Adding calories to your child's diet
Many parents have strategies for cutting calories from their diets, but have no idea how to add calories to their kids' diets.
Why add calories when childhood obesity is such a national epidemic? To be sure, not all children need calorie-fortified diets. But, if your child is low on the growth curve, with an uneven height/weight ratio, your pediatrician may suggest you add fat to your kid's diet. Fat is crucial for brain development, and there are several healthful, easy ways to add fat and calories to your kid's food without resorting to junk or weighing down your own diet.
- Add a thin layer of butter to all sandwiches, including PB and J. Butter the bread lightly, then add your usual toppings and condiments. The butter is mild enough to add richness without much flavor.
- Add a tablespoon of cream to your child's milk, cereal, pasta dishes, soups, and anything else you can think of. Don't add much -- the cream's richness can become cloying, even for kids.
- Add a dollop of butter or a little olive oil to steamed vegies, rice, cooked pasta, potatoes, stir fry, and other mixed dishes your child enjoys.
- If you serve only whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas, consider the "white" alternatives occasionally. The extra fiber in whole-grain products, while super-healthy, can fill kids up quickly, zapping their calorie intake. (This, by the way, is a good reason for most adults to eat mostly whole grains.)
- Nut butters are your friends. In sandwiches, desserts, sauces, and even some soups and stews, peanut, almond, cashew, sesame seed, and even soy nut butters do wonders.
- Avocados, any which way.
- Fruit smoothies, with a bit of cream, bananas, and other fruits, do well.
- Fry Cheerios in butter, let dry on a cookie sheet, then serve for breakfast and snacks. Delicious when mixed with raisins.
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