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Energy dense diet for children

  • Encourage 3 energy dense meals per day
  • Encourage 2-3 snacks and nutritious drinks throughout the day
  • Have balanced main meals: protein/ carbohydrate/ vegetables/ salad/fruit
  • Use full fat/ sugar products, such as full fat milk, thick and creamy yogurts, full fat custard and cheeses (avoid diet products)
  • Encourage a pudding after a meal
  • Fortify food with extra calories: Adding unsalted butter/ margarine/ double cream/ vegetable or olive oil/ crème fraiche/ cream cheese/grated cheese/ creamed coconut/ ground nuts to foods- see below for ideas (avoid if allergic to nuts)

Ideas to fortify main meals:

  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of double cream to cereal/ porridge alongside full fat milk
  • Contains nut, avoid if nut allergy • Use fortified milk on cereal/ porridge- see page 3
  • Add butter and / or cheese to baked beans/tinned spaghetti
  • Add butter/ double cream/ cream cheese/sour crème/ crème fraiche/ pesto* to mashed potato
  • Add butter/ cheese sauce/ grated cheese/ sour cream/ crème fraiche/ pesto* to top of vegetables/ potatoes
  • Add butter/ oil/ grated cheese/ egg/ pesto* to pasta and rice
  • Fry or brush waffles/ fish fingers/ nuggets with oil before baking or grilling
  • Add ground nuts to casseroles/ stews/ curries/ soups (avoid if allergic to nuts)
  • Add creamed coconut/ coconut milk powder to casseroles/ stews/ curries/ soups
  • Choose tinned fish in oil (not brine or water) and mix with full fat mayonnaise
  • Add dumplings or savoury biscuits to stews
  • Pies or pastry encrusted dishes are energy dense
  • To sandwiches add plenty of butter/margarine and or mayonnaise/ salad cream /cream cheese/ nut butter* in addition to sandwich fillings.

*Contains nuts, avoid if nut allergy 2.

Ideas for energy dense snacks:

  • Cheese on toast
  • Cheese cubes/ cheese straws • Cheese and crackers with butter on the cracker
  • Nuts* (do not give whole nuts to children under 5 years of age due to risk of choking)
  • Creamy dips/ avocado dips/ humus with bread sticks/ crisps/ crackers
  • Toast with plenty of butter plus peanut butter*/ nut butters*/ lemon curd/ cream cheese/ avocado /jam
  • Thick and creamy yogurts
  • Brioche- can add butter/ margarine and a filling
  • Croissant- can add butter/ margarine and a filling
  • Eggy Bread
  • Mini scotch egg/ sausage or cheese rolls/ cocktail sausages
  • Mini samosas/ pakoras/ bhajis/ spring rolls

Ideas for High calorie puddings:

Add double cream/ crème fraiche/ condensed milk/ creamed coconut/ desiccated coconut/ ground nuts*/ dried fruit/ chocolate sprinkles to the following:

  • Full fat, thick and creamy yogurts/ Greek yogurts
  • Milk puddings such as rice, sago, tapioca pudding, custard (can be made with fortified milk –see below) • Fruit pies with cream or custard
  • Cake with cream or custard
  • Creamy ice-cream
  • Mousses, Angel Delight, trifle.
  • Add fresh or dried fruit with any of the above
  • Cakes, biscuits, sweets and chocolates are useful sources of energy, but are best eaten as part of a meal rather than a snack so that they do not spoil their appetite at meal times.

Fortify full fat milk (in children over 5 years old or as advised by your Dietitian)

Add 1-2 tablespoons of skimmed milk powder to 300ml or ½ pint of full fat milk.

Use fortified milk where you would use ordinary milk (to drink, on cereal, in milkshakes, hot chocolate, in custard and milky puddings, and in cooking such as white/cheese sauce.)



Avoid sweet fizzy drinks as they have little nutritional value and are easy to fill up on. Encourage milk, milkshakes, fruit smoothies.

Homemade high calorie milkshakes/ Smoothies:

Blend your own milkshakes or smoothies, play around with the amounts for taste preference.


Make you own high calorie milkshakes using full fat milk (fortified milk if using), add some of the following: double cream, ice cream, biscuits, fruit, full fat Greek yogurt, honey, peanut butter*, nut butter*, chocolate spread, ground nuts* such as almonds or hazelnuts.


Make your own high calorie smoothie using fresh/ frozen or tinned fruit. Add some of the following: full fat Greek yogurt, coconut milk, coconut cream, ice cream, ground nuts* such as almonds.


The government recommends that all children aged 1-5 years should take a vitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C and D every day (10mcg vitamin D per day). They also recommend that everyone over 5 years should also consider taking a vitamin D supplement of 10mcg per day especially during Winter months.

Please ensure good oral health

Brushing teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste as recommended by your dentist. Visit a dentist regularly (children are seen free with an NHS dentist).