Friday, January 13, 2012

Gaining Weight Dairy Free

I know many of the people that read my blog have children with dairy allergies/intolerances.  I was asked on facebook one day to write about  “Helping Children gain weight without dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat or soy.”

I have never had this problem before (aka needing to gain weight) Winking smile so I had to do a lot of research on this topic.

I also don’t have kids, so I’m not an expert by any means…  but I have worked with kids for 12+ years, so I know they are picky – but I thought I’d put every suggestion I could think of.

Here is what I found out.




#1 – Avocado  -  a great way to get in healthy fats – I know kids may not love avocado – so a few ways to incorporate it into your diet – blend up in smoothies, make pasta sauce, guacamole dip for veggies.  Or what about avocado pudding?  It’s great in chocolate or lemon flavour, they won’t even notice the avocado! I’m not personally a fan of cooking avocado – but you could always give it a try?



#2 - Oils! Olive Oil, Grape seed, Flax Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Walnut Oil – find different ways to incorporate them into your diet.  Most oils can be blended into smoothies, drizzled on popcorn instead of butter (I love flax seed oil on butter) or on veggies?  I know kids love dipping – so you could add some herbs or spices to some oil – and get some great bread!!

#3 Coconut – coconut sometimes gets a bad wrap – but according to this 160 ways to use coconut oil – it shows that it has many benefits!   Kids love the process of buying a fresh coconut – shaking it to listen to all the water inside and then helping to open it, peeling out the inside and eating it!!  Fresh coconut is awesome with some lime squeezed on it!  Costco also sells dried sweetened coconut chunks – which are an awesome snack.   If you are lucky enough to find coconut cream – it’s delicious too!   Coconut milk can be added to recipes which you would like creamy – recently I used it to make FUDGE (I subbed coconut milk for unsweetened condensed milk)!

#4  Nuts/Seeds – Cashews, Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Ground Sesame Seeds (tahini) etc.  These can be blended into soups – to make them creamy.  Homemade nut milks.  Make your own nut butters. Or make sauces like mmmm sauce.  With the left over nut pulp from the above almond milk – you can make almond cheese!!  It’s tasty, and somewhat like cream cheese!   As for tahini you can make caramel sauce which is an awesome dip for fresh fruit.   Nuts are a great base for making creamy salad dressings too! 

#5 Dried Fruits – I’m not saying not to get your kids to eat fresh fruit – but sometime swap out dried fruit for fresh.   Think about it, it’s way easier to eat 10 dried apricots than it is to eat 10 fresh ones.   Especially for kids.   Raisins, apricots, dried mango etc.… awesome snack to have with you! 

#6 – Fish! You all know I LOVE fish!  I know kids may not be huge fans of fish though but try to make it fun by making healthy fish sticks, or making a salmon or tuna dip (think tuna/salmon salad but without that kid disapproved word salad)


Another option…  Limit liquids before and after meals – I know when I was nannying, the boys would easily fill up on liquids before a meal, which meant they weren’t hungry for the meal.

From Web MD

“Have meals with the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and the right kinds of fat (such as unsaturated and monounsaturated fats, olive oil, canola oil, pistachios, almonds and walnuts). Heinemann suggests the following ratio: 60%-70% carbohydrates, 10%-15% protein, and a small amount of fat.”

As for babies and formula – I know a few people have said that there is a soy free, dairy free formula out there, but it’s quite expensive.  If you know any more on this – please leave a comment.

Please add any suggestions to the comment section or facebook.


  1. This is a great post! I have 3 kids, and one has mild Cerebral Palsy so gaining weight is so hard for her, even though she eats like a horse. She burns twice as many calories as the average child because her body has to work harder to move, so whatever she eats gets burned up so fast! She's not at all dairy free like me, but I don't like to give her a lot of cheese and milk anyway (besides, we seldom have any in the house!) When doctors recommend weight gain, the food list they give you is ALL high fat and high sugar dairy products- buttermilk, sour cream, condensed milk, cheese... but I don't think these are healthy ways to gain. They put on fat- inside and out. weight gain and fat gain are different. My pediatrician told me to throw out that list and just let her eat 6 meals a day- lots of fruits and veggies, good carbs, eggs.And to let her snack when she is hungry. I have also found that some supplement drinks, like PediaSure are lactose free, or at least they used to be. She is slightly picky, but I can hide things in food- like extra veggies in enchiladas, flaxseed and spinach in smoothies, sweet potato in breads. She has been steadily gaining now, and without the help of dairy.

    As for the formula- I had one child on soy formula. Enfamil Prosobee is the best for newborns and buying it in bulk is the best way to save money on it. Once the baby is older, we moved on to Nestle- it was just as good and a little cheaper. The Nutramigen is for babies who are super sensitive to everything, even soy and it is horribly expensive. But sometimes some really good insurances may cover it or parts of if it is the only thing the baby can tolerate.

  2. Interesting post! I have read the opposite about coconuts though - that a tablespoon of coconut oil a day can actually speed up weight loss. Also a friend at work lost about 30 pounds, and the only thing she changed was she started drinking the water of one young coconut per day, and scooping out the insides of it to use in her smoothie.

  3. These are great tips! I know it can be hard with kids because they are often picky. A lot of the kids I've worked with who are super petite also eat a lot of refined foods--so when we add in real food (i.e. protein!) they begin to fill out a little. Of course, every kid is different!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this and for all of the research on the topic. After reading this I think I might keep a food diary of my son's diet so I can keep track of what he has had or what we need to incorporate. Wonderful inspiration!


  5. So many of the things on this list are favorites of mine, not because they can help with weight gain but simply because they are so healthy, nutritious, and delicious. Avocados, fish, and nut butters....mmmmmmm. I am a major lover of all things fatty, always have been, always will be, and those are some of the very best. Great post!

  6. Everyone says that gaining weight is so easy….can someone give me tips plzzzzzzzz

  7. This is a great post - I would also include dense whole wheat products for weight gain (as well as proper management) in children. ^^


Thank you so much for your support! I love comments!

Another option is to leave a comment here!

Have a great day!


Related Posts with Thumbnails