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Food Tips

Helpful Hints . . .

To increase your Child's Calories and Protein:

  • Replace water in recipes with milk, half-and-half, or reconstituted evaporated mild.
  • Add instant breakfast powder and/or non-fat milt to liquids, even try vanilla instant breakfast in cream sauces, soups and casseroles.
  • Clean, fresh whole eggs or egg substitutes can be added to beverages or recipes for protein. (Please consult a physician before introducing raw egg products.)
  • Add ice cream and malt powder to turn beverages into high calorie shakes.
  • Calories may be increased with additional vegetable oil, margarine, or butter and by breading and frying foods.
  • Add protein by incorporating additional non-fat dry milk, cheese and peanut butter.

To Save Time and Increase Calories:

  • Add cheddar cheese soup and other cream soups (undiluted) to vegetables and casseroles.
  • Save time by using instant instead of cooked puddings, instant hot cereal vs. cooked, dehydrated potatoes in place of homemade.
  • Instant breakfast-type bars are a quick and readily available source of calories.
  • Look for convenience foods that have gravies, cream and butter sauces.

To Increase Acceptance of Foods:

  • Use small, frequent feedings.
  • Freeze beverages until thick and frosty.
  • Individually package items, i.e. in sandwich bags; small containers of pudding, etc; using malt cups and straws for beverages.
  • Finger and bar-type foods seem to be more readily accepted by children.
  • Children usually enjoy foods that they help prepare; i.e. stirring, opening cans and measuring with assistance, and generally helping in the kitchen.

Let your imagination take charge in creating new ideas, as children delight in unusual and unexpected treats!

Tips on Adding Calories . . .

Meats and Other High Protein Foods:

  • Meats can be breaded, fried, sautÈed in oil or butter or served with gravy.
  • Pot pies
  • corned beef hash
  • cold cuts
  • Children usually enjoy foods that they help prepare; i.e. stirring, opening cans and measuring with assistance, and generally helping in the kitchen.
  • peanut butter on crackers or bread
  • tuna salad with mayonnaise or salad dressing

Milk and Dairy Group:

  • Whole milk or half and half in cream soups and milk desserts (pudding, custard)
  • Evaporated milk in coffee, tea, milkshakes, mashed potatoes, casseroles, eggnog
  • Fruited yogurt
  • Skim milk powder added to whold milk (1 cup powder + 1 quart milk)
  • Cream cheese on crackers or on sandwiches
  • Melted cheese on toast or English muffin Cottage cheese mixed with jelly, jam, preserves, or apple butter
  • Milkshakes may be made in blender or shaker with the following foods: canned crushed pineapple, banana, frozen fruits, egg, ice cream, cocoa mix, dry milk powder, Instant Breakfast, honey, sugar, spices, flavorings.

Fruit and Vegetable Group:

  • Canned fruits in heavy syrup with shipped cream, frozen whipped topping
  • Fruit pies
  • Dried fruits
  • Fruit juices (apricot nectar, grape, prune, cranberry, orange plus frozen)
  • Vegetables seasoned with butter, margarine, meats
  • Vegetables made with cheese sauce or creamed with flour, butter, and milk
  • Mashed potatoes with half and half and margarine
  • Baked potatoes with sour cream and chives

Bread and Grain Group:

  • Bread or muffin with margarine, butter, honey, cinnamon and sugar, jam
  • Cooked cereal with cream, margarine, sugar, honey
  • Cold cereal with whole milk or cream and sugar
  • Kellogg's Concentrate
  • Post Grape Nuts
  • Granola type cereals
  • Waffles or pancakes with syrup, margarine, honey
  • Crackers with cream cheese, peanut butter, jelly
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Rice, noodles, pasta with extra cheese or meat
  • Baked beans

The Toddler: 11 Steps to Feeding the Finicky

1) Maintain a healthy mealtime environment

  • Comfortable chair
  • Colorful surroundings
  • Positive and encouraging parental involvement

2) Keep meal and snack times consistent to promote a healthy appetite.

3) Avoid fatigue before meals.

4)Involve child in food preparation with short, easy tasks.

