Make your own Pediasure!

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!

023

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:

Total Cost*:

Ice cream: 1.50/half gallon
Fruit: 2.99/pound
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!

You’re welcome. 🙂

___________________________________________

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.

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122 thoughts on “Make your own Pediasure!

  1. Also would like to add that I ran this recipe by my sons dietician and she loves this recipe! She said it is better than pediasure because it doesn’t have as much sugar, it uses real fruit and she also suggested that if you don’t want to use so much ice cream then to substitute yogurt for all or part of the ice cream. Thank you so much once again Jen this recipe is awesome!! 🙂

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  2. My son loves pediasure but the price is just too steep. So, thank you for posting this!
    Quick question, could I skip the fruits? and could i change the apple juice with something else? He’s not a big fruit person ;s
    Thank you again

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  3. Hello! I know this post is old….but just want to know if your children improve in weight/height since they started to drink your homemade pediasure.? My daughter is also failure to thrive, son definitely will give this a try!

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    1. Hey, Michelle! They did, definitely. My daughter showed a huge improvement. My son, who was diagnosed FTT, gained a big chunk and started gaining in height, after just one month. It’s good stuff.

      Sent from my phone. Enjoy the autocorrects!

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  4. Hi I just came across this post and i know it’s late but for the person who asked about omega 3’s. I actually use organic hemp oil from manitoba harvest. it’s drug free and gives the perfect amount of the nutrient w/o the mercury risk of fish oil or the tummy upset with flax. I use 1 tsp in a full 32oz serving per day. I give my son an all organic diet since he was 3 months old because he has NF1 and I worry about all the preservatives/chemicals/GMO’s in the foods these days. My Dr. says it’s perfectly fine to give hemp oil because it is not from the plant but the seed and does not contain THC. Also, I use (all organic) whole milk, whole yogurt, honey, whole banana, 1 scoop of whey protein and 1 tsp of the hemp seed oil. Hope this helps with the omega 3 question some may have.

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  5. Hi! Thanks a lot for this. I have been looking for Pediasure and you can’t buy it in Austria. Just out of curiosity, how old where your babies when they started drinking this? My kids are 1, 4 and 5 years old. They are all really skinny (they come after their dad). The two younger ones don’t eat much. They eat everything, but just a spoonful and they are done!! I am hoping to be able to sell this as a “reward milkshake” with their afternoon snack.
    Thank you!!

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    1. You’re so welcome! I think they were just under a year old when we started using this. They’re 3 1/2 now, and one of them still gets a shake as a “treat” now and then! It really is tasty. I hope it works for you!

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  6. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! ;). I have a picky 18 month old on my hands and she is tiny. I have a few questions. She likes her milk warm…she won’t drink or eat anything cold….not even ice cream. ;). Can I just replace milk for the apple juice and skip the frozen fruits since I have to heat it up? Will I be losing out on the caloric and nutritional value if I make these substitutions? Thank you so much!

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    1. You can replace milk for juice-you lose a few calories, but it’s negligible. Dropping the fruit altogether, though, isn’t something I’d recommend. If you want to make it warm, maybe you could use fresh fruit of some kind?

      Sent from my phone. Enjoy the autocorrects!

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  7. Thank you so much for your quick response! 😉 Yeah, I don’t feel good about dropping the fruit either. She does get lots of it throughout the day though. I just hope the fruit doesn’t make the milk curdle. Who knows…maybe she will drink it cold eventually. 😉 Can’t wait to try this! Thanks again!

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  8. What you choose to add, or not, is always up to you. But to have the full nutritional content of the original recipe, yes, you would still add it. 🙂

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  9. Thanks so much for this helpful recipe! Just a question- what frozen fruit did you use or did it matter? And do you have any thoughts about replacing apple juice for apple cider. I made this and replaced the poly-vi-sol with blackstrap molasses.

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  10. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind. Approximately how long does it take to blend the ingredients together and is there a certain speed you are using? I just made this today for the first time and it seems to be so thick and airy. I had to dilute it with water because my daughter couldn’t drink it through her sippy cup or bottle. It seemed to be a bit too whipped…? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

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  11. Yes, whipped and airy is definitely accurate, compared to the stuff you buy off the shelves. I’m sure you’re doing it right. I’ve diluted it a bit, or let even microwaved it a touch, though both can compromise the nutritional content a little–not enough to make a difference in the fact that my kiddos still gained weight on it, as desired, though. That one’s up to your judgment. Also, the consistency does settle a bit after some time in the refrigerator. Seems like I doctored the first serving in the sippy cup a little, and then it was fine the rest of the day. Hope that helps!

