I admit that I have been guilty of focusing primarily on the ectomorph body type, also known as the “hardgainer” on this site, because they are the ones who knowingly want to gain more weight and feel better about themselves. However, teenagers and adults are not the only people who are struggling to gain weight. Weight gain is a problem which is common amongst babies and toddlers as well. This age group can have a tendency to be fussy eaters which can effect their development and growth rate, especially when they hit about 18 months to 2 years of age.
Whether you are 18 yrs old or a toddler who is only 2 years of age, the fundamentals of weight gain are no different. To gain weight faster you required to increase your total calorie intake. This can be accomplished by increasing the portion sizes of your normal foods, increasing your meal frequency, and by adding new foods to your regular diet.
When I was given the book, “The Man Who Ate Everything” by Jeffrey Steingarten one year for Christmas, one paragraph in this book stuck with me:
Exposure, plain and simple. Scientists tell us that aversions fade away when we eat moderate doses of the hated foods at moderate intervals, especially if the food is complex and new to us. (Don’t try this with allergies, but don’t cheat either: few of us have genuine food allergies.) Exposure works by overcoming our innate neophobia, the omnivore’s fear of new foods that balances the biological urge to explore for them. Did you know that babies who are breast-fed will later have less trouble with novel foods than those who are given formula? The variety of flavors that make their way into breast milk from the mother’s diet prepares the infant for the culinary surprises that lie ahead. Most parents give up trying novel foods on their weanlings after two or three attempts and then complain to the pediatrician; this may be the most common cause of fussy eaters and finicky adults–of omnivores manqués. Most babies will accept nearly anything after eight or ten tries.
So I decided to put this into practice. I’ve always had an aversion towards blue cheese and olives. Firefly, a tapas restaurant I frequent in town, serves a little plate of olives and bread to their guests upon arrival. Every time I visited, I’d pick up one olive and eat it. After multiple visits, I’m now a huge fan of olives.
I did the same with blue cheese and now I frequently add chunks of blue cheese to my salads to provide some protein and my goodness is it tasty!! It’s not just good with salads either! Sometimes I add blue cheese sauce on broiled chicken or steak or pork chops or in hamburgers. Also good on spinach, broccoli or cauliflower. And depending on the type of blue cheese its generally higher in fat than many other cheeses, so it’s an easy and tasty way to increase fats in your diet. I suggest you to learn why you need to eat fat to build muscle.
I know cottage cheese, a milder tasting cheese, is often a recommended bodybuilding food on a weight gain diet, but I was not very impressed when I tried it. If you can gain an appreciation for a more diverse range of foods then it will allow you to pick and choose the foods you enjoy eating. You don’t have this flexibility if you only like a limited number of foods.
I challenge you to try this too!! For parents who have a child with a poor appetite who is not gaining weight, its important to be introducing new foods like peanut butter, fish, and different fruits & veggies to your toddler and seeing what they like!! Sometimes its simply a case of finding out what they like or being persistent until they finally decide to like a new food.