As you know, I’ve got twin babies, and they were premature. Last month, their pediatrician (whom I love) was a little worried because they’d taken a dive in growth, both weight- and height-wise. She wanted me to try a month of PediaSure to see if it was hopefully just calorie related, and see what happened. Good news? It worked.
Bad news? PediaSure is expensive–like $1.75 per serving where I live. They have a couple of rebate and coupon offers available on their site, but when you need to buy 20 6-packs of the stuff to get your babies through a month (and that’s just to supplement two feedings a day!), those offers don’t make much of a dent. I paid, well, let’s just say upwards of a car payment last month to get two little bums padded.
I did try to find less expensive alternatives online, but every search turned up answers like Carnation Instant Breakfast, mixed at varying strengths. Ew. …I used to drink that stuff when I was pressed for time in high school, and I remember how gross I felt. It’s gritty and sugary and tastes like dirt–not the kind of thing you feel good feeding to your babies, know what I mean?
This month, I asked our pediatrician for an alternative, and, again proving her awesomeness, she gave me her recipe for homemade PediaSure. I’m sharing the recipe here in the hopes that others like me, who are desperate for a less expensive PediaSure alternative, will find this and get some good use out of it, too. Happy blending!
Homemade High-Calorie Pediatric Shake
12 oz. vanilla ice cream (abt. 2 fat scoops with a regular 1/2 cup disher)
1-1/4 c. apple juice
1 c. frozen fruit
2 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein (my preferred brand)
2 mL Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol with Iron*
1 small or 1/2 large banana (OR 1/2 avocado)
Blend all ingredients well and serve!
Store any remainder in the refrigerator. Makes about four 8-oz servings; keep in mind that I’m making shakes for two children, so I’m using enough Poly-vi-Sol for two kids. If you’re planning to feed just one kiddo with this, you’ll want to either cut the vitamin content in half, or halve the whole recipe (making two 8-oz shakes). You can also add chocolate syrup or other flavorings for variety/calories (though it’s got plenty of those–keep reading!)
Nutrition info: Per 8 oz serving – 256 cal, 6.3 g fat, 35.4 g carbs, 14.6 g protein. That’s 32 cal/ounce! Also, vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. Now my favorite part:
Ice cream: 1.50/half gallon
Frozen juice: 1.79/16 oz
Protein powder: 32.98/5 pounds (and you can get it cheaper)
Poly-vi-Sol: 8.99/50 mL
Bananas: what? About 59 cents/pound?
1 batch shakes: $3.58
1 8-oz serving: 89 cents
Verdict: happy babies at my house!
This post has blown up since I wrote it, which makes me happy, because that means it’s helping lots of people. As a way to get just a few quick repeat questions out of the way:
- I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but this recipe was given to me by a board-certified pediatrician. I can’t guarantee its results, but it worked really well for my twins, helping them to put on weight, and my doc insisted that it was nutritionally sound as a meal replacement. However, she did want me to still feed them actual food first, using this as their beverage afterward, because the goal was to add calories, not replace them. They did not always finish their serving of PediaSure-replacement after eating, and that was OK.
- I have no experience with replacing ingredients with soy/lactose-free/vegan/low-fat alternatives–I followed this recipe to a T. I can’t imagine why it would be a problem to find a work-around for allergies, but please keep in mind that PediaSure delivers a specific balance of fats, carbs, protein, and vitamins. Babies and small children need all of them in their diets, and in different amounts than adults. Make me happy, and if you plan on cutting all fat out of your young child’s diet, please don’t tell me about it! I’d also suggest running any substitutions past your pediatrician (and maybe the original recipe, too, just to make sure your doc’s cool with it.)
- Because it’s not made with a bunch of shelf-stable preservatives, this stuff does not store well for longer than about 12 hours. I mixed up as much as I would use each day when I made breakfast in the morning and kept it in the fridge, but it would separate overnight and shaking it didn’t help much. The one time I tried to feed it to my kiddos like that, their tummies didn’t like it. I can’t imagine that it’d fare better in the freezer–things that separate in the fridge usually do so more quickly when thawed.
* All prices listed were current only as of post-date of Apr 27, 2011 @ 17:48 and are subject to change. Links to Amazon.com provided for convenience; any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase, if made, will apply to the purchase of these products.