A less sugary PediaSure alternative

At some point, it seems like all kids turn from a baby who eats everything to a toddler who will eat very few things. Little Sir was particularly bad about this since he has never eaten meat or beans of any kind, from the very beginning of his life. I don’t mean that I have never fed him meat or beans – I offer them to him constantly, even hiding them in things sometimes. But he KNOWS. He knows there is meat or beans in something and he won’t touch it. It does not matter what meat or what kind of beans. To my knowledge, he has never actually tasted a bean, so how does he even know he doesn’t like them?!

It was out of concern for his nutritional health that I started adding PediaSure Sidekicks to his milk a few times a day. It started some time after he had stopped formula and transitioned to cow’s milk. Yes, as I have blogged before, we drink cow’s milk. I lose “green” points for that, but obviously I lose even more “green” points for giving him PediaSure, which is full of sugar. I know it was full of sugar, but the guy is a little skinny fellow and hardly meeting his weight requirements. I had a newborn baby and didn’t have time to figure out anything else to do.

Unfortunately, since we were using the chocolate PediaSure Sidekicks, he got very attached to what he called “brown milk”. He now refuses to drink white milk. Oh, I tried. I endured several days of tantrums, and he never swallowed a drop of milk the whole time. I can’t afford to let his weight drop even more, so I had to find a more natural alternative to chocolate PediaSure.

It turned out to be a 2-part solution.

Part 1 – healthy chocolate milk

Things I tried that did not work:

  • chocolate syrup (worked, but had just as much or more sugar)
  • cocoa powder (too bitter, didn’t mix with the milk)
  • several brands of “chocolate” protein powder

I kept running across chocolate almond milk, but we know from our previous experimentation that it gives him diarrhea. Then I found it: Chocolate Coconut Milk! Sure, it has some added sugar but not much and it’s at least organic.

Coconut itself has a ton of great health benefits, so I am feeling good about this so far. If you know of some horrible side effects…well, I guess you could tell me but I am going to be super depressed about it.

UPDATE: We do only add only a bit of coconut milk to his regular cow’s milk, just enough to turn it “brown” I do this mainly to save money but also because our pediatrician told us that coconut milk doesn’t have all the same nutrition that cow’s milk does.

Part 2 – more nutrition, somehow

The #1 suggestion I hear from crunchy sources such as the Natural Parents Network is the green smoothie. I say, it doesn’t even have to be green – any smoothie can be helpful because you can add flax powder and powders with antioxidants (like Amazing Grass superfood powder. Here’s a recipe for a sneaky superfood smoothie).

We’ve been making it fun by letting Little Sir come into the kitchen with me and stand on a little stool next to the blender (which is unplugged) while I put things into it. Then he gets to watch while I (plug the blender in and) start the blender and blend the things!

Here’s a common iteration of our smoothies, although they vary almost every time:

green (kale, spinach, whatever I have)
blueberries or strawberries (frozen, from Costco)
plain yogurt
celery (if I have it)
1 scoop flax seed powder
a few drops lemon essential oil or 1 tbsp lemon juice
apple juice (organic, no sugar added)
honey (optional)

He likes to put it in a little silicon cup with a straw and drink it at his table.

non plastic popsicle molds for green smoothie popsicles

Sometimes, when I have greens that are on the verge of wilting, I will make a larger batch of smoothie and freeze it in these silicone popsicle molds (affiliate link). Then I’ll ask him after naps “would you like a popsicle”? He almost always says yes and it keeps him busy for quite a while!

Have you had nutritional challenges with your toddler? Share your solutions in the comments!

*NOTE: I was not given any of these products for free, I spent my own money on all of it until I found something that worked. The links, however, are affiliate links so if you buy any of the products I get 2 cents or something. Hopefully you can learn from my experimentation and save yourself some money!

6 thoughts on “A less sugary PediaSure alternative

  1. Amanda says:

    Miles refuses to drink regular milk too, so I’ve caved and given him chocolate milk. So the Chocolate Coconut Milk is a GREAT idea! Thank you so much for posting this!

  2. conscientious says:

    You are welcome! I forgot to put in the post that we add only a bit of coconut milk to his regular cow’s milk, just enough to turn it “brown” 🙂 I do this mainly to save money but also because our pediatrician said that coconut milk doesn’t have *all* the same nutrition that cow’s milk does.

  3. Lauren Actkinson-Carlton says:

    I recommend almond milk, which you can find in chocolate too. It has more calcium and protein. It’s a (better) alternative to cow’s milk. Coconut milk doesn’t have near the nutrition that almond milk has. That’s what we drink and my kid chugs it. 🙂

    1. Jenny Bradford says:

      Unfortunately, as we learned when we were attempting to go off cow’s milk previously, almond milk (organic or not) gives him diarrhea. It only took me 2 weeks of dealing with diarrhea diapers to figure that out 🙁

  4. Katie Sunstrom says:

    I know this is like 3 months later but I found your blog while googling for pediasure alternatives. I have a picky 2 year old. I have found a great solution to the chocolate milk problem. 3 drops of liquid chocolate flavored stevia. No sugar! I am totally going to try your smoothy idea in the Popsicle molds. Right now we are doing apple sauce Popsicles. They are so easy.

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