21 Healthy Weight Gaining Foods For Kids

21 Healthy Weight Gaining Foods For Kids

Image: iStock


Kids naturally tend to gain weight as they grow. Most children have a healthy weight while some are genetically lean. Although weight and appearance are not the appropriate measures of a child’s overall health, children, too, have ideal weight requirements as per the International BMI regulations.

If your child’s BMI puts them in the underweight category, you may want to give them foods that help them gain weight. In this post, MomJunction gives you a list of 21 best foods for kids to gain weight healthily.

What Should Be The Ideal Weight In Children?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ideal weight of children can be measured by their BMI (1). You can use our BMI calculator to track your child’s BMI.

BMI percentileWeight status
Less than 5Underweight
5 to 85Normal weight
85 to 95Overweight
95 and aboveObese

While children should be given healthy foods for their overall growth and development, weight gaining foods are specifically for those who are underweight and need to gain healthy weight.

21 Healthy Weight Gaining Foods For Children

Weight gaining foods for kids should be wholesome as well as mouth-watering. Whether it is an energy bar, a smoothie, or a whole meal, your children will enjoy it only if it appeals to them. Here, we list down some of the healthiest foods for weight gain in children.

1. Eggs


Image: iStock

Wholesome and rich in protein, eggs can help in regulating your child’s weight. An egg helps in building the growth muscles and tissues of the body. Eggs should be boiled well and introduced in small quantities to young children. Packed with many nutrients such as phosphorus, protein, zinc, and calcium, eggs are a superfood for children (2).

[ Read: Foods For A Child’s Growth ]

Nutritional value per egg (3):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

2. Chicken


Image: iStock

Chicken is a high-calorie and high-protein food for kids. It is also rich in phosphorus, an essential mineral that supports your teeth and bones, benefits the kidney, liver, and the functioning of the entire central nervous system. Essential for the growth of tissues, chicken benefits young children in many ways.

Nutritional value per 100g of chicken (4):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

3. Salmon


Image: iStock

Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, selenium, and choline that help in improving brain function, cognitive function, and neurological health in young children. Therefore, cooking a healthy and delicious salmon dish for your little one, sometimes, can be a good idea.

Nutritional value per100g of salmon (5):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

4. Tofu


Image: iStock

Tofu is loaded with protein and essential amino acids. It is an excellent source of plant-based iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium. It is a nutrient-dense food item, but low in calories. Tofu is high in protein and healthy fat which is good for growing children.

Nutritional value per 100g of tofu (6):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

5. Jaggery


Image: Shutterstock

Jaggery is a form of non-refined sugar. Prepared from sugarcane juice and date palm, jaggery is healthier than refined sugar. It is also rich in essential minerals including iron, which it gathers during the preparation process that involves the use of iron vessels. To provide extra calories to your child’s diet, add organic jaggery to their favorite delicacies.

Nutritional value per 100g of jaggery (7):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

6. Honey


Image: iStock

An alternative to sugar, honey is composed of 17% water and 82% carbohydrates, which promotes healthy weight gain. It has a low content of fat and is an excellent natural sweetener. Savor it by adding a spoonful on toast, sandwiches, or pancakes.

[ Read: High Protein Snacks For Kids ]

Nutritional value per 100g of honey (8):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

7. Milk


Image: iStock

Milk is a good source of protein. If your child is not lactose intolerant, then one glass of milk every day can help in maintaining a healthy diet (9). Milk contains fats, calcium, and essential vitamins which help in building strong bones.

Nutritional value per 100g of milk (10):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

8. Yogurt


Image: iStock

Most children love yogurt. It can be mixed with something or eaten as it is. Calcium and potassium present in yogurt help in improving children’s bone health.

Nutritional value per 100g of low-fat yogurt (11):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

9. Dry fruits and nuts

Dry fruits and nuts

Image: iStock

Perfect for snacking or used as toppings on ice creams and smoothies, dry fruits and nuts have a wide variety such as almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, apricots, and more. They are rich in iron, vitamins, and magnesium.

Nutritional value per 100g of mixed nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts) (12):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

10. Pancakes


Image: iStock

Pancakes can be served as yummy snacks or breakfast for children. The ingredients of a pancake make it a power-packed and high-calorie food. Pancakes have plenty of good carbohydrates for natural weight gain.

Nutritional value per 100g of pancakes (13):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

11. Oatmeal


Image: iStock

Oatmeal is gluten-free and packed with high-quality carbohydrates, which make it a perfect breakfast meal to start the day with. They are rich in fiber, and the carbs in them burn at a slow pace, which keeps the tummy full and body energetic for a long time.

Nutritional value per 100g of fortified oatmeal (14):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

12. Beans and lentils

Beans and lentils

Image: iStock

Beans and lentils are rich in protein. On average, every 100 grams of it contain nearly 300 calories. Beans are also an excellent source of soluble fiber which regulates blood sugar and cures irritable mood swings. If your child is a fussy eater, then try feeding them beans cooked in their favorite style.

Nutritional value per 100g of beans and lentils:

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)
Beans (15)3471.221.4
Lentils (16)1160.49

13. Olive oil

Olive oil

Image: iStock

Use olive oil as a salad dressing or to sauté any food item. This oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and a wide array of vitamins. Extra virgin olive oil is the safest option for children.

Nutritional value per tablespoon of olive oil (17):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

14. Banana


Image: iStock

Bananas are packed with nutrients that help in easy digestion. They are high in fiber, increase brain power and also improve eyesight. Best for anemic children, bananas are rich in potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6, which makes them one of the best high-calorie foods for kids.

