Weight Gain Shakes

Pediasure is marketed as a “nutrition drink” and “as part of a healthy diet”.  Holy cats– honestly, I’m shocked that any parent falls for this– but marketing is full of tricks and deception to convince the average person to buy the marketed product.

Pediasure is comprised of water, corn maltodextrin (glycemic index of 130!), sugar (glycemic index of 65), blend of vegetable oils (corn, canola), milk protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, nonfat milk… plus some vitamins & minerals, cellulose, STEVIA and MONK FRUIT (because all the sugar in the main ingredients isn’t sweet enough?), artificial flavors, carrageenan, more created vitamins and minerals, and if you get chocolate, berry, or strawberry flavors you can add Red 3 to the list of over 50 individual ingredients.

What is corn maltodextrin?  It is a highly processed substance that comes from corn.  It has a glycemic index of 130 (compared to Sugar at 65).  It spikes blood sugar, it’s made from genetically modified corn, it suppresses the proliferation of probiotics (the good guys we want populating our GI tract!), and its devoid of nutritional value (all it does is provide a FAST source of glucose to the body).

Sugar- we all know about this guy.

“Blend of vegetable oils”-  this is listed as canola and corn– vegetables oils are not health giving!  They can contribute to many health issues.  STOP using vegetable oils.

Milk protein concentrate- (MPC) is a manufactured product from milk… it is concentrated but contains the same micellar casein, whey proteins, and bioactive proteins in the same ratios as liquid milk. It’s usually made from non fat milk.

Soy protein isolate- highly processed, & stripped of any beneficial nutrients & fiber.

There are concerns with several of the minor ingredients as well (Red dye, carrageenan, cellulose, manufactured vitamins, artificial flavors, etc…). But I think you get the drift by now…

Pediasure comes in at 240 cals per 8oz, 7 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, and less than 1g fiber.  Just give your kid a milk shake… (I’m only half joking– kids gain weight on Pediasure because they are adding a high calorie, sugar filled liquid to their daily diet.). If you add 480 cals per day to any diet, you’d expect weight gain! (480 cal based on recommendation of two Pediasure drinks daily.)

All joking aside– there are options for healthier weight gain shakes for oral or tube feeding.  You can add a vitamin & mineral supplement to your daily routine to fill in any micronutrient gaps.

Weight Gain Milkshake- you can easily get 300-500 calories in ONE serving.

  • 1/2-3/4 c natural/organic (cleanest ingredients you can find) vanilla ice cream (130-200c)
  • 4oz organic whole milk (75c)
  • Mix ins of choice- 1/2 banana (50c), tablespoon nut butter (100c), etc…

Here’s a healthier recipe for those who would rather get more nutrition out of their shake.

  • 6oz whole milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1.5 teaspoon local raw honey (or real maple)
  • 1 tbs chia seeds

For tube feeding, I blend this twice in our Vitamix on the smoothie setting.

This clocks in at 245cals/8g protein/9g fat/30g carb— real food with similar macros to one Pediasure drink.   This contains 5 g of fiber as well- something Pediasure is lacking (even the added fiber version only provides 3 g).  You can’t beat real food- health doesn’t come in a bottle.

Here’s another yummy option- it can be made as a warm “pudding” or smoothie depending on your preference.

  • Small sweet potato- baked and skin removed
  • 6oz whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons real maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg

Blend twice on the smoothie setting for tube feeding or once for oral consumption.  For a warm version, use your soup setting!

248c/8g protein/29g carbs/9g fat… are you seeing a trend here?






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