Weight Gain

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Snack Ideas  
Food Groups
Meal Additions
Weight Gain Recipes

If your child is having trouble gaining weight, here are some ways to get extra calories into their diet.

Snack Ideas

  • Canned Fruits
  • Cheesecake
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Creamed Soup
  • Custards
    • Ice Cream
    • Pudding
    • Refried Beans
    • Yogurt

    Food Groups

    Milk & Milk Products

    • Add powdered skim milk to regular whole milk (1 quart milk with 1 cup powdered milk) or substitute sweetened condensed milk for milk or water in cooking whenever possible (in condensed soups, hot cocoa, or pudding mix)
    • Serve pudding, cocoa, milk shakes, cream soup, custard, ice cream or eggnog as a snack
    • Add powdered milk to yogurt, casseroles, bread, muffins, sauces, or gravies
    • Add cheese to sandwiches, meats, potato, salads, vegetables, rice, pasta and cream sauces
    • Top crackers, vegetables, or pasta with cream cheese or cottage cheese
    • Mix plain or flavored yogurt with ice cream, shakes, or granola, or serve with whole grain cookies, cereal, or waffles
    • Blend Carnation Instant Breakfast with whole milk, or add fruit to make milk shakes

    Meats & Other Proteins

    • Add small pieces of cooked meat, fish, poultry or eggs to salads, casseroles, soup, vegetables, omelets, or noodles
    • Add eggs to French toast or pancake batter, custards, pudding, deviled sandwich spreads, cheesecake, hamburger patties, meatloaf, or casseroles
    • Spread peanut butter on breads, fruit or, vegetables, or blend in smoothies
    • Sprinkle crushed nuts onto desserts, salads, yogurt, vegetables or fruits**
    • Use textured vegetable protein or legumes in casseroles, soups, cheese, or milk dishes
    • Offer simple fried foods such as chicken or fish
    • Serve meat with extra gravy or sauce

    Fruits & Vegetables

    • Add mashed fruits to milk, yogurt, shakes, ice cream, and pudding
    • Make jello using juice instead of water
    • Add less water when making juice from frozen concentrate
    • Add honey or syrup to fruit in juice or vegetables
    • Add dried fruits** to muffins, cookies, cereal, and cake batter, or serve with nuts** as a snack
    • Serve vegetables raw with a dip or cooked cream style
    • Add small amounts of butter, vegetable oil, or sour cream, or cheese to vegetables


    • Make hot cereals with milk or juice instead of water
    • Use high protein noodles and grains in casseroles and soups
    • Serve granola over ice cream, frozen yogurt, or fruit, or mix it with nuts** or dried fruit**
    • Offer whole grain desserts such as oatmeal, raisin bran** or peanut butter cookies
    • Top muffins, toast, crackers, pancakes with margarine, cream cheese, syrup, jam, peanut butter, cheese or honey

    Meal Additions

    Butter, Margarine, Vegetable Oil
    Add  to soups, cooked vegetables, hot cereals, beans, rice, noodles, potatoes, casseroles, stir into sauces and gravies

    Carnation Instant Breakfast
    (a food supplement)
    Add a package to a cup of regular milk or add to riped fruit, ice cream, and milk to make milkshakes.

    Give as snacks or in a sandwich. Add to casseroles, potatoes, breads, beans, rice, noodles, and meatloaf. Melt on hamburger, fish or other meats, tortillas, eggs, cooked vegetables.

    Dried fruits*Serve as snacks or mix chopped
    Dried fruits in cereal or cake batter. Do not forget  to brush your child’s teeth afterwards.

    Mix into casseroles, hamburger patties,
    Meatloaf before baking.

    Ice Cream
    Serve as snacks or use in 

    Milk, Regular
    Substitute for water in soups,
    Hot cocoa, pudding mixes

    Milk, Powdered Lowfat/Skim
    Add 2-4 tablespoons to 1 cup regular milk.  Mix into casseroles, meatloaf, sauces, cream, soups, breads, muffins, hot cereals, and puddings.

    Add crushed nuts to ice cream, yogurt, cereal, cake batter, canned fruits, casseroles, and entree.

    Peanut Butter
    Serve plain or on toast, fruits or vegetables.
    Add 1-2 tablespoons in milkshakes (for age 1 year and older children).

    Wheat Germ
    Add 1-2 tablespoons to cereal
    Mix into cookie batter, casseroles,
    Meatloaf, puddings, shakes

    Add plain or flavored yogurt to ice cream
    mix with wheatgerm, fruit, use to top cereal, pancakes, or waffles



    * Not recommended for children who do not have good chewing and swallowing skills

    Note: If your child cannot tolerate texture foods, strain or blenderize foods indicated the above.

    Weight Gain Recipes

    Banana Smoothie

    ½ cup milk
    ½ banana
    ½ cup ice milk

    Mix in blender

    Orange Smoothie

    ½ cup orange juice
    ½ cup ice milk

    Mix in blender

    Strawberry Smoothie

    ¾ cup milk
    ½ cup fresh or frozen  strawberries
    ½ cup ice milk

    Mix in blender

    Super Shake

    1 cup ice cream
    1 cup milk
    2 package Carnation Instant Breakfast

    Blend well

    Super Pudding

    2 cups milk
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 package (4-1/2 oz) instant pudding
    ¾ cup nonfat dry milk powder

    Stir milk and oil.
    Add pudding mix and mix well
    Pour into dishes of ½ cup servings.

    It is for informational use only. It does not take the place of getting advice from a doctor for diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore your doctor's advice or wait to get medical help because of something you have read on this site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 right away.  Read disclaimer information.