Calorie Boosters

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These tips were gathered from conferences, books, articles and other parents over the years. It's always best to check with your doctor before making changes to your daughter's diet.


  • Powdered Milk: Add to regular whole milk (1 qt. milk with 1 C. powdered milk), and substitute for regular milk in cooking. Add one or more tablespoons of powdered milk to yogurt, casseroles, bread, muffins, sauces, gravies, ground meat, casseroles, hot cereals, soups and mashed potatoes.
  • Milk: Always use whole milk instead of skim or 2%.
  • Cream, Evaporated Milk, and Sweetened Condensed Milk: Use instead of milk or water in recipes for pudding, cocoa, milk shakes and cream soups. Mix 1-2 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk with peanut butter and spread on toast.
  • Grated Cheese: Add to sandwiches, meats, potatoes, salads, vegetables, rice, pasta, and cream sauces. Use grated Parmesan cheese as a thickener and calorie booster to foods. Melt on sandwiches, hamburgers, fish, vegetable, eggs and desserts like stewed fruit or pies.
  • Cream Cheese and Cheese Spreads: Use on sliced fruit, sandwiches, crackers or bread.
  • Sour Cream: Add to vegetables and casseroles.
  • Yogurt: Add to ice cream, cereal, granola, fruit and shakes.
  • Ice Cream: Add to sodas, shakes or other milk drinks. Add to fruits, gelatin desserts, and pies. Blend with bananas and soft or cooked fruits.
  • Mayonnaise and Salad Dressing: Use on sandwiches, salads and cooked vegetables.
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast: Mix with milk.
  • Ensure and Pediasure: Drink as a meal or snack. Use instead of milk in instant pudding. Blend with ice cream for milkshakes.
  • Sustagen, Ensure, Chocolate weight gain powder from a health food shop: Mix any of these with milk or add cream as well, instead of using water.
  • Eggs: Add to French toast, pancake batter, gravies, meatloaf, hamburger, custards, puddings and sandwich spreads. Add chopped, hard cooked eggs to salads and dressings, vegetables and casseroles. (Do not use raw eggs in uncooked items.)
  • Peanut Butter: Add it to grains, ice cream, yogurt, sandwiches, crackers, toast, waffles, pancakes, meatloaf, cookies, bread, muffins and cakes. Spread on fruit or vegetables.
  • Fruit Juice: Make gelatin desserts with 100% fruit or vegetable juice instead of water. Add a bit less water when reconstituting frozen juices.
  • Honey: Add to fruit, fruit juice and muffins. Use as a glaze on meats.
  • Dried Fruits: Add to muffins, cookies, cereal, and grains.
  • Butter and Margarine: Add to vegetables, toast and sandwiches.
  • Hot Cereals: Make with milk or juice instead of water. Top with honey, jam, margarine, syrup or cheese.
  • Wheat Germ: Add to meat, bread, muffins, pancakes. Sprinkle on fruit, ice cream, yogurt, vegetables, toast. Use in place of bread crumbs.

Miscellaneous Tips

  • Serve fried foods, such as French fries, fried chicken, hash browns.
  • Serve meat with extra gravy or sauce.
  • Bread or flour meat before cooking.
  • Fat is an important source of calories in the diet. It has twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrate.
  • Plan high calories snacks between meals.
  • Grapenuts and granola type cereals are higher in calories than other varieties of cold cereals.
  • Use canned fruits in heavy syrup. The calories are twice as high as those eaten fresh.
  • Grape juice and cranberry juice are higher in calories than citrus juices and vegetable juice.
  • Home health care agencies can provide samples of commercial high-calorie/high-nutrition products such as juices, milk products, puddings and thickeners.

Additional Tips

These suggestions are from Pete Carlson, father of Bridget:

I have read that many Rett girls have problems with eating and digestion because of ulcers resulting from H Pilori infections in their digestive tracts. Whether this may be causing a particular girl digestive problems is of course always something for a doctor to determine. (Antibiotics definitely have been shown to be effective in controlling H-Pylori ulcers. See the doctor!)

Some Rett girls have problems with elimination. We add flax seed oil to hot morning cereal. We also use whole grain hot cereal rather than processed cereals. The fiber helps in elimination.

Flax seed oil is reputed to have some sort of anti-bacterial effect by its users. I would like to think that it may help prevent or control H Pylori, but couldn't say for certain it it really does. One thing that it does do is to add beneficial calories and fats to the diet. It has EFAs (essential fatty acids/Omega 3 oils) in a concentration that you are unable to find in few other sources than fish.

I heard a report on a news program that research has also indicated that flaxseed oil may have positive benefits for brain chemistry having to do with mood elevation and dopamine levels. The story was very brief so I have no further information to provide.

Flax seed oil can be purchased from a health food store. Buy oil that has been refrigerated. (It oxidizes easily.) Store it in your refrigerator. It is not a cooking oil and is best used uncooked. I would also note that I use flax seed oil on my morning cereal too. I don't care for the taste, but can mask it with honey or brown sugar. It can also be used in salad dressings. I understand that flaxseed oil is included in the Pritkin diet. Good for both parents and child!

Use vanilla Soy milk for milk wherever possible. Advantages: provides protein, reduces phlegm production (milk products increase it), and eliminates milk which is a culture medium for baterial ear infections. Soy products are also good for women.

If you feed your daughter hot cereal in the morning (we make enough to last several days and reheat it), consider adding millet (cook about 20 minutes). It is slightly alkaline and may help with stomach upset. I don't care for straight millet. I think it tastes better when mixed. Barley gives cereal a sweet taste.

Soak the barley and the millet overnight. Cook the millet and barley for about 20 min, and then add oatmeal. Don't overcook the oatmeal or it turns into gluey inedible glop. (I like my oatmeal to separate.) Sometimes we add kamut, which gives it a nice buttery taste. Do not use the millet sold as birdfood! Millet, barley, and rolled kamut can usually be found in health food stores.

Bridget was starting to have more seizures and we thought we would try a gluten free casein free diet. It appears to have reduces the frequency and severity of her seizures. Bobs Red Mill sells gluten free oatmeal and other cereals. Lots more gluten free foods than 10 years ago.

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