High Calorie Recipes

Updated on June 16, 2011
D.H. asks from Canton, OH
22 answers

My daughter is 5 and is very underweight. Her doctor just tells me to give her peanut butter and milkshakes. I'm looking for some high calorie foods to give her since she is a picky eater. I'm tired of telling her to eat her dinner. It seems like our meals are becoming battles rather than a happy experience. If you have any high calorie recipes or food suggestions that you are willing to share I'd appreciate it. With childhood obesity on the rise, it's really hard to find recipes and food items that allow for weight gain. She will always be thin thanks to her father's side, but she is too thin. Her BMI is at the 5 percentile. Thanks in advance.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Lafayette on

My dd was under the 5th percentile too...ask about zinc supplements. It helped improve dd's appetite.



answers from Muncie on

If she will eat them, Pine nuts have the most calories in them, they are also very high in vitamens.

Baked potatoes with all the fixings,

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

What about smoothies with Greek Yogurt, some ice cream and bananas & strawberries? My son loves them!

This is from the livestrong website about kids & gaining weight:


If you have a child that needs to gain weight, adding some healthy foods that are high in fat may be an effective way to accomplish this. Fat is more energy-dense than carbohydrate and protein: Fat has nine calories per gram, whereas carbohydrate and protein each have four calories per gram. However, many high-fat foods that children enjoy, such as fast-food items, baked goods and candy, are often high in less-healthy saturated and trans fats. Foods that are high in healthier unsaturated fats include avocado, peanut butter and other nuts, olive oil, and hummus. While full-fat dairy products are high in saturated fat, they also contain protein and calcium and can be added to the diet in moderation.


O.-fifth of an avocado has 4 1/2 g of fat, and is vitamin-rich. In particular, avocados are high in the B vitamin folate, which is important in cell and tissue development. Magnesium and potassium are also abundant in avocados, and these nutrients aid in proper enzyme function and metabolism. Avocados can be mashed and used in place of mayonnaise on a sandwich, or they can be made into a guacamole. You can also slice avocados and add them to a salad.

Nuts and Nut Butters

A peanut butter sandwich is a classic lunch for a child, and all-natural peanut butter --- along with other nut butters --- is high in calories and unsaturated fat. Nuts and nut butters are also high in many vitamins, including the B vitamins and vitamin E. You can spread nut butters on bread, crackers or fruit and add whole nuts to yogurt or cereal. However, whole nuts may be a choking hazard in young children and some children may be allergic to nuts. If either of these applies to your child, nuts and their butters may not be the best option.


Hummus is a spread made up of chickpeas, olive oil, tahini paste and a mix of spices, and it is high in fiber as well as fat. You can spread hummus on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise. Hummus is also a good dip for crackers, chips and vegetables.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is 100 percent fat and an easy addition to a wide variety of foods. In particular, it is high in the monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which is an important structural component of cell membranes. You can cook with olive oil or add it to homemade salad dressings or cooked vegetables. You can also dip bread in olive oil instead of spreading butter on it.

Full-Fat Dairy Products

Although full-fat dairy products are high in saturated fat, adding a moderate amount of saturated fat to an underweight child's diet will probably not be harmful. In fact, children under the age of 2 need substantial dietary fat for proper brain development, and full-fat dairy products also provide protein and calcium. Your child can drink a glass of whole milk with a meal or added to cereal. You can put cheese slices in your child's sandwich, and you can make milkshakes with ice cream and whole milk for a dessert.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Been there... But my son didn't like the ensure, or the pediasure, or any of the "offbrands". It hurt to have spent near $200 on just about every flavor and brand i could find and him not like any of them. (we didn't know of anyone who drank any so he could try a few, so i ended up having to buy everything) I even bought the muscle/weight lifter drinks to try out - the ones that are supposed to help "body builders" gain muscle with no luck. Even tried to mix it with homemade milk shakes with no luck, even my "normal" weight kids wouldn't touch it! lol. Tired the carnation instant breakfest with whole milk and had wasted it all.
He does however like the special K milk shakes if they are almost ice cubes, its a good on-the-go choice for him. He's a picky eater too.

I ended up doing homemade milkshakes with good quality ice cream. (although you could use the greek yoguart too! my son just wouldn't eat that either, lol). Or fruit smoothies with whipping cream, whole milk and some sugar to taste. To change up the taste you can add pretty much anything to them, including most of the other fattening choices.

I found my son LOVED the cliff bars. He would eat a couple them everyday. There's a lot of flavors to try. His favorite was the brownie and the chocolate chip - go figure. Cliff does have a kid bar, but its only 120 cal, where as the normal cliff bar is 230-250 cal per bar. I liked the cliff bars cause there's no trans fats, and pretty natural. Most if not all of the ingredients you can can pronounce and understand what it is (not just chemicals). http://www.clifbar.com/

I also did a lot of homemade burritos and stuffed all sorts of "fattening" foods in that. Some cheeses are good ways to find extra fat. I think in the end that cheese is what helped us out.

best of luck. Most of its just trial and error of trying to figure out what your little one will eat that has a calorie content.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would look for high protein many mens fitness magazines have these kinds of meal plans that I am sure can be slightly adjusted from adult to kiddo ... or even talk to the doctor to see if (no clue so talk to pedi first) Whey Protien shakes would be an option.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You can get a kind of tofu called "silk" its very smooth - put that in the milk shakes - its a good protein source.

I'd be careful about training her tastebuds to like high fat food - even if she is always thin - the unhealthy eating habits would still meant that she could have issues with cholesterol, heart problems, etc when she is older.

