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Underweight baby or child? Tips to help your...

My little boy has always had a hard time gaining weight. In fact, I had to be induced because my placenta had become less effective and he'd stopped gaining weight when I was 36 weeks pregnant. My son is nearly two and has only gained four pounds since he was 9 months old. I never was really concerned about my son's small size. I've heard so much concern about childhood obesity and even overweight babies, but underweight? Since my son's one year appointment my doctor has been doing a series of blood tests, all of which have come back with good results (phew!). So now my efforts are on things I can do to help my son gain weight the healthy way.

Here are some tips to help you if your struggling to tip the scale too:

1- Think Greek. That's right, Greek yogurt. It's creamy, almost custard-style, texture is easily liked by babies and has more calories than regular yogurt. Flavors include: strawberry, peach, pomegranate, fig, honey and plain. Brands to try: Greek Gods Yogurt, Vosko's, Stonyfield Farm etc. 

2-Avocado's and Olives. My son loves fruits and vegetables. In fact, those are the only foods he will chow down on. So avocados and olives are a great way to sneak in extra calories.

3- Whole milk and whole milk products. In recipes that call for milk, make sure to use whole milk. Also, look for yogurt that is made with whole milk as well. (Stonyfield Farm has a whole milk based yogurt).

4- Whole wheat. Often more in calories that white breads, rice etc, it also is loaded with good nutrients and vitamins. When I make homemade cookies, rolls, bread sticks, etc. I'll do half unbleached, white flour and half whole wheat flour. It adds more calories and more nutrition.

5- Buy regular products instead of lite or fat free. It's amazing how those calories really can add up. 

6- Pesto! If your child isn't allergic to nuts, pesto is loaded with healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts. Spread on hot noodles, French bread, pitas, crackers etc.

7- Watch the amount of liquids your child takes in, especially before meals.  Offer drinks only at meal time, before naps or when your child asks. Avoid just leaving a cup in his hands if he is prone to drink instead of eat. 

8-Use real butter instead of spreads or margarine. 

9- Beans. Try adding these to soups or just head in a tortilla with cheese. You can even warm up and serve as finger foods.

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