During infancy, most healthy infants, triple their birth weight and grow by almost ten inches. For this remarkable increase in body weight, an infant should be fed nutritious food that is high in fat.
Feeding infants high calorie diet, can ensure their proper growth and development. Calorie dense foods enable infants to attain their developmental milestones without much difficulty. Infants fed on high fat foods are physically stronger and fall sick less frequently.
Infants are fed high calorie foods because calorie dense foods help infants absorb the different fat soluble vitamins like A,D, E and K- which are very vital for their growth and development- better. These fat soluble vitamins help in proper brain development. The fat soluble vitamins are also needed for the development of the vital organs.
High Fat Foods for Infants
Solid foods can be introduced to infants at around four months. Eating a diet that is high in fat can help infants become more alert and take better interest in their surroundings. When formulating a high fat diet plan for an infant, ensure that the diet comprises of foods which contain good fats.
Mono-Unsaturated fats are considered healthy fats as also omega 3 fatty acids, which helps in brain development. On the other hand, Trans fat and saturated fats are considered extremely unhealthy. If infants are continuously fed foods prepared in or containing unhealthy fats, it can result in obesity and lead to numerous health complications. So these type of fats are best avoided.
One of the most nutritious fatty foods which can be given to infants is breast milk. Besides this, there are a whole host of other fatty foods which can be given to infants, to aid in their proper growth and development. Through this article, we will familiarize ourselves, with some of the high fat foods which can be given to infants.
Infants should be given only breast milk from birth till the time they attain four months of age. Breast milk is not only calorie dense; it also contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals help in proper growth and development. Infants who are fed breast milk for the first six months of their life have higher natural immunity as well.
The two essential fatty acids which are present in breast milk are DHA and ARA. These fatty acids are essential for the proper development of the brain, eyes and heart. Infants should be fed breast milk every two to three hours. The main reason behind this is that infants have small stomachs which cannot digest huge amounts of food.
At around four months, an infant can be gradually introduced to formula milk. Women, who are unable to breastfeed, can also give their infants formula milk.
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Most formula milk brands contain high amounts of good fat. Avoid giving infants whole milk till they are at least a year old.
Some babies are born lactose intolerant. These infants should be fed special lactose free formula milk. Another dairy product which can be easily digested by most infants including those who are lactose intolerant is cheese. Cheese is a high calorie, calcium rich food. Calcium helps in bone development and is also good for the infants overall physical development.
Whole Milk Yogurt
Yoghurt is loaded with good fat. You can feed your infant either plain yogurt or even introduce him/her to fruit yogurt. Fruit yogurt combines the goodness of fruit with the richness of yogurt. Most infants enjoy the taste of fruit yogurt much more than plain yoghurt. You can also mix a small quantity of baby food with plain yoghurt to make it tastier. Always buy yoghurt prepared from full fat milk as this contains the maximum quantity of good fat.
Eggs are rich in proteins and fat. Infants should be fed one full boiled egg a day. Some infants don’t like the bland taste of eggs. To improve the taste, you can add a sprinkling of salt or add half teaspoon of butter. The eggs should be mashed well to prevent choking.
This fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals and monounsaturated fatty acids. Even a small avocado contains nearly thirty grams of fat and over three hundred calories. One of the first solid foods which can be introduced to infants is mashed avocado. This fruit contains plenty of good fat which aids in the physical and mental development of an infant. Avocadoes have high satiety value. This means that your infant will not feel hungry for at least one to two hours after eating a small piece of mashed avocado.
Only peeled and thoroughly mashed avocadoes should be given to the infant. Feeding your infant whole avocado pieces can result in choking.
At around eight months of age, an infant can be introduced to steamed and mashed salmon. Salmon contains DHA and omega 3 fatty acids. These good fats are extremely essential for proper brain development. One of the reasons why many parents choose salmon over other fish is because of its low mercury content. Some infants develop allergic reactions after eating fish. If your child develops allergic reaction after eating fish, then immediately stop giving your child fish.
Infants can be fed small quantities of strained meat. You can mix strained meat with stewed vegetables to improve their taste. Lean meats are preferred over red meat because they can be digested easily.
All vegetable oils are rich in unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are essential for the proper physical and mental development of an infant. Canola oil, flax oil, coconut oil and olive oil are few of the vegetable oils which can be given to infants.
Flax oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. You can add one teaspoon of flax oil or flax meal to your infant’s food. You can also give your infant extra virgin coconut or olive oil.
Infants fed on high fat foods show better physical and mental development than babies whose diet lacks high fat food items.