[ Read: Iron-Rich Foods For Your Kids ]

Nutritional value per medium-sized banana (18):

Energy (Kcal)Potassium (grams)Protein (grams)

15. Avocado


Image: iStock

Rich in vitamins, potassium, fat, and fiber, avocados are the best for gaining healthy weight. They are a good source of vitamin C, E, K, and B6. Avocados also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial in improving the overall health of the body.

You can blend them into a smoothie or a dip or serving them with fried beans.

Nutritional value per avocado (19):

Energy (Kcal)Fat (grams)Protein (grams)

16. Hummus


Image: iStock

Hummus is a power food packed with essential nutrients and healthy fat. The main ingredient that goes into making hummus is chickpeas, which is a rich source of vital minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium that are beneficial in fighting anemia.

Nutritional value per 2tbsp (20):

KilocaloriesFat (grams)Iron(mg)

17. Corn


Image: iStock

Another power-packed food which children may enjoy is corn. It is rich in carotenoids that promote eye health. Corn is primarily composed of carbohydrates, which makes it an excellent dietary substance for weight gain in kids.

Nutritional value per 100g of corn (21):

Energy (Kcal)Protein (grams)Carbohydrates (grams)

18. Fruit smoothie

Fruit smoothie

Image: iStock

Children love rainbows and everything colorful, don’t they? Well, fruits come in rainbow colors and should be given to kids for good health. But do they enjoy eating them as much? They may sometimes become fussy eating whole fruits.

But add a little milk and turn it into a delicious, colorful smoothie, they are sure to love it. Fruit smoothies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fiber and must be included in the everyday diet.

Nutritional value per 100g of store-bought smoothie (22):

Energy (Kcal)Protein (grams)Carbohydrates (grams)

19. Sweet potato and potatoes

Sweet potato and potatoes

Image: iStock

Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamins B and C, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and selenium. They are high in antioxidants and improve the absorption of beta-carotene for the body. Sweet potato chips or fries are one of the easiest snacks to prepare.

Potatoes are considered to be a part of a healthy diet for children as they contain fiber and essential vitamins such as A and C. They are also rich in carbohydrates, which promote healthy weight gain.

Nutritional value per 100g of potatoes:

Energy (Kcal)Protein (grams)Carbohydrates (grams)
Sweet potatoes (23)861.620
Potatoes (24)772.0517.49

20. Other fruits

Other fruits

Image: iStock

Children enjoy eating yummy, crunchy, and juicy fruits. The fruits strengthen a child’s immune system and help fight against illnesses. Fruits aid in a child’s healthy growth and development as they are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and loaded with other nutrients.

[ Read: Food Sources Of Proteins For Kids ]

Nutritional value per 100g of fruits (salad) (25):

Energy (Kcal)Carbohydrates (grams)Protein (grams)

21. Other vegetables

Other vegetables

Image: iStock

Children find veggies boring and bland, but love them if they are tasty and crunchy. If your child is fussy about eating veggies, the best time to give them a plate of vegetables is when they are very hungry. Vegetables contain essential nutrients that play a crucial role in improving the child’s health and aiding their overall development (26).

Nutritional value per 100g of vegetables (27):

Energy (Kcal)Protein (grams)Carbohydrates (grams)

Make sure that the nutritious food you give your children is also delicious and visually appealing so that the mealtimes are cheerful for all. Bringing a change in their eating habits and lifestyle not only helps them gain healthy weight but goes a long way in building good eating habits.

In some cases, children may not gain enough weight in spite of eating healthy calories. You may consult a doctor to understand why.

What foods do you give your child to gain weight? Do share them in the comments section below.


1. About Child & Teen BMI; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
2. Eggs
3. Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled; USDA
4. The Nutritional Value of Chicken
5. Fish, salmon, Atlantic, farmed, raw; USDA
6. Tofu, raw, regular, prepared with calcium sulfate; USDA
7. Nath A, Dutta D, Pawan Kumar and Singh JP; Review on Recent Advances in Value Addition of Jaggery based Products; Journal of Food J Processing & Technology (2015)
8. Honey; USDA
9. Nutritional Value of Milk
10. Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D; USDA
11. Yogurt, Greek, plain, nonfat (Includes foods for USDA’s Food Distribution Program); USDA
12. Nuts, mixed nuts, oil roasted, with peanuts, with salt added; USDA
13. Pancakes, plain, prepared from recipe; USDA
14. Cereals, oats, instant, fortified, plain, prepared with water (boiling water added or microwaved); USDA
15. Beans, pinto, mature seeds, raw (Includes foods for USDA’s Food Distribution Program); USDA
16. Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt; USDA
17. Oil, olive, salad or cooking; USDA
18. Bananas, raw; USDA
19. Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties; USDA
20. Hummus; USDA
21. Corn, sweet, white, raw; USDA
22. Beverages, V8 SPLASH Smoothies, Strawberry Banana; USDA
23. Sweet potato, raw, unprepared (Includes foods for USDA’s Food Distribution Program); USDA
24. Potatoes, flesh and skin, raw; USDA
25. Fruit salad, fresh or raw, (including citrus fruits), no dressing; USDA
26. Children’s diet – fruit and vegetables; Better Health
27. Vegetables, mixed, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt; USDA


Recommended Articles:

Was this information helpful?

The following two tabs change content below.

Harshita Makvana

Harshita is a graduate in commerce and holds a PG Diploma in Patent and Copyrights Law from NALSAR University. She has also pursued CA and has more than three years of internship experience in auditing.Her love for travelling has taken her to various parts of the world, and writing the travelogues has what brought out her love for content writing.Harshita has experience in writing blogs and is passionate about presenting complex subjects in an easy-to-comprehend manner.In her spare time, she works on vegan activism, rescuing animals in need, and trying vegan delicacies.
FaceBook Pinterest Twitter Featured Image