Picky and skinny toddler: Recipes or high calorie foods for toddlers?

Mary - posted on 08/28/2009 ( 31 moms have responded )

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I have a 15 month old daughter that doesn't weigh much - only the 2nd percentile for her weight and age group. Her doctor is a bit concerned and wants me to supplement her diet with PediaSure (kids nutrition drink). Of course, she won't touch the stuff even after trying several flavors.



She has times when she'll chow down and other times when she seems to live on air! I'm sure most parents of toddlers know what I'm talking about! I'm trying not to be too worried - I believe some kids are meant to be skinny because of metabolism and genetics!



Still, I feel somewhat pressured to encourage her put on a bit more weight. My daughter is VERY active and never sits still, even by 15 month old standards. Its hard to get her to sit for more than about a minute to eat. Rather than trying to get her to eat meals (since it doesn't work), I offer food throughout the day.



Does anyone have ideas for foods for a picky toddler? Ways to bulk up on calories without giving junk food? Any ideas on high calorie foods for toddlers? Her favorite foods are oatmeal, yogurt, rice, beans, corn, prunes, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, bread, fruit. She'll let an occasional vegetable cross her lips. She drinks 2-3 cups daily of whole milk.

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Rita - posted on 03/19/2012

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my daughter is 3 years old and 22.5 lb (no clothes on) I have tried EVERYTHING Ive been told. she goes to weight check ups on a regular basis and she gains weight very slowly maybe 1 lb every three months. they have done all types of blood work, they have poked and probed her everywhere, and everything comes out normal. she is very very active and dosnt like to stay still. she does have some reflux but she is on meds for that. she seems to be eating fine, she just dosnt gain the weight. its very frustrating for me and I just dont know what to do, I feel preasured and I worry also. Ive read all the recomendations and ive heard of all before execpt for the carbohydrate powder. does any one now where i can get this and how its used?

Leah - posted on 05/16/2013

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I need some easy meal and snack recepies that have high caloric intake for my 6 yr old. She is tall but only weighs 32.2 lbs. Do anyone know of some websites that I might find these recepies. Thanks so much - Leah

Damalia - posted on 02/09/2013

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I'm glad to know I'm not alone. My 4 year old is 25lbs and only grew 1.5 inches for the year. She has been tested for everything under the sun including growth hormones. All test came back negative but her Dr's are still worried. My baby is a very picky eater and not im at the point where I'm forcing her to eat. In my opinion it's genetics! I'm not 5 ft but her dad is 6.2; she takes after me. I find myself on the Internet daily trying to prepare high calorie meals

Lori - posted on 05/01/2012

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I was just told my daughter needs to be on a high calorie diet. She is not even on the growth chart, she is so small. She is just over 22 months old and has now hit 17 pounds! She has a hole in her heart that is contributing to the lack of weight gain. All the new higher cal foods I try she does not like. I wondering if my best bet is to just find things to add to the foods she does like. Any suggestions?

Claudia - posted on 06/08/2012

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My daughter is the same way. Have you triied adding the Carnation instant breakfast to her milk it will add a few extra calaries. Scrambled eggs with cheese, Nutella on toast, I found some YoBaby yogurt (i beleive it was made with whole milk). I hope some of these suggestions help you.

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Bianca - posted on 03/28/2014

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My little boy is 7 months and is struggling to put weight on despite have 4 bottles and 3 meals a day he is allergic to milk protien milk sugars and soya and have been to to give him high calorie and high protien meals has anyone got any ideas as to what I can do xx

Maggie - posted on 09/10/2013

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I know your post is old I'm just now reading it. If youre still having trouble with your child one thing you can do is (I know it sounds a little bit weird) but add olive oil to her foods. My daughter had the same problem she is still small for her age and height but when she was a baby a didn't really know much about taste I would add olive oil to her baby food and it worked! She would gain weight, but now that she knows more less what she likes and don't like its hard to feed her high caloried food , shes a real picky eater and its hard to make her eat food to make her gain weight. Good luck to you.

