Feeding and Nutrition Tips

A Few Ideas on Increasing Calories in Foods

Many children with feeding disorders have low weight, and poor or no weight gain. These children often receive feeding interventions. Many of these children may initially lose weight in the program while they are learning to eat better. However, these children cannot afford to lose anymore weight. In such cases, there are ways to increase calories without increasing the volume of food consumed. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add butter/ mayonnaise to foods (each tablespoon may add 30-40 calories to the food).
  • Add grated cheese to foods like eggs, and mashed potatoes (each oz may add 90-100 calories).
  • Add whipping cream to ice cream, drinks and desserts (each tablespoon may add about 40-50 calories).
  • Add peanut butter to bread, crackers, cookies, french-fries, veggie sticks (each tablespoon may add 90-100 calories).
  • Add BenaCalorie (produced by NORVATIS, an ounce delivers nearly 220 additional calories).
  • Always make sure that the child is not allergic to these calorie boosters. Check with your child’s Dietician if you are unsure.

Food Safety

You and Your child can avoid pain and discomfort if you follow some simple rules.

Here are a few suggestions:

When preparing food:

  • ALWAYS wash hands when handling good.
  • Keep juices from raw meat from other foods.
  • Use plastic cutting boards rather than wooden ones.
  • Thaw food in the microwave or refrigerator.

When cooking food:

  • Cook thoroughly.
  • Partly cooked food does not kill harmful bacteria.
  • Cook red meat to 160 degree F., and poultry to 180 degree F.

When serving food:

  • ALWAYS make sure your hands are clean.
  • Use clean dishes to serve foods.
  • Do not leave food out of the refrigerator over two hours. Bacteria can grow quickly at warm temperatures.

Leftovers:

  • Do not pack the refrigerator, cool air must circulate to keep food safe.
  • Divide large amounts into small containers.
  • Remove fillings (for example, stuffing in chicken/turkey) and refrigerate separately.

When to throw out food:

  • Simple rule is “when in doubt, throw it out”.
  • Throw it food that looks “unusual”.
  • Throw it food that smells “different”
  • Throw out food if it is moldy.
  • Throw out food that tastes “bad”.

Increasing Variety in Your Child’s Diet

Did you know that children who are breast fed, in comparison with children who are bottle fed, usually find it easier to accept novel foods? This is because children who are breast fed are exposed to a variety of flavors through breast milk, whereas children who are bottle fed usually are exposed to one flavor.

Here are a few suggestions for parents to encourage their children to accept a variety of foods:

The family meal should include a variety of foods, especially vegetables. It takes time for children to accept new tastes/flavors so do not stop giving new foods because the child refused it the first time. Continue to present the food frequently. It might take as many as 20 exposures before children accept the new food. We know from studies that children’s food preference may be shaped by what the parents make available to the children and what the parents themselves consume.

  • Do not grimace in front of the child at a food you do not like.
  • Ensure that you present one to two tablespoon or one to two bites of the new food. Large amounts of new food can be overwhelming.
  • Let your children help you with picking fruits and vegetables at the grocery store.
  • Let your child help you with washing, cleaning, putting chopped/cut foods in a bowl. These activities indirectly help the child to be familiar with the food and desensitize to texture, touch, and smell.
  • Fried vegetables, and using dips/sauce can make the food more palatable to your child.
  • Some children find foods cut into fun shapes exciting and willing to try them.
  • Add foods the child likes to foods your child refuses. For example, dip strawberry with chocolate, peanut butter on carrot, and ketchup to broccoli etc.
  • Try adult foods which usually have more taste and flavor than ‘kids’ foods.

If your child is very resistant to certain types of foods after all your attempts, discuss with your child’s pediatrician to rule out food allergy.

Learn more about our Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders