Can PediaSure Help My Child Gain Weight?

Boy drinking milkshake
High-calorie beverages like PediaSure may be recommended by your pediatrician if your child is malnourished. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

PediaSure is a liquid nutrition supplement promoted to help children who need to gain weight. Whether your child has a medical condition that prevents him from taking in enough calories through a standard diet or is just a picky eater, your pediatrician may recommend PediaSure to boost his calorie intake. Prior to adding any supplement to your child's diet, always talk to your health care provider for specific guidance.

PediaSure Basics

PediaSure is geared toward children over 2 years of age. PediaSure and PediaSure with Fiber provide 240 calories, 7 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat per 8-ounce serving. Both PediaSure and PediaSure with Fiber provide 25 vitamins and minerals and are suitable for those on gluten-free, kosher or lactose-intolerant diets. Because all PediaSure products contain milk protein, they are not recommended for children with milk allergies. PediaSure Sidekicks Clear is a lower-calorie, fat-free clear nutrition beverage that provides 120 calories and 6 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving. Because PediaSure Sidekicks is lower in calories, it is often recommended to complement a "picky eater's" diet rather than for children whose primary need is weight gain.

Recommended Use

PediaSure provides "complete and balanced nutrition," meaning it meets or exceeds the dietary reference intakes for protein and 25 essential vitamins and minerals for children 2 to 8 years of age in 1,000 milliliters -- about four 8-ounce servings. Although there is no limit to the amount of PediaSure a child can safely consume, any high-calorie beverage can cause your child to feel less hungry for meals and other foods. Discuss how to add PediaSure into your child's diet with your health care provider.

Foods to Promote Weight Gain

If your child has "failure to thrive" or difficulty reaching and maintaining a normal weight, adding high-calorie foods to her diet can help with weight gain. Adding condiments such as butter, mayonnaise, jams or peanut butter to sandwiches, toast, waffles, pancakes or oatmeal can provide a boost in calories. Whole milk provides about 150 calories, 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat per 8-ounce serving compared with skim or nonfat milk, which provides 83 calories, 8 grams of protein and less than half a gram of fat per 8 ounces. Snacking throughout the day may help children who feel full quickly or those who have a hard time eating a full meal.

Other Considerations

PediaSure provides a convenient source of high-calorie nutrition for children who are having difficulty eating enough to gain or maintain a healthy weight, but always work with your child's health care provider to ensure the best results. Some children may benefit from working with other health care providers such as a registered dietitian, speech and language pathologist for swallowing issues or an occupational therapist to provide the most balanced approach to your child's specific nutrition and medical needs.

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