The best 19 high calorie foods for babies/toddlers, tips for baby weight gain, and high calorie baby food recipes and easy add-ins. Everything you need in one spot!
There are two reasons parents are often looking for high calorie foods for their babies. The most common reason is for peace of mind. As parents, we love to know that our babies are getting lots of nutrition and calories so they can grow big and healthy. And, truth be told, while it’s totally fine, many baby foods are very low in calories.
The second reason that you may be looking for high calorie foods is because you either feel, or have been told, that your baby is small and maybe even needs to put on weight. While in some cases, weight gain can be a very important goal, more often, those extra calories are simply a nice buffer. For those of you that are in a dire weight situation, I’ll have some extra tips for you at the end of this post.
As an OT working with babies, I’ve talked with families that very much did need or want to focus on high calorie foods for babies with weight gain in mind. This list has all of the foods and tricks I’ve used over the years to get those extra calories in! Make sure you don’t miss the free printable of this list at the end of the post.
Also, this list of foods that are higher calorie will work perfectly for toddlers too!
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High Calorie Foods for Babies
This list is for babies that are at least 5-6 months old and are totally appropriate through toddler age and beyond. If your baby is under 4 months old, breast milk and formula is the best and only option, and your pediatrician should be giving you guidance if weight gain is a concern at this point. If you’re concerned about a sensitive gag reflex or your baby has difficulty eating, head to this baby gagging guide.
Most of the foods you’ll find on the list below can be pureed to either add into or create baby food. I’ll share some specific recipes at the end for high calorie baby food blends! Otherwise, if your baby is already eating finger foods, these high calorie foods can be served in diced or stick-shaped pieces.
- Perfect finger foods and easy to mash or puree, not to mention super healthy brain food!
- Incredibly easy to add to many foods because of it’s mild taste and creamy mashed texture when its ripe. If avocado’s are new to you, read how to cut and prepare one here.
Whole Fat Yogurt
- At 6 months of age, babies can have yogurt, which they often love! Make sure it’s whole fat, not 2% or skim, which many yogurts are.
- Classic baby food perfect for dicing, slicing, and pureeing. Babies often love this super sweet fruit that packs a big calorie punch!
- Scrambled or omelet style eggs are often best for calories because baby is sure to get the yolk. Don’t offer hard boiled eggs too often if your baby always skips out on the high calorie yolk.
- A super versatile brain food that can be offered diced, mashed, or as fries. Think about adding in some butter and even a little syrup if you really need those extra calories.
- Easy to puree these and add into other baby foods. Or, mix with noodles, rice, or spread on toast.
Vegetable and Fruit Breads (zucchini/banana/pumpkin, etc.)
- So many different variations you can make, all of which are higher in calories. My favorite recipe is this banana, pumpkin, sweet potato bread. It’s a triple threat and filled with lots of “extra” but healthy calories.
- Full of healthy fats and calories, salmon flakes apart easily for baby to feed themselves and it’s easily added to other foods, even baby food when blended up together. Or, make it one of my favorite ways and turn it into salmon patties that can be easily diced.
- Serve like oatmeal for breakfast. Can be added to many recipes like meatballs, cookies, and mac and cheese.
- Not just for your grandma! Grab the full fat to dish up to your baby.
*Learn 5 Big Mistakes that Parents (Unknowingly) Make When Feeding Their Baby or Toddler Table Foods in my free workshop. And, learn what to do to help them eat well!*
Nut Butters (peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter)
- Yes, peanut butter is safe, but talk to your doctor if you’re nervous. Use it to spread on toast and add into foods whenever you can. My middle son LOVED this not spicy peanut sauce when he was a baby on his noodles.
Ground Meats (beef, lamb, pork, dark chicken)
- The high protein and calories are a big score here. Make sure you’re also buying the highest fat content possible. Think meatloaf, meatballs, hamburgers, crumbles, etc.
- Keep checking those labels, not all breads are created equal. Go for whole grains and whole wheat to get the most calories and nutrition. Of course, croissants and cinnamon swirl breads will bring a load of calories, too!
- Another high hitting calorie winner that can be served diced, sliced, or shredded. Cheese is also easily added into baby food, casseroles, or other purees to up calories even more.
- Often on a baby’s favorite list, take opportunities to maximize these with calories, even if you’re making from a box. You can easily add flax seed, almond flour, chia seeds, and/or oat bran to make pancakes and waffles heavy in calories. We regularly make these pumpkin waffles in my house, adding in a quarter to a half cup of any of the above ingredients will work!
- Be generous in adding butter on toast and rolls. Think outside the box and stick up to a tablespoon in any of their pureed or casserole like foods, too! You can easily do this for just their serving so the whole family isn’t eating calorie heavy.
