open-faced sandwich= whole wheat bread (w/out edges), ham, cheese, diced lettuce, avocado and cucumbers
Snack: Peanut butter w/a glass of milk.
Dinner: Homemade chicken noodle soup with diced chicken breast, pasta, zucchini, brown rice, carrots and cauliflower

That's what I normally feed him when I am home. He hardly ever finishes anything (snacks and breakfast are usually 85% eaten and lunch and dinner are more of a 50% eaten). We still offer him formula in between meals and he still breast feeds on demand. My husband works from home and with help from my dad they usually take the easy route and make oatmeal, or pbj sandwiches, scrambled eggs etc. I try to cook ahead of time to leave them stuff ready, like homemade version of popular foods like mac n cheese and spaghetti o's that are popular hand foods or easy to use a fork with.
Also, take a weekend to make healthy muffins; I like zuchinni/apple muffins and pumpkin spice muffins. My kid will snack on these between meals and are good to have to toss in a diaper bag. It's not easy, I work full time and my husband and dad aren't creative or healthy food conscious eaters, so it does take time and preparation, but I promise, it's not impossible.
Nov. 13th, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
Advice we got from a dietician to fatten up our teeny tiny (not even on the WHO charts) 28-month-old:

Focus on fats:
Olive oil or butter on veggies
Butter every carb (bread, waffle, pancake, whatever)
Butter both sides of the grilled cheese
Butter the PB&J
Add canola oil to yogurt (whole fat, of course)
Add canola to all condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc)
Make eggs with whole milk, butter and cheese
Add powdered milk to milk
Just generally add butter or oil wherever you can

Our case is kinda extreme (she didn't hit 20 pounds until 27 months, which was after a month on this high-fat diet), so take which tips make sense for you. At one point we were doing all of this, but I stopped mixing canola into the ketchup, cause it was annoying.
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )


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