Healthy Fats for 16 month old: HELP!
After yet another trip to the dr and more tests done, my son is still not gaining weight and yet he loves to eat. He is actually losing weight. His pediatrician is really supportive of a vegan diet. She understands why I eat that way and that I put a lot of thought into my son's nutrition and feel very passionately about it. He is allergic to dairy and eggs so it's not like he can eat it anyway. She thinks that while what we eat is incredibly healthy, there may not be enough fats. She referred me to the nutritionist of which I am all for. As long as she doesn't tell me to start feeding him meat, we'll be ok. And knowledge is power. I'm willing to do what it takes to ensure my son is healthy.
I know peanut butter is a superb choice but daycare has a rule against it (and they are government funded so the rules must be obeyed) due to allergy issues with other kids. I just learned that children under 2 aren't supposed to have it either.
What are some healthy fats I can feed my son? What about other nut butters? Are those as healthy? What do you do to ensure healthy fats for your kids but that your fat intake is kept low?
I'm currently on a weight loss journey and have lost 65 pounds (down from 260!) and have another 50 (at least) to go.
Other nut/seed butters are great! Peanut butter should still be fine since your son is obviously not allergic to it, but at daycare you could give him other nut/seed butters. I give my son (17 months) sunflower seed butter most of the time, although he has peanut butter occasionally. Also tahini (sesame seed paste) would be good. I like it mixed with a little molasses and spread on toast, or in savory things like hummus.
You can add a little oil (any healthy oil, like rice bran, olive, sunflower, etc) to just about anything without it affecting the taste too much. That way you can cook whatever you normally cook for yourself and just add a little extra fat to his portion.
Add some fatty condiments (vegan margarine, mayo, sour cream, etc) to sandwiches, on top of a baked potato, or whatever.
Fry his vegetables instead of boiling or steaming them.
pg has some WONDERFUL suggestions!
I'd also use coconut milk in cooking, Coconut Black Beans is a WONDERFUL, kid friendly dish, I like to add a little acid via citrus to make it dance on the tongue, I'd suggest orange for the kiddo!
I know, especially, for allergic kiddos, they're sometimes recommending to wait 'til 2, or longer, before introducing nuts. (One of the current theories as to the cause of early childhood nut allergies is they were introduced into the child's diet too early.)
I'm also curious if it is too early to test for celiac disease, or gluten intolerance? I know that those are some of the symptoms, often celiac people will start loading on the carbs, wanting to gain weight, via pasta, and just start losing even faster. A way to do it yourself is to take him off gluten for a bit, and see how he does. If you do the tests though, he has to have had gluten in his system for at least two weeks for the antibodies to show up.
Yes, coconut milk is a good idea too. :) My son likes African Beans: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=27319.0 I leave out the chili, double the other spices, and add a few cloves of garlic. We usually serve it over cous cous, but if you're concerned about your son being celiac then use rice instead.
My daughter is 18-months old and she wasn't gaining weight well for a while either. She's doing great now, but it seemed like no matter what we fed her she just stayed the same weight. We did the suggestions above (using oils, dressing, mayo etc) and also started giving her almond and peanut butter at home. She also LOVES hummus, just by itself on a spoon (crazy girl hehe). Olives are also a great source of healthy fats if he'll eat them, my daughter will just chow them down by the handful! Even bread is a good source of extra calories. Before you know it he'll be gaining like crazy :)
I throw flax oil into almost anything possible (oatmeal, juice, smoothies). Smoothies are also great...mix in some ground nuts and flax or hemp. My boys love them!
The coconut milk and flax oil are good ideas! Kealia practically lived on avocados, she loved them!
How is he doing with weight gain now? I just wanted to chime in with my own experience. My son has medical issues that cause him to be underweight and then he has a vegan diet which tends to make people lean unless you really pump up the fats. I use canned coconut milk to add to yogurts and blend coconut oil into soups. Coconut fat is a medium-chain triglyceride that doesn't need to be broken down byt he body and can be absorbed right in the intestines so pretty much ALL of it gets absorbed. What makes it so great for putting healthy weight on a baby makes it also put weight on us, unfortunately for some of us! I have read the recommendation is that roughly HALF their calories should be coming form fat at this age. I have to calculate my son's food out so I can tell you, after a lot of research, that good foods for putting on weight are the organic canned coconut milk and coconut oil, avocado, nut butters of all kinds, combos of fat with carbs (the body runs on the sugar so it doesn't have to use the fat and can store it), and just adding a tablespoon of healthy oils where you can to equal about 30 grams of fat. If you add it up throughout the day you'll see that it can be tough to get to that amount sometimes. I hope your little one is doing well! I'm curious as to how much he weighs that has the doctor concerned...
what are other things he eats? fat doesn't necessarily=weight gain. make sure he is getting in lots of calories. It's easy to want to focus on veggies for good nutrition, but we need to remember how calorie low they are for kids little stomachs. Make sure he has access to lots of fruits so he gets lots of fresh nutrition and calories.
for fats I'd use avocado and nuts because they are easy to incorporate into snacks or on meals without adding it to your own since you do not want to extra fat.
if he likes smoothies perhaps you could give him banana/date smoothies and even add in some spinach for veggies. lots of calories (and nutrition) in a small package.
18 months and 22 pounds does not seem abnormal to me.
My son is 3 and weighs 25 at the most.
I weighed 29 when I registered for kindergarten.
As babies grow, they get taller but not necessarily thicker, so they either don't gain (even though they are growing normally) and they can even shed off some baby fat because now they are moving around so much.
I'm not a doctor of course...just speaking from experience!