[deleted account]

Well Mary you don't need to worry much about your daughter as she will develop the habit of eating sooner or later.Toddlers are always fussy about eating and unless she is dull you shouldn’t bother too much.Your stress may even affect her and she will hate eating even more.Relax and offer her whatever she wants to eat happily,at the same time, experiment and encourage her to eat different things.She will start eating properly when she will be a little older, probably.I think you should try attractive foods instead of weight-gaining ones.If she eats properly, she will gain weight.Here are some interesting recipes I have found for you-
http://mybirthdaysupply.wordpress.com/20...
http://mybirthdaysupplies.blogspot.in/20...

Jessica - posted on 05/14/2013

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I had a hugely picky son for a while- he's getting better and I posted about our challenge with picky eating on this link: http://feedmedearly.com/2013/04/15/remed...

What helped is what we call "mystery food" (called "the challenge" on my blog) where we've learned to explore a ton of new fruits and vegetables using our five senses. I know you asked about high calorie foods, and while we attacked it from that front, I found that just getting him used to eating a bigger range of foods was tremendously helpful- it wasn't about just fruits and vegetables, but overcoming the hurdle of trying anything new.

Good luck!

Sara - posted on 04/12/2013

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I know this is old but I too have a tot with allergies. But I just found soy nut butter! Its just like peanut butter! IM healthy is the brand and its made in a dedicated peanut free facility. Also tufutti cream cheese is vegan and daiya cheese too. EnerG is also a good brand for breads and crackers!

Mags - posted on 03/31/2013

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my son is the same, he had severe reflux until his Nissens op last September. It is still a struggle to get him to eat and his weight is still sub optimal for his age. He is on fortini unflavoured and has one bottle at night before bed and the other prescribed bottle i use in cooking his food, i make his porridge in the morning with it, i use it to make scrambled eggs and often make custard for his dessert. i use double cream and full fat cream cheese. His favourite meal is smoked salmon and scramled eggs or cheese and bread. Hope this helps,

Renee - posted on 03/10/2013

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I'd love some idea's too, she son is almost 15 months and sounds exaxtly the same as your daughter... He had bloods done today :(

Sara - posted on 02/20/2013

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I would recommend full fat milks, but I could be wrong. If I were in your place, I would ask my questions here: http://bit.ly/135rGq8 It's a great blog from the Women's Home Journal that introduces an awesome tool. You can basically ask questions for free to doctors and they can give you some advice on feeding your toddler. Good luck!

[deleted account]

Certainly found that getting the children involved in helping to make the food helps and also calling it fun names. It makes it less boring. Making sure that there is a routine for the meal times helps and also setting expectations for how much I expect them to eat (set a minimum rather than a maximum, unless it's needed).



Had one of my friend's two dds at mine when we were eating tea. Younger daughter turned round and said that she wasn't going to eat it. I'd made rice and chicken curry. Put some rice on her plate and said that she needed to have a piece of chicken on her plate to a) balance the plate and b) it was to 'decorate' the plate. The girl then went on about not eating the chicken, said I hadn't asked to eat it as I said it was to balance/decorate the plate. She then ate the piece of chicken and came back for some more, but didn't want the sauce. Said OK, and she came back for thirds when her Mum arrived at mine. I've said the same thing a few times to my friend's daughter a few times and she's ate the food and come back for more. When I was talking to my friend we were both smiling that her daughter had eaten the chicken, as the daughter can be a fussy eater. The daughter has eaten a few things at mine that she won't eat for her Mum. The other thing that I keep telling my friend's daughter is - 'don't knock it until you've tried it', also 'you may just like it if you try it', 'just have a small portion and if you like it you can have some more, if not then you can say that you've tried it'. The older sister, one meal that they hadn't tried before, I gave her a small portion, though had given my girls a bigger portion. She asked why, said that I would give her some more, but wanted to make sure that she liked it before so that if she didn't only a bit was wasted. She came back and had seconds.