  • Cracking eggs
  • Mashing bananas

5) "Explore" foods with toddlers

  • Crack a fresh coconut
  • Squeeze fresh orange juice

6) When introducing new foods, give small servings.

7) Personalize toddler meals.

  • Serve child food in his favorite dishes and cups.
  • Provide small, easy to handle tableware.
  • Allow child to determine some portion sizes.

8) Vary textures at meals. Provide one each of the following:

  • A soft food that is east to eat
  • A crisp food that is fun to chew
  • A chewy food to develop chewing skills

9) Provide attractive meals with "eye appeal"

  • Serve colorful foods.
  • Include edible, tasty garnishes.
  • Cut meat slices, cheeses, sandwiches, and pancakes into attractive shapes with cookie cutters.

10) Prepare meals that are easy to eat.

  • Serve soup in a cup rather than a bowl.
  • Include finger foods.
  • Cut meats and vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

11) Avoid identifying your own food dislikes to your child.

Nutrition for Parents: Book List
Book Title Year Author
The Art of Feeding Children Well 1982 Michael Weiner
Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense 1987 Ellyn Satter
Children's Nutrition: A Consumer's Guide 1984 Lewis Coffin
Food Makes a Difference: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Healthy Child 1985 Patricia Kane
Food Power, Nutrition, and Your Child's Behavior 1978 Hugh Powers
Food and Your Child, Time Life Books 1988 V. Alexandria
Healthy Snacks for Kids 1988 Penny Warner
Help! My Child Won't Eat Right; A Guide to Better Nutrition 1973  
How to Get Your Kid to Eat 1987 Ellyn Satter
How to Help Your Child Eat Right: A Fun Cookbook and Guide to Better Nutrition.   A. Hatfield
Kids Are What They Eat: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Nutrition 1983 Betty Kamen
Mother's Cook and Cope Book 1972 Carolyn Lane
No Nonsense Nutrition for Kids 1985 Annette Natnow
Nutrition Education for Yound Children: Strategies and Activities 1984 Carole Whitener
A Parent's Guide to Feeding Your Kid Right 1989 Kathleen Maloney
Poor Eaters: Helping Children Who Refuse to Eat 1990 Joel Macht
Solving the Puzzle of Your Hard to Raise Child 1997 William Cook
Young Chef's Nutrition Guide and Cookbook 1990 Carolyn Moore

Snacks for Children

Children have small stomachs and cannot eat much at meal times. Often they need snacks to fulfill all of their nutritional needs. A snack at any time of the day can help supply the nutrients needed for healthy growth and development.

What Makes a Good Snack?

  1. It looks good and tastes good.
  2. It satisfies hunger without spoiling a meal
  3. It includes foods from the basic four.
  4. Children can help with preparation.
  5. It's fun to eat.

Snack Suggestions

Milk Group:

Milk Group: Milkshakes*, Hot cocoa, Eggnog, Pudding*, Custard*, Ice cream*, Milk, Fruit-flavored milk, Yogurt, Frozen yogurt*

Meat Group:

Meat Group: Cheese cubes; Cottage cheese with diced fruit; Crackers with cheese / peanut butter; Egg halves, hard boidled or deviled; Meat and cheese kabobs; Strips of lean, soft, cooked meat; Sandwiches, open fac, closed, cut squares, triangles, strips, rounds; Nuts; Sunflower seeds

Fruit and Vegetable Group:

Apple wedges; Banana chunks; Carrot curls; Miniature tomatoes; Celery with peanut butter; Cucumber rings; Fruit kabobs, Seedless grapes; Melon wedges; Orange wedges; Peach wedges; Dried fruit; Strawberries; Fruit juices, Coconut chunks; Vegetable soup; Frozen fruit juice "popsicles"

Bread and Starch Group:

Cereal with milk; Graham crackers; Rice cakes; Whole grain crackers; Whole grain muffins; Bagel chips; Bread sticks; Oatmeal cookies; Pretzels*

*use in limited amounts

*We would like to thank the Concerned Parents Organization of Lutheran General Children's Hospital in Park Ridge, IL for permission to reprint the above tips on diet and eating that originally appeared in the March / April 1996 edition of their newsletter. These tips were provided by Pediatric Dietician Chris Salerno.