Added oil (coconut/olive oil)
- In the same way, add olive oil after cooking or coconut oil while heating and cooking foods.
Added sour cream
- You aren’t going to give your baby a bowl of sour cream, but a tablespoon or two of full fat sour cream can really add a lot of calories quickly. Whole fat Greek yogurt works the same way!
Tips for Using High Calorie Foods for Baby Weight Gain
I’m a mom, too, I get the worry. It can be suffocating sometimes how much I worry about my children, and when I think back to when they were babies, it can just take your breath your away. If your baby isn’t gaining weight well, it can downright consume you, understandably so.
There is hope though, and as a feeding therapist, I can tell you there are solutions, truly even for the most severe babes. Let’s walk through a few steps I’d suggest if you are in this not-so-fun place:
1.Check this guide on normal weight gain for babies to make sure your concerns are justified. I’m not saying to ignore your concerns one way or the other, but having a reference point can be helpful, of course, all babies are unique. And, no matter what the situation, talk to your child’s pediatrician, if you haven’t already.
2. Whenever you’re feeding your baby any food at all, ask yourself if you’re maximizing the calories. Sometimes you won’t be able to, when it’s a puff (which are very low calorie by the way), but often you’ll be able to add something to the food you’re already giving them.
The end of this list focused on those add ins, use one every time you are feeding a puree or casserole. Just watch that you haven’t made it unpalatable.
If you suddenly add a lot of something that is foreign, they might refuse to eat it.
3. Take it a step further if you are in a desperate weight situation and even use maple syrup or honey (if they are over the age of 1). For now, you have to focus on the calories and can scale back on the sugar in the future. As much as possible, rotate in other add-ins like yogurt, butter, and oils. Don’t forget about adding these types of food to breads and toasts as well!
4. If your baby isn’t eating well, check in to make sure it isn’t because of sensory processing related difficulties with eating. Some babies that are sensitive to the way textures feel will refuse baby food right out the gate. Other babies might have a really hard time moving to table foods. Read my complete guide on how to transition to finger foods here (lots of tips for babies that are having a hard time with it.)
You can also grab a seat in free workshop: 5 Big Feeding Mistakes That Are Stopping Your Child From Learning to Eat Table Foods.
5. Plan ahead. Sounds simple, but it can have a really big impact. Pick one day out of the week and make sure you have all the ingredients you want to include in your baby’s meals so you have them when you need them. Also, write out their meals and even their snacks. When you step back and look at it, you’ll be able make sure you’re maximizing every opportunity.
High Calorie Baby Food Recipes
As I mentioned earlier, you can use most of the high calorie foods listed to stick in a blender and hit puree. Don’t forget to add in some oil, butter, nut butter, yogurt, or sour cream to up the calories (if you’re going for big calories). In the pic above, I had blueberries (not high calorie) and added yogurt and flax seed. If not, these combo’s below stand as high calorie on their own.
Avocado + Pear Popsicle’s for Babies
If you want more inspiration, this is my favorite baby food book and it has lots of table food recipes too. Did I mention it’s written by a dietitian, so healthy weight gain is kept in mind throughout! And, click this link if you want my tutorial making your own high calorie baby food. Remember that any of these foods can be hand mashed or pureed and added to store bought foods as well. For mashing, I used this hand mill with a little crank, super quick. But, when my babies were smaller and I needed purees super smooth, I loved using a bullet blender like this one.
Want a Free Printable?
I have a free High Calorie Baby Food list you can print out. You can get it here and I’ll send it to your inbox.
More Food Ideas for Babies
Mega List of Table Foods for Your Baby or Toddler
The Ultimate List of Baby/Toddler Meal Ideas
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Alisha Grogan is a licensed occupational therapist and founder of Your Kid’s Table. She has over 14 years experience with expertise in sensory processing and feeding development in babies, toddlers, and children. Alisha also has 3 boys of her own at home. Learn more about her here.
Hi, my baby is suffering with biliary atersia. Post kasai she is losing weight, please suggest me weight gaining and calories filled food
I am so sorry to hear you and your baby is going through this!! I know it can be a very difficult time. This article is full of ideas for high calorie foods! In your instance I’d recommend reaching out to your doctor for more specific foods that they’d like to see your baby eating, or obtain a nutrition consult to discuss more ideas!
