Infants born with low birth weights (<2500 g, LBW), accounting for about 15 % of newborns, have a high risk for postnatal growth failure and developing the metabolic syndromes such as type 2 diabetes, CVD and obesity later in life. Improper nutrition provision during critical stages, such as undernutrition during the fetal period or overnutrition during the neonatal period, has been an important mediator of these metabolic diseases. Considering the specific physiological status of LBW infants, nutritional intervention and optimisation during early life merit further attention. In this review, the physiological and metabolic defects of LBW infants were summarised from a nutritional perspective. Available strategies for nutritional interventions and optimisation of LBW infants, including patterns of nutrition supply, macronutrient proportion, supplementation of amino acids and their derivatives, fatty acids, nucleotides, vitamins, minerals as well as hormone and microbiota manipulators, were reviewed with an aim to provide new insights into the advancements of formulas and human-milk fortifiers.