Christine - posted on 09/02/2012

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My son has major milk issues and is allergic to peanut butter. Duocal gives him major gas. Avocado is definitely not a like of his. We have had a nissen. Weight gain in non existent. We fight daily to keep weight on as he was diagnosed as hyperactive. I totally empathize. we are looking for ways to supplement and is not easy with his limitations. Will keep watching these posts.

Sara - posted on 05/21/2012

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How about avocados? They are nutrient rich and calorie dense, plus have great fats!!
I've heard/read that kids around 1yr start not wanting to eat.. My son is showing signs of this too, but he thankfully will eat anything, just not for too long a period. I sometimes have to just feed him bites of things while he plays! I guess it's best not to force them, right? As if we could!!! Lol!
I guess I'd stay away from sugar, even bananas and super sweet fruits.. They may just amplify her energy level!! Maybe you could give her garbanzo beans, or hard boiled eggs? My son loves chunks of sweet potatoes too.
Good luck!!!

Monica - posted on 05/05/2012

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my 3 almost four year old is in the 1% for hieght and weight, 26.8 lbs, he was just put on a high calore/protien diet, ive started carnation, protien bars, whole milk, no juice, he has been tested for humone growth hormone and everything under the sun, they havent found anything with him either, but thank you for some tips, we just stared doing this!

[deleted account]

My eldest is my fussy eater for the last few years. Should add that she's quite a bit older. Some of the things that I've done/tried with my three daughters are some of the following:

Buy full fat versions of everything (milk, ice cream, margarine etc). I don't buy any reduced fat/sugar or diet versions of stuff.

Little things like sitting down and eating together at the table helps. Found that when my girls watch TV they tend to eat less than when sitting at the table (also means that I can watch them more).

All three of my girls like helping me to make the food we eat, so do a range of things from chocolate brownies, biscuits/cookies, main meals. It's helped to gain interest in the food.

Best piece of advice I was given - don't make meal times a battle field. When we have something to eat that isn't a favourite of one or more of my girls, I ask them to make best efforts. They all now make an attempt then ask how many more mouthfuls they have to eat before they can have pudding.

Can make fun names for the food - spaghetti pasta is sometimes called 'worms' by my girls. Green sauces (e.g. green pesto) is slime, red sauces (e.g. tomato puree) is blood.

I will praise my girls when they've eaten well, especially if it's not something they're a big fan of. My girls can be fussy about which vegetables they like/hate or other items on their plate. When they say something along the lines of 'I don't like z, I'm not going to eat that', but I know they like y and x, I say something along the lines of 'z is only on the plate for decorational purposes and also to help balance the plate to and from the table'.

I don't overly restrict their diets - we have chocolate, sweets and ice cream in the house. I am quite happy for my girls to have what they want, but in moderation. Also sometimes making the food/drink as fun, can help. Haven't done this in a while, but had a chocolate fondue - had a selection of fruit and other items to dunk into the chocolate. All three girls had more fruit than I expected them to.

Amanda George - posted on 03/26/2012

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I'm going through the same thing. My son is 2 and less than 5% in weight. At 1 the dr had us add whole egg powder 1 tsp 3 times a day to his food. He is very picky. And worse now. That wasn't helping so added pediasure along w it but that caused diarrhea and severe diaper rashes.so we stopped that and now doing carnation breakfast essentials . Still not gaining weight. He is on the go constantly during the day. Now we had to go to GI Dr. he had a nutritionist call me and she told me to basically do what I'm doing. Well that hasn't worked this whole year so now what! His diet has now gotten to where he basically only eats pretzels, peanut butter crackers, any kind of fruit, yogurt sometimes, chicknuggets, and that's pretty much it. Its soo frustrating. He is now failure to thrive. My older 2 kids never had a prob. Love raw veggies, all the good stuff, but this is nothing I have ever been around. Have to start 2 wk weight checks. Must have no clue and nutritionist was a joke. Didn't give me any suggestions of anything I wasn't already doing! Ahhhh

