Parents of picky eaters and tube-fed kids often struggle to ensure their children are getting enough calories each day. While some favorite foods are high in calories, they may not be rich in nutrients – think ice cream, chips, and fried foods. To help children gain weight healthfully and with real food, check out some of our favorite nutritious high calorie boosters to help your child thrive!
Avocado is a great source of potassium, fiber, and folate and is packed with monounsaturated fats. Depending on its size, half of an avocado can pack in a whopping 150 calories. If your child is afraid of green food, try one of our favorite calorie-boosting recipes, avocado pudding!
Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Blend together and then chill for 30 minutes:
- 2 whole avocados peeled, pitted, and cubed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of ground cinnamon
2. Healthy Oils
Adding avocado, olive, and coconut oils to mealtime is a great way to boost calories. One tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories. Try double dressing your child’s pasta by first coating it with olive oil before adding their red sauce. Saute vegetables with olive oil instead of steaming them or add a tablespoon of oil to your child’s blend.
Dates are high in fiber and antioxidants, and an excellent natural sweetener. We love adding dates to smoothies and tube blends, not only for health purposes but also as a calorie booster. Pack an instant calorie punch by blending together ingredients from this awesome calorie-boosting smoothie using dates to sweeten.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Date Smoothie
- Date paste (cover 6 Medjool dates in 6 tbsp hot water, let sit for 10 minutes, then blend in a food processor)
- 1 ¼ cup frozen cubed avocado
- 4 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 2 cups of preferred milk (whole or 2% will offer the greatest amount of calories)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp dark cacao powder
Eggs are incredibly nutritious, containing vitamins A, B2, B5, and B12, as well as folate, phosphorus, and selenium. They can be presented in many different ways – scrambled, boiled, over-easy, and cooked in high-calorie oils or grass-fed butter. If eggs are not your picky eater’s cup of tea, you can use eggs to boost calories in other breakfast staples by adding an extra egg into pancakes, waffles, muffins, and other baked good recipes. One of our favorite recipes combines eggs and cream cheese (another excellent calorie booster.)
Scrambled Eggs with Cream Cheese
After coating the pan with melted butter, scramble together:
- 4 large eggs
- 2 ounces full fat cream cheese (divided into ½ inch cubed)
5. Nut Butters
Peanut, almond, and walnut are just a few of our favorite nut butters which are loaded with heart-healthy mono-saturated fats. Nut butters are high in protein, potassium, and magnesium. Not only is it great on sandwiches (don’t forget to use butter as a calorie-boosting base in addition to nut butters and jam), but they’re also great in smoothies and as a dipping sauce for fruits such as apples and bananas.
About the Author
Lisa, an occupational therapist, is NAPA’s Global Director of Rehabilitation and a 10-year NAPA veteran. When she’s not treating or mentoring, you can catch her exploring her new hometown Denver and hiking with her family.
I want to wrap up by extending my gratitude to thank you for stopping by today!
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