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  12. Hi, I have read all the comments on here and would likt to ask you if you have ever made the chocolate one you mentioned on here? My little one only drinks the chocolate pediasure and it is really nice but very expensive. If you have made the chocolate one could you please write down the recipe for me? Thanks so much

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    1. I just add a couple of tablespoons of Hershey’s syrup to the mix for chocolate. You could use cocoa power (the kind you use for baking), too–I’ve done that in my own workout smoothies. Just add the chocolate flavor to taste; the rest of the recipe would stay the same.

      Sent from my phone. Enjoy the autocorrects!

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  13. Cant believe how quick you reply, thanks for that. Dont know where to get the syrup in UK but will try chocolate powder. Its just that it has to be really chocolatey and cant taste of fruit. So I guess I have a bit of a challenge here.

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  14. Does anyone with a picky, very specific eater have experience with how their child took to this recipe after being hooked on pediasure for a long time took to this? Is it equal in texture and taste to vanilla pediasure. My son is 3 and will only drink vanilla pediasure as his “milk” which is somewhere around $50 a week. He won’t even drink the thinner Sidekicks version. Thoughts?

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    1. I have a very picky eater myself and he took to this very well. So picky that his only lunch for the last five years has been peanut butter sandwiches (he hates jelly and jam). With it being able to be adjusted to their likes so if they don’t like the banana flavor you can use a different fruit or if you find his tastes change you can liven it up with chocolate whey protein powder instead of vanilla or anything. You can also substitute the milk for yogurt. I have also passed this recipe by my sons nutritionist and she loved it! It has far less sugar in it than pediasure does plus it has the added bonus of ice cream so the kids think it is a treat anyway 🙂

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  15. My daughter is delayed developmentally and has feeding issues she takes nutren jr bc its made w whey and the pedisure was so heavy shed vomit . Makes me sad though knowing she needs to drink it a few times a day and isnt filled w healthy ingred. Im going to try this over the weekends and see how it goes before sending it to school
    Ty!!

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  16. Thank you so muh for this recipe. I’m in the exact same boat. Twins- micropreemies not gaining enough weight and dr wants pediasure. My little guys are 1. My question is..what kind if frozen fruit do you use? In the picture your smoothie looks vanilla but the only frozen fruit I can find has berries and it changes the color. My little guy didn’t drink it, so I’m going to try to spoon it I to him next time. Hopefully it will work. Thanks so much.

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    1. That might be tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, etc)–I used all kinds, though. Whatever works for your kiddos should be fine.

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  17. I just found this recipe and am absolutely excited. I have a four-year-old that is autistic and it is so difficult for me to find things that he’ll eat. he has serious sensory issues and I have been looking for a recipe for a replacement shake. Each one that I found seems to have gross disgusting ingredients in it that I don’t think I could get my kid to eat…. I am totally going to try this and I am so excited thank you so much!

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  18. How many times do you give this to your kids each day? I have twins and they were premies as well they are almost 2.5 years old and they will not gain weight and they need too. Thank you

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  19. We don’t use this anymore–my babies are 5 now–but I believe we tried for at least a couple of times a day. It wasn’t supposed to be a meal replacement, but a a supplement to add calories whenever we could because they were so underweight. We used it instead of juice or water or whatever other drink we might have offered. Does that make sense?

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  20. I cannot even begin to thank you for posting this. My son is just past 2 years old and in the mid to severe autistic range and unable to speak. He refuses to eat solids so I am having to puree his food and feed him via pouches. He is very picky and pediasure was the one major thing that had helped keep weight on him. As with most autistic individuals, he is extremely resistant to change and it is akin to wrestling a bear trying anything new with him. There are times when we almost have to force him to eat. His pediatrician, who is amazing, was truly concerned and we nearly had to place him on a feeding tube.
    I came across this in my desperate search for something else that would be just as good, but healthier and cheaper. I tried it the very same day.
    He LOVES it. I can make a batch of this and sneak anything into it! I’ve even pureed chicken and veggies into it and he doesn’t even notice! His mineral and vitamin levels are perfect and his pediatrician said his proteins are perfect. He has even begun to exhibit more focused behaviors that has helped immensely with his therapy, he is communicating easier and his eyesight is improving because of the extra fats from the avocado I have been able to feed him through this.
    Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a bit thicker, at first, but I found that if I warm it up a bit it thins out. I think it’s something about the ice cream in the blender that kind of emulsifies a bit and froths, if that makes sense. Good luck and if I can help further let me know!

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