By Sarah Smith, Accredited Practising Dietitian
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The Survivors are currently hungry. That is, reports are that the next season of Survivor is currently in filming mode. So that makes for some very food-deprived, hungry contestants. Have you ever imagined what you would eat first when you left the jungle if you were on the show? I’d imagine most of us have starting visualising hot chips or chocolate dripping between our fingers. And there is absolutely no problem with that.
I do however want to talk about how to give children who need more energy, without feeling like you have to resort to similar types of foods every day. Children who need more energy are typically participating in high level sport, needing to catch up on some growth or going through an illness.
There are plenty of ways that children can get a high energy diet, while the family maintain their usual way of eating. I’ll break them into two categories for you.
Firstly, some foods have a little more energy than others and can be chosen for your child most of the time.
- Nuts and full cream dairy food are excellent snack choices as they are full of energy.
- Another high energy snack idea is eggs or baked beans on toast.
- Smoothies can be a great boost before bed especially if loaded with high energy goodness like honey, peanut or almond butter, LSA powder, oats, full cream yoghurt or ice cream.
- Make up porridge and soup with full cream milk rather than water.
- For meals, chicken thigh is more energy dense than chicken breast.
- Choose fatty fish like salmon or trout instead of lean white fish.
Secondly, add some extra “healthy” fats to your child’s meal which can be done while serving, meaning only the individual who needs more energy will actually receive it.
- Serve salad vegetables with avocado, tzatziki or hommus.
- Melt some cheese onto your child’s serve of cooked vegetables.
- Stir olive oil through your child’s serve of pasta, rice or noodles.
- Add some chopped nuts to your child’s cereal or muesli (over 5 years).
- Add peanut butter to milk drinks, yoghurt and ice cream.
- Ensure all sandwiches and crackers are spread with margarine and include cheese. This may be in addition to usual fillings. For example a chicken, lettuce, mayo AND cheese sandwich.
The key with a high energy diet is consistency. For a lot of families I work with, the effort is predominantly in the purchasing and availability of the high energy foods. Once they are in the cupboard or fridge, it’s easier to make the high energy diet happen.
There are also supplements around that may be useful for your child, however seeking expert advice from your paediatric dietitian is recommended before making this choice.
Here’s to the last woman or man standing (Usually on a rock…in the waves… in need of a high energy diet… and very HUNGRY!)
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