How to help your child gain weight


If your child needs to gain weight here are some ways to help add extra calories. Try to encourage smaller, more frequent meals with foods that have lots of nutrients.


  • Try whole milk, flavored milk, buttermilk, hot cocoa, or milkshakes with meals.
  • Use milk or “Half and Half” instead of water to make soups and hot cereals.
  • Make high calorie milk by mixing 2 TBSP of dry powdered milk into every cup of milk.
  • Have ice cream or regular yogurt for snacks and desserts. Top off waffles or pancakes with ice cream, whipped cream, or fruit toppings.
  • Add whipping cream to pies, fruit, pudding, fruit-flavored gelatin, hot cocoa, and other desserts.
  • Serve heavy cream with fruits (peaches n’ cream, strawberries n’ cream, etc.)
  • Add sour cream to potatoes, casseroles, dips, vegetables, fruit, beans, and soups.
  • Add cream cheese to spreads and cheesecake, or put it on crackers.
  • Mix cheese with almost everything.
    • Melt cheese in scrambled eggs or on fried eggs.
    • Melt cheese on hamburgers and add it to other meat sandwiches.
    • Melt cheese onto meatloaf, spaghetti, pizza, and casseroles.
    • Melt cheese onto baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and other vegetables.
    • Add cheese to salads, soups, and chili.
    • Melt cheese onto bread, biscuits, rolls and cornbread.
    • Serve cheese dip with chips or vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
  • For any recipe that calls for milk use a high calorie supplement, whipping cream (heavy cream or light cream), whole milk, or fortified milk
  • Fruit shakes and smoothies can be made with juice or a juice-based high calorie supplement in place of milk.


  • Put extra meat on sandwiches.
  • Have extra helpings of meat at meals. Eat the meat first and eat less of other food.
  • Add chopped, cooked meats to soups, salads, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and pasta dishes.
  • Add extra eggs to meat, casseroles, etc.
  • Serve peanuts as snacks (trail mix), in cereals or breads, and on desserts.

Peanut butter

  • Put extra peanut butter on sandwiches, bagels, and biscuits.
  • Spread onto cookies, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, granola bars, pretzels, and crackers.
  • Add peanut butter to pancakes, French toast, and waffles before pouring on the syrup.
  • Put peanut butter on fruits and vegetables (apples, bananas, pears, celery, carrots, etc.).
  • Make peanut butter milkshakes.


  • Use butter, margarine, or oil.
    • Add it to soups, vegetables, mashed potatoes, cooked cereal, pudding, rice, pasta, and casseroles.
    • Spread extra onto rolls, biscuits, cornbread, sandwiches, and toast.
  • Add salad dressings such as Ranch to vegetables, potatoes, and salads.
  • Add extra mayonnaise to sandwiches, tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad, and ham salad.
  • Add gravy to potatoes, vegetables, rice, pasta, and meats.
  • Add extra frosting to fruit, cookies, cakes, graham crackers, and other desserts.
  • Fry meats and vegetables instead of baking or roasting them.

Try the high-calorie recipes below as snacks or as part of a meal.

High calorie recipes

Super Shake

1 cup ice cream
I cup milk
I package instant breakfast mix or other high carlorie supplemen

Blend well


Strawberry Milkshake

1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 scoop ice cream
1/2 cup milk (or supplement)

Mix or blend until smooth. Serves one.

Try other fruits - pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, and peanut butter.


Super pudding

2 cups milk (or suppplement)
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 package (4 1/2 oz) instant pudding
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder

Stir milk and oil. Add pudding mix, and mix well. Pour into dishes of 1/2 cup servings.


Peanut Butter Logs

1 cup dry milk
1/2 pound peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cuop rice krispies
1 cup 100% bran flakes
1/2 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients well. Flatten mixture in a large pan. Chill overnight. Cut into 2" x 1" bars for serving.


Fortified Milk

1 quart milk 1% low fat
1 cup instant non-fat dry milk
1 tsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour liquid milk into deep bowl. Add dry milk and beat slowly with beater until dry milk is dissolved (usually less than 5 minutes). Refrigerate. The flavor improves after several hours. Makes 1 quart.



1/2 cup soft silken tofu (or soy milk)
3/4 cup milk
2 TBSP peanut butter
1 tsp. honey

Combine tofu and milk in blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.


Peanut Butter Snack Spread

1 TBSP instant dry milk
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp. water
3 heaping TBSP peanut butter

Combine dry milk, water and vanilla, stirring to moisten.
Add honey and peanut butter, stirring slowly until liquid begins to blend into peanut butter. Spread between graham crackers or saltine crackers. The spread can also be formed into balls, chilled and eaten as candy. Keeps well in refrigerator, but is difficult to spread when cold. Makes 1/3 cup.



1 cup orange sherbet
1 cup milk
1 package vanilla instant breakfast mix or other high calorie supplement

Blend together.


Fruit Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. vanilla flavored yogurt or pudding
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Blend until smooth. Serve with fruit.


Easy Fruit Dip

8 oz. container marshmallow cream
8 oz. cream cheese (any flavor)

Combine ingredients. Microwave 30-60 seconds to make it easier to combine. Serve with your favorite fruit.


Vegetable/Cracker Dip

1 large container sour cream
1 packet (dry) onion soup mix
1 packet (ranch-style dry salad dressing

Mix well and serve.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

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