More bang for your buck

No, I am not talking about finances.  But, I am talking about boosting your child’s intake or eating, after a blow with being sick.You see, I was rubbing our son’s back and my goodness, I could REALLY feel his ribs!!  After his bout of being ill for one week, we weighed him.  He had lost 10 percent of his body weight.  His poor eating plus vomiting and diarrhea hit him hard.

My clinician’s mindset kicked in: What “bang for my buck” can I find in the grocery store to help him feel better, boost his intakes and in the end help him regain his weight?  (Grocery and pharmacy store shelves carry some of the products we use at the hospital.)

We went to the grocery and picked up the following:

  • Pediasure (lactose free; be aware Pediasure Sidekicks= 120 calories versus the 240 calories plain Pediasure offers)
  • Pediasure Sidekicks Clears (a clear juice  that provides 120 calories, 6 g pro; and looks just like a Juicy Juice box)
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast (contains lactose; requires mixing with milk)
  • Whipping cream (mixed this with butter in the mashed potatoes!)
  • Greek yogurt (mixed with granola and fresh berries; the yogurt will provide probiotics) and Danimal yogurt drinks
  • Fresh seasonal fruit
  • Sliced cheese (for more grilled cheese)
  • Chex Mix ingredients (a healthier snack; the boys enjoy Alex’s recipe with Cheerios and Cheez-It’s; make it yourself and customize the ingredients to your child’s preference)
  • Carnation Instant Skim Milk Powder (the powder contains lactose; can be added to snacks, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, milkshakes)
  • Ice cream (good to eat and mix in with milk, Pediasure or Carnation Instant Breakfast for shakes)
  • Chips (yes, you heard me…we bought the boys’ favorite chips!)

Some things I encountered with helping boost our son’s intakes:

  • Encourage lactose free ways to boost nutrition while there is a lot of diarrhea.  Cow’s milk contains lactose but you can buy lactose-free options or choose enriched soy or almond milk.
  • Greek yogurt may assist with alleviating diarrhea with the naturally occurring probiotics.  The fermenting process to make yogurt uses up much of the lactose in milk.
  • Once the diarrhea slows or goes away, consider milk based shakes and additives to boost nutrition.
  • Encourage 5-6 small meals a day including a protein and high calorie source:
    • Pediasure until the diarrhea decreases.
    • We mixed 2 Carnation Instant Breakfast packets with 1 cup 2% milk (or whole milk for additional calories) for extra nutrition, 2 times a day. As his eating improved, we decreased to 1 packet with 1 cup milk.
    • We used the Pediasure Sidekick juices with snacks.
    •  Consider peanut butter off the spoon or on 1 slice of bread
    • Provide cheese on crackers
    • We doubled up the sliced cheese on the grilled cheese sandwiches.
    • Our mashed potatoes were made with whipping cream, 2% milk, a half stick of butter and garlic salt.
    • Chex Mix was made and eaten for snacks.
    • Danimal yogurt drink with Pediasure Sidekick Clears was quick and simple.
    • Drinks like Pediasure products can be costly.  You can save money by purchasing these online, but, the caveat is a requirement to buy them in large volumes (cases).  If you don’t know if your child likes the product, you might end up wasting money!
    • Check out the helpful handout the dietitian staff may provide to families: Dayton Children’s Ideas and Strategies to Increasing Energy Intakes

Good luck with boosting your child’s intakes in the event he/she has lost some weight or been ill.  What other helpful hints can you share that your child has well-accepted?

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