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How to use Children’s nutritional supplements: advice for parents and carers

Patient information A-