Wishing you the best,
My daughter is 1.3years old and refuses to eat and she’s underweight. She doesn’t like meat Nd eggs too and spits a all her food. I tried all different r forms shes refusing !! How do I increase her weight
I can understand how difficult this can be!! I would try to start with food play with your daughter to see if she is willing to explore and touch different textures! Playing and touching of foods is the first step in eating them! We do offer a free workshop to discuss transitioning to table foods that you may find helpful. Save Your Seat Here
My son is 5 months old and isn’t a cardiac baby so weight has gain Is an issue for us. I tried to get the email but it’s didn’t work fire high cal baby foods. Thanks you
Hi Tiara, I sent you an email.
My 7 month old has developed a bottle repulsion. She eats solid foods and breast feeds though is not gaining as much weight as she refuses the bottle. Any ideas to overcome her bottle repulsion?
Hey Neha, so sorry you are dealing with this, I know it can be so hard! Take a look at this Article as it has some great suggestions for you!
Hey, my Baby girl is 8 months and I want her to gain her weight please kindly send me
some food menu which I can use for her via my email, thanks and God bless
Thanks for reaching out! Gaining weight for little ones can be so tricky for some. You might check out our weight gaining tips. We also have a Table Foods School free workshop that would be helpful if your daughter is having trouble transitioning to table foods. You can save your seat HERE. I hope that helps get you started!
My baby is 7 months and his Weight gaining is very slow. It would be nice if you could send me the chart.
There is a link at the bottom of the post to download the free printable.
My baby girl Is 6.1kg at 6months and was born 4kg. Her weight gain is too slow, please what can I give to her for maximum weight gain and to look chubby. Thanks
I would talk with your doctor to see if there are any concerns with your daughter’s weight. All kids have their own growth curve. If there are concerns, they would be able to provide you with some more specific examples as well as looking at items that are in the article!!
Your Kids Table Team Member
I have a grand daughter born at 26 weeks. She is now 15 months old and has just had her feeding tube removed. She eats very little and will not allow people near her mouth due to fear so spoon feeding is out of the question.
Do you have any finger food type suggestions you can email?. We have tried bread and pancakes with banana or peanut paste and all the obvious things. Any suggestions would be so appreciated
Yes! Head to mega list of table foods, you’ll find a printable there you can sign up for and it will be sent right to your inbox!
I am son is 13 months old and only 18 lbs. Can you suggest a food chart and email me where he can gain weights. He is well baby but really petite. Please help me
There is a list of 19 foods in the post above and also a printable at the end you can download that contains the high calorie food list.
Thanks for your quick reply. I cannot see your high calorie list table for print out. Can you email me please .and 19 foods you mentioned
Click the link for the printable at the bottom of the post and fill in your email address and the printable will be emailed to you. The list of 19 foods is within the post.
Can you please send me list. As I didn’t get peint out. Would you mind to sent me an email of list please
Hi my baby is 6 months an he has dandy walker malformation an he isn’t gain much weight. What can I do for him to gain weight?
We understand your situation and it can be hard!! I’d try using the list from the article of foods to see what you are able to feed him. Depending on his oral motor skills yogurt might be a good place to start!
Print out please.
There is a link at the bottom of the post to get the free printable.
Please send me a high calories meal plan for my 12months baby. She is gaining weight at a very slow rate. Thank you!
There is a link at the bottom of the post to get the printable emailed to you.
HI.. CAN U PLZZ SEND ME A HIGH CALORIE FOODS chart for my baby.. he is 13 months old,, not gaining his weeight from last 4 months,, he is strick to certain weight when he was 9 months old.. can u plzz help me.. im so worrioed,,,
There is a link at the bottom of the post to get the printable emailed to you.
Can you please send the printout?
I sent it to you in an email.
The printout isn’t working for me! Please can you email me the food list
Sorry the printout didn’t work for you. I emailed you a copy.
Please can u send me the very highest calories list of food for my daughter i, she’s 13 months and veryyyyyyy thin thank you for your help
Hi!! I’d refer to the list of foods in the article they are the best high calorie foods!! Also, if there is a weight concern, make sure to check in with your Pediatrician!
At the end of the article, there is a link to the printable! You can click on it and enter you’re email address in there. Be sure to give it a few minutes and check your spam folder. If you still don’t seem to be receiving it, let us know and we can send you an email 🙂
The article is so helpful, please email the high calorie food chart. When I click on link it takes where I have put in my email address but I get an error “•ReferenceError: ‘Promise’ is undefined”
I’m sorry about the issue. I sent it to you in an email.
There is a link at the bottom of the post to get the free printable with the High Calorie Food List.
Print out didnt work
Sorry it didn’t print out for you. I sent you an email with a copy of the printable.
Hi can you please email me the high calorie printable?
Hi Johana, I emailed a copy to you this morning.
As a first time mom this is new idea and new food for my baby
Pls I need a chart