Mary - posted on 03/19/2012

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Rita, We used Duocal unflavored powder in my daughter's foods.Her doctor prescribed it. It mixes in with soft foods like yogurt,applesauce,etc to give more calories. I don't think she could tell it was there. My older daughter whom i wrote the original post about is almost 4. She has finally caught up in weight to her peers. She 's still a bit picky and won't always sit still to eat! My younger daughter is now a toddler and we're going through the low weight problem with her. She seems healthy just petite. I'm not worried about it this time around.

Liz - posted on 01/23/2012

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My son's doctor wanted him to take pediasure but the artificial stuff we opted for organic pediasmart from our local health food store. We use vanilla and mix it ahead, then serve it cold and he loves it. We were also given a smoothie recipe of 4 oz almond milk, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp coconut ice cream and half of a large banana. We were also told to add avacado, olive oil, and eggs. In his oatmeal we put peanut butter and ground nuts (flax seed, sunflower seed and walnuts).

Stephanie - posted on 12/06/2011

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My daughter is failure to thrive since she was one month old and today she is 3 year old and still failure to thrive. Add carnation instant breakfast. That make it high calories. Also add butter to her vegetables. Also cottege cheese and cheese are high calories food. I add shredded cheese to my daughter scrambled eggs, Pasta is high calories has well.

Mary - posted on 09/21/2011

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I posted this 2 years ago now! My daughter is 3 and a few months. She's still picky and on the lean end, but has a better appetite. I think the key to her gaining weight has been getting her to sit still long enough to eat! My daughter's doctor ended up prescribing a calorie supplement, a carbohydrate powder that we added to some of her foods, like oatmeal or yogurt. I think it helped a little. She's gained some weight and is filling out a little. Now I know that skinny kids can be totally healthy and toddlers' priorities are playing, rather than eating.

Chrissy - posted on 09/21/2011

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I have twin girls that are the same way. Their doctor put them Pedisure (they love the stuff). Not much of milk drinkers but will drink some from time to time. We go through WIC and they have given me some ideas to boost calories. Try putting butter and/or peanut butter on her bread. When u make eggs,put some cheese on them. When we have tacos, we mix guacamole and sour cream. Guacamole is a healthy fat. I would call a WIC office and talk to someone that can also give u more high calorie ideas.

Karen - posted on 11/03/2009

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I have a friend whose daughter has to be on a high calorie/high protein diet for health reasons. Some high calorie food for toddlers that have worked for them are -- peanut butter crackers, bagels with cream cheese, graham crackers with cream cheese, graham crackers with peanut butter, any raw veggie dipped in peanut butter or veggie dip, apple slices with peanut butter or topped with cheese, graham crackers dipped in yogurt, granola mixed with yogurt, pretzels dipped in yogurt or peanut butter, pita chips with hummus, any raw veggies dipped in hummus. And here's a little treat I stumbled on and have to limit myself to (!!) -- peel and slice a few bananas and freeze the slices. Put the slices in the food processor and process until completely smooth. Add a few tablespoons each of peanut butter (or other nut butter) and honey. Process until smooth. I swear it tastes just like a very rich sort of ice cream. Loooove it! And it has no added sugar or artificial ingredients! But on a side note - both my daughter and my niece have been on the lower end of the growth charts - as long as they're healthy otherwise, we can't dwell on that one problem. They'll either outgrow it or that's just how they're made and they might always be thin! (what a problem to have!)

Courtney - posted on 09/06/2009

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My son is 4.5 and was always in the 10 or less percentile (and still is) the doc told me the same thing. For me, I knew what he is/was eating, that it's healthy and that he simply has a high metabolism, he is also a slow eater. I know it's doctor's job to look into these things but let your mommy instincts lead you. If you feel she is getting enough and is very active with a high metabolism I wouldn't try to push too much on her. The food that she likes sounds great and should supply her with what she needs. Definitely a tough decision... all the other ladies ahd great ideas for high protein too.