I also like all of Denise's suggestions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Does she like Bacon? My kids will eat as much as I put in front of them.
Add bacon, cheese, whole milk and butter to everything.

How about Homemade Mac N Cheese with Bacon, made with Smart Pasta. Cook smart pasta. Make a white sauce by browning flour and butter, add heavy cream, bacon, butter, and cheese.

It's good that you are be aiming for real food that are high in fat, like avacadoes and skipping the temptation to go to high fat processed and fast foods.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Pediasure with ice cream. Make it into a shake. She should love it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sherman on

My daughter is also 5 and considered "underweight" at 29 lbs. However, my husband and I are not very big either...5'2, 109 and 5'7 and 150. Some children do not follow the "normal" growth curve but that does not mean that they are unhealthy. As long as she is meeting her developmental milestones and is not frequently sick then I wouldn't worry too much about bulking her up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I worked for a terminal ill agency and had a patient that was underweight. I had the kitchen staff make her Ensure shakes, mix a can of Ensure with some ice cream. She had one every day. I think she put on 10 pounds in just a couple weeks. Maybe that would work for your daughter. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Butter, full fat dairy, avocadoes, olive oil......

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If your child is truly on the thin side genetically, please don't stress about this. My son - who just turned 18 is 5'9" and weighs 115 pounds. He has been at a miniscule BMI for years - as are his cousins. He eats fine, never sick and doesn't miss any school. My father and brothers were the same growing up. They filled out about age 35. Now, if your daughter has bouts of emotional issues she may not be getting enough calories - my younger son had that problem and I gave him pediasure once a day to help with calorie intake and it solved alot of his problems with crankiness, etc because as a toddler he didn't eat enough variety of foods. He pretty much lived on peanut butter. He is now 14, doesn't really eat alot of meat but he is healthy and had perfect attendance at school this year. Alot of his eating issues really related to enlarged tonsils. Good Luck!



answers from Lincoln on

I love Denise P's answer! My son is underweight (<5th percentile) and he has a feeding tube and drinks Pediasure. I agree that it is hard to find high calorie options when everywhere is pushing low cal. I agree that it's important to remember nutrition and calories and got sick of being "forced" to put butter in everything. I agree with the suggestions for some healthy high calorie options such as nuts, avacados, cheeses, crackers, whole milk. I want my son to gain weight, but learn healthy eating habit and not think everything must be swimming in butter. Good luck it's a battle dealing with a "picky eater" and then to throw weight concerns on top! :-)



answers from Kansas City on

Will she eat plain pasta (I buy the small shells or the ones that look like little rosebud flowers) tossed with a generous amount of olive oil and fresh grated parmesean cheese? My middle guy won't eat tomato based pasta sauce because it causes heartburn for him (poor little guy, I love my lasagna!) so I always just save back some noodles and fix them this way for him.



answers from Evansville on

I have 3 girls who at one point were all underweight. Our pediatrician didnt tell us to give high calorie anything. We were told just to keep offering dinner, and snacks and eventually when they are hungry they will eat. I am against catering to kids meals preferences myself, because if I do I will end up cooking four meals, with three kids and my husband and myself. My oldest is 9, and weights 68 lbs, my 3 year old is 24 lbs andmy 4 year old is 27 lbs. and other than being small, perfectly healthy.



answers from Chicago on

Spaghetti? If she doesn't like regular you can try just the noodles with butter and warm milk.


Mashed potatoes with peas (or corn), made with cream and butter.

Peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

Have also been told that 1TBL of honey every day is supposed to be a very good way to gain weight. Would check with the doc first just in case there's any sensitivity.

Hope this helps!!!

Good luck!!!!



answers from Eugene on

Pretty much everything my mom cooks :)...but we are all very healthy and thin...go figure. But, she makes homemade scones and with the amount of butter and cream involved they are not low-fat. Cream based soups--my son loves a kale, sausage, potato soup I make. Any kind of creamed veggie (my kids are not picky--so maybe these aren't good suggestions?) but homemade creamed corn or spinach. Homemade scalloped potatoes with cream and butter. Make scrambled eggs with veggies and cream in the eggs. My mom buys a 1/2 gallon of cream when we come home to visit and it's always gone at the end of the week! She puts in everything...and her cooking is amazing--she even adds it spaghetti sauce etc--look up recipes that call for some.


answers from Columbia on

My nephew has trouble maintaining and gaining weight. His doctor told my sister to put gravy, cheese sauce, dips. and any other kind of sauces on everything she can. The cheese sauce has worked well for him because he loves cheese. You can add it to potatoes, veggies, rice, pasta, lots of things.
Good luck!



answers from Toledo on

I think you need to start with the foods she likes and willingly eats whenever they're served. From there, look for ways to add both protein and calories. I'm guessing that if you just put random "high calorie" foods in front of her, she's no more likely to eat them than if they were the "regular" versions. Like others have mentioned, you don't want to skew her tastebuds toward high fat/calorie foods since she may not always be underweight or could have high blood pressure/cholesterol, etc. (I was steady at 5'8" and 112 lbs until I was 26, but also had a genetically high cholesterol level of 350.)

Also, if she doesn't like a food served a certain way, try it another way. For example, my kids don't care for guacamole, but will eat sliced avocados plain or on anything. She may not like steamed veggies, but she might like them roasted in olive oil (which would add healthy calories).

Good luck!



answers from Toledo on

Granola foods, oatmeal, carnation instant breakfast, peanut butter with ritz crackers, dishes with added cheese such as pasta with sauteed veggies and topped with her favorite type of cheese.


answers from Los Angeles on

throw tons of cheese in everything you give her!
cheese is great because its so versitile!

good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions