Many of the discussions on this site are about eating tons of plant matter so you can strut a hot, steamy bod in spandex without ever having to diet, and finding ways to make and crave nutrient-rich veggies like a wild tiger. And while those are the interests of most readers, there are a few who are trying to put weight on, definitely not take weight off, and others trying to input enough calorie-rich plant foods to meet marathon and triathlon training needs. This post is for that group.
The youngest resident Chez Bitchin’ (Jake) is 20 months old and loves fruits and veggies SO MUCH that he eats them first at meals, quickly declares “ah da” (all done), and is ready to run off and play. At his last check-up, the pediatrician (a no-doubt bitchin’ pediatrician!) expressed concern that he had only gained 1.5 lbs in 6 months and had dropped from the 50th to the 15th percentile for weight. His height and head were above average, he just wasn’t getting fat enough fast enough. It’s a dietitian’s dream and nightmare all rolled into one! He’s eating more fruits and veggies than the average American and is developing an awesome palate, but is too thin.
Side Note: My other 2 kids also love fruits and veggies, but they inhale their whole grains and proteins like nobody’s business, and have always been way above the growth curve. Up until now, it was no surprise that my kids were superhero health hounds. I was a perfect dietitian mom! But shoot. Wake-up-call with kid #3.
SO, inspired by Kathy Patalsky’s Easy Energy Almond Shake, I created a new Jake staple called The Fatten-Up-My-Jake Shake. Not only is it a great way to get some high-qual protein and nutrients into your veggie- and fruit-enthusiast kid, but it’s a stellar pre- and post-workout shake, and a great way to start anyone’s day. And the extra bonus? While it’s working to beef up my little toddler monster, it’s not so high-calorie that it’s anything beyond a nutritious drink for a weight-loss hungry soul (Read: It won’t fatten you up if you’re not trying to fatten up). Just work it in with all those lip-smacking veggies, and it won’t do what you don’t want it to do.
The Fatten-Up-My-Jake Shake
2 cups vanilla soymilk (or other non-dairy milk + 1/2 tsp vanilla)
2 frozen very ripe bananas, sliced prior to freezing, or carefully after freezing
3 Tbsp almond butter (I like the creamy w/ sea salt variety)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp almond extract (which we just learned is made from fruit pits)
6 ice cubes
Blend ingredients until smooth. Drink and conquer!
Nutrition Info Per Serving (about 1 cup): 242 calories, 12 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 66 mg sodium, 28.5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 14.5 g sugar, 7 g protein, 8% calcium, 12% vitamin C, 25% calcium, 9% iron.
As you can see, Jake’s pretty thrilled with the shake, so I’ll let you know what happens at his next weigh-in.
Other ideas for getting healthy, calorie-dense foods (beyond avocados and peanut butter spoons…)?
7 thoughts on “The Fatten-Up-My-Jake Shake”
Great idea with the almond butter. I have a similar problem with both my kids, and I also make a similar shake, but with berries and I add a good dollop of flax-seed oil, brewers yeast (finally sonething to put brewers yeast into!) and some yoghurt.
Thanks for the ideas, Rachel! I’m not sure I could get Brewer’s yeast past my little guy, but I’m impressed that YOU can! Any kind of nut butter really “bulks” it up and it still tastes delish too 🙂 – Jen
Swap out some of the soymilk in that shake for some regular old canned coconut milk. Just a half cup has ~225 kcals so a little goes a long way. Those coconut milk yogurts are nice are high calorie too (god bless those fatty little coconuts). See if he’d be up for dipping his fruit in a “fun” yogurt dip. Or if you can get him snacking on some dried fruit in place of some of the fresh fruit, that would be a smaller though still worthwhile calorie boost. How do you feel about tofutti cream cheese? Cream cheese and crackers can make a good snack (and something to mix it up from the more standard PB and crackers). And toss all his veggies in extra olive oil! I’m a pediatric RD (and vegan) and spend most of my time trying to fatten up chronically ill kiddos….hope those ideas are helpful!
Great tips, Patty! You’re a star RD! I always think I have all the tricks being an RD, but those are some great things I hadn’t thought of! I often forget about canned coconut (unless I’m making a curry), and my little dude LOVES coconut, so that should work well. And the tofutti cream cheese is another good one – he normally east *just* whatever is spread on bagels, so perhaps on crackers I wouldn’t feel so bad about wasting a bagel as the vehicle. Thanks again! -Jen
He seems to really love his shake! Allison is in the 15% for her height and weight, I was a little concerned, but Jen you know my son Jim, when he was a baby/toddler, he too was on the low end of the scale. Don’t you think that’s how we end up with some shorter, thinner, looking people? And, what about genetics? Jakey, like Allie could have “grandma” Young/Davis genes and for that matter look at you and your mom, both healthy thin women…just a thought.
Jen, this smoothie is incredible! Might just be the best smoothie I’ve ever had! My two year old squealed with happiness as she drank it. I can’t wait to make another one tonight!
So glad you two like it! Just be careful not to make it too much — you don’t want to get burned out on the glorious flavors! I can only make it every 2 or 3 days or Jake is onto me… XOXO