Foods to increase calories
- Powdered milk. Add to soups, sauces or baked dishes.
- Milk, cream or half-and-half. Use in place of water in hot cereal, soup or mashed potatoes. Add to cream sauces with pasta or vegetables.
- Eggs or meat. Add to salads, vegetables, baked dishes or sandwiches.
- Cheese or whole milk yogurt. Melt on baked dishes or mix into omelets and sauces. Put yogurt on cereal, waffles or mix with fruit.
- Fruits and vegetables. Add fruit to yogurt or snacks. Serve vegetables with dip.
- Nut butter, beans or nuts (if your baby is not allergic). Add nuts or beans to soup or salad. Spread nut butter on crackers, sandwiches, fruit or vegetables.
- High-calorie toppings. This includes sour cream, butter, cream cheese, gravy or cream soups. Add to potatoes, hot cereals, rice, pasta or cooked vegetables.
Why does my baby/toddler need extra calories?
Eating extra calories helps with weight gain and proper growth and development. Some babies/toddlers are busy and do not take time to eat. Others are not hungry because of low appetite or if they are receiving certain medical treatments.
How can I help my baby/toddler eat extra calories?
Here are some tips on how to help your baby/toddler eat extra calories:
Create a positive environment
- Have meals around the same time and in the same place every day with family members.
- Focus on eating. Do not bring phones, iPads®, televisions or other distractions to the table.
- Keep mealtime relaxed and fun.
Encourage positive behavior
- Let your baby/toddler decide when they are hungry. Offer different types of foods. They can decide how much to eat. Try not to force your baby to eat.
- Praise good behaviors around eating.
- Set a good example for your baby/toddler. Try not to argue or punish. Children learn best from people around them. Model the behavior you want your baby/toddler to learn.
- If your baby/toddler does not want one type of food, offer a different choice.
Provide healthy choices
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. Do not offer foods or drinks with extra sugar or salt.
- Offer drinks in the middle or toward the end of meals. This can help prevent your baby/toddler from filling up on liquids. Do not give juice (even 100% fruit juice). Juice has extra calories and sugar your baby does not need.
A note about extra calories...
The care team has recommended that your baby/toddler needs extra calories for a specific reason. Eating too many calories regularly can lead to extra weight gain or obesity. Follow the care team’s recommendations for eating extra calories until it is no longer needed.