Calorie boosters are foods, usually powders or liquids, that can be added to other foods to increase the caloric intake per ounce. Many of the items listed below are available over the counter or as a prescription, while others are regular foods, such as baby rice cereal or powdered skim milk. For many children who are picky eaters, calorie boosters should be approached with cautious enthusiasm.
Calorie supplements are a great way to increase the calories while keeping the volume of food the same. Some of the foods listed below will change the consistency, color or flavor of foods. If your child is particularly selective and will only eat strawberry trix yogurt, for example, the first time you try a calorie booster you do not want to add a calorie booster such as rice cereal because it will thicken the food and may betray your child’s trust, now making strawberry trix yogurt a food he refuses to eat.
Soy Pro, Promod and Beneprotein are all available over the counter and do not change the flavor or consistency of a food. They are all powders that can be added to yogurt, pudding, pureed food and soups. A doctor or dietitian should be consulted before adding protein powder to foods, since excessive protein intake can lead to health problems.
The carbohydrate boosters can be tricky. Moducal and Polycose are available by prescription. Moducal does not have a flavor, but polycose can taste slightly sweet. Dry infant rice cereal and cornstarch can be used as thickeners, so be careful if you have a child who will only accept thin purees or smooth foods. Corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose and honey are all sweet since they are all forms of sugar. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry syrup can be added to milk to increase calories, and maple syrup can be added in pancake and waffle batter and put in hot cereal. The point? Get creative! See what your child will accept, but do it carefully and slowly, increasing the amount gradually so she has time to get used to it.
The fat category has the most calorie boosters. Of these, Microlipid, Duocal and Benecalorie are supplements. Duocal is a combination of fat and carbohydrate that comes in a powder and does not change the flavor or consistency of foods. Benecalorie has protein and fat and has 330 calories in just 1.5 ounces. The opportunities to add fat to foods are endless, and fat usually makes food tastier. Butter and oil can be added to just about anything, and when cooking for your underweight child you can use extra fat as well. Many parents are concerned about saturated and trans-fats, so resist using butter and margarine. Although this concern is understandable, if you have an underweight child who will not gain weight but loves grilled cheese with a lot of butter, you can certainly give him grilled cheese a few times a week. Olive oil is the ideal unsaturated fat, as is avocado. Just be careful when adding oil, since of course too much oil makes the food greasy and unpalatable.
For more ideas on high calorie foods and menu options, read our ebook.
Do you have a great calorie booster you use with your child? Help other parents by sharing it here! Please say what you use and how you use it (eg, maple syrup in oatmeal, gravy in pureed chicken, etc).
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