Maximizing Calories per Bite

The best way to facilitate growth (including weight, height, and brain development) is to add tasty calories to foods that children want to eat. Every bite counts for slow eaters and those with poor appetites, so extra calories without extra bulk is the goal here.

Protein is needed for growth and helps maintain the health of muscle, bone, cartilage, teeth, and every system of the body.

  • Add instant breakfast mix to whole milk.

  • Add a spoonful of nut or seed butter* to oatmeal.

  • Add 1/4 cup of powdered milk to 1 cup of milk or milkshake.

  • Top crackers with nut butters*, cream cheese, hummus, cheese spread, egg salad, or meat spread.

  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese in soups, on vegetables, meat, or pasta.

  • Blend cottage cheese or tofu with seasoning to make a dip. Use the dip to flavor other favorite foods like pasta, cereal or bread.

  • Puree legumes and add to sauces and soups.

  • Grind up almonds* or sunflower seeds and add to cereal or blend into smoothies.

  • Add yogurt to a fruit shake.

*nuts should not be introduced until after 12 mos of age

Fat is crucial for growth and brain development. It aids in the digestion of fat-soluble vitamins, and adds flavor and a pleasing texture to foods.

  • Fold butter, trans-fat free margarine, or oil into pasta, meat, vegetables, hot cereal, breads, and rice.

  • Add avocados to sandwiches or mash them up for a dip. Puree into yogurt or smoothies. Try guacamole with chips.

  • Stir in some hemp or flax seed oil to sauces, soups, or a fruit shake.

  • Use a high calorie salad dressing like creamy ranch or Caesar, or nut butter* with jam or honey** as a dip for vegetables, pretzels, and crackers.

  • Whisk salad dressing, whipping cream, or cream cheese into scrambled eggs before cooking.

  • Add a tablespoon of cream or coconut milk to 1 cup of milk or milkshake.

  • Buy whole fat dairy, such as yogurt, cream or cottage cheese.

  • Use whole milk instead of water when preparing hot cereals or soups.

  • Serve fruit with cream or ice cream.

  • Soft-boil eggs, blending the slightly runny yolks into soups and mashed veggies.

  • Cod liver oil comes in many flavors and can be hidden in yogurt and smoothies.

  • Add coconut milk, cream, or sour cream to mashed veggies, smoothies and soups.

  • Integrate ground nuts*, seeds, nut butter*, coconut oil, shredded coconut, and ground flax into cookies and bars.

  • Replace low-fat snacks with higher fat choices. Cheese puffs dissolve easily for young kids or those with delayed motor skills.

  • Try pureeing ground flax seeds or coconut into homemade fruit leather or popsicles.

*Nuts should not be introduced until after 12 months of age
**Honey should not be introduced until after 12 months of age

If you feel you need more support around your child’s diet, don’t hesitate to work with your pediatrician, dietitian, speech-language pathologist and/or occupational therapist to set up an optimal meal plan and feeding strategy.

SPOON Foundation

135 SE Main St, Suite 201, Portland, OR 97214

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