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High Calorie Foods

Child Nutrition Basics


Updated October 05, 2011

In general, parents usually want to avoid high calorie foods, such as a milk shake with 1100 calories or a cheeseburger with 730 calories. Getting so many calories in a single meal almost ensures that your child will be overweight, especially if he does it on a regular basis.

Some kids with a poor appetite who aren't gaining weight well, like kids with ADHD who have some appetite suppression from their ADHD medicines, might benefit from eating high calorie, nutrient dense foods, as long as they are healthy foods and not just high calorie junk foods.

High Calorie Foods

It won't surprise most parents to see a lot of fast food items on this list of high calorie foods. Other foods, like trail mix, potato salad, and dates, might be more of a surprise.
  • Condensed Milk (Sweetened)
  • Trail Mix (with chocolate chips, nuts, and seeds)
  • Fast Food - Hamburgers, Sandwiches, Tacos, etc.
  • Fast Food - French Fries
  • Dates
  • Fast Food - Milk Shake
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Cheese Sauce
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Pecan Pie
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Baked Beans with Franks
  • Potato Salad
  • Eggnog
Other items that can be high in calories include salad dressings and other toppings. Be sure to read the nutrition label of whatever foods you are buying for your family to try and find those that are high in calories.

Boosting Calories

If your child is underweight and you are actually trying to give him high calorie foods, some things that might help include offering your child more snacks and things like:
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nuts, Trail Mix, etc.
  • adding cheese to more foods and other 'extras,' like sour cream on baked potatoes, gravy on meats, butter on vegetables, mayonnaise on sandwiches, cream cheese on fruits, etc.
  • make a breading for more foods you prepare using bread crumbs
  • make a high calorie smoothie with Nestlé CARNATION Instant Nonfat Dry Milk milk, bananas, orange juice, ice cream and some water
  • add 1/3 cup of Nestlé Carnation Instant Nonfat Dry Milk to 1 cup of whole milk (adds 80 calories)
  • add a packet of Nestlé Carnation Instant Breakfast Mix to 1 cup of whole milk (adds 130 calories)
Most importantly, remember that even though you are trying to give your child extra calories in this case, that doesn't mean giving your child a lot of junk food, such as candy, soda, or juice.

1 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18. Energy (kcal) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, sorted by nutrient content.

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