Wendy - posted on 09/02/2009

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We add yogurt to whole milk (we call them smoothies!) for an extra punch of protein and that also creates high calorie foods for toddlers. I've mixed yogurt into oatmeal. My son also likes Kashi soft baked cereal bars & he likes bagel's (you could put cream cheese on them). It sounds like her favorite foods are healthy so you've got a big bonus there! Good for you! I'm wondering about smoothies for her and then she can get extra calories from drinking ... she won't have to slow down to eat! :) You could blend yogurt, fruit and either whole milk (or water). I bet if you googled smoothie recipes there are websites that might offer a wide variety. Good Luck!

Melissa - posted on 08/31/2009

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High calorie foods for toddlers would be mostly healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, oils, avocados.

Cathralynn - posted on 08/31/2009

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Creating high calorie foods for toddlers can be achieved easily by adding cheese and milk to everything. Look into spreads, cream cheese, hummus etc. Healthy oils you can add to things. Avacado I know is a good thing. Ummm lets see, I haven't tried it yet but peanut butter is a good source of calories, maybe other nut butters? I prolly wouldn't limit milk and let her drink as much as she wants, other milks? Almond milk etc. Buy full fat versions of cottage cheese and yogurts etc. They make full fat yogurt drinks for babies. No sugar added ice cream? Verging on bad foods so guess that's it!

Karen - posted on 11/03/2009

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I have a friend whose daughter has to be on a high calorie/high protein diet for health reasons. Some high calorie food for toddlers that have worked for them are -- peanut butter crackers, bagels with cream cheese, graham crackers with cream cheese, graham crackers with peanut butter, any raw veggie dipped in peanut butter or veggie dip, apple slices with peanut butter or topped with cheese, graham crackers dipped in yogurt, granola mixed with yogurt, pretzels dipped in yogurt or peanut butter, pita chips with hummus, any raw veggies dipped in hummus. And here's a little treat I stumbled on and have to limit myself to (!!) -- peel and slice a few bananas and freeze the slices. Put the slices in the food processor and process until completely smooth. Add a few tablespoons each of peanut butter (or other nut butter) and honey. Process until smooth. I swear it tastes just like a very rich sort of ice cream. Loooove it! And it has no added sugar or artificial ingredients! But on a side note - both my daughter and my niece have been on the lower end of the growth charts - as long as they're healthy otherwise, we can't dwell on that one problem. They'll either outgrow it or that's just how they're made and they might always be thin! (what a problem to have!)

Wendy - posted on 09/02/2009

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We add yogurt to whole milk (we call them smoothies!) for an extra punch of protein and that also creates high calorie foods for toddlers. I've mixed yogurt into oatmeal. My son also likes Kashi soft baked cereal bars & he likes bagel's (you could put cream cheese on them). It sounds like her favorite foods are healthy so you've got a big bonus there! Good for you! I'm wondering about smoothies for her and then she can get extra calories from drinking ... she won't have to slow down to eat! :) You could blend yogurt, fruit and either whole milk (or water). I bet if you googled smoothie recipes there are websites that might offer a wide variety. Good Luck!

Melissa - posted on 08/31/2009

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High calorie foods for toddlers would be mostly healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, oils, avocados.

Cathralynn - posted on 08/31/2009

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Creating high calorie foods for toddlers can be achieved easily by adding cheese and milk to everything. Look into spreads, cream cheese, hummus etc. Healthy oils you can add to things. Avacado I know is a good thing. Ummm lets see, I haven't tried it yet but peanut butter is a good source of calories, maybe other nut butters? I prolly wouldn't limit milk and let her drink as much as she wants, other milks? Almond milk etc. Buy full fat versions of cottage cheese and yogurts etc. They make full fat yogurt drinks for babies. No sugar added ice cream? Verging on bad foods so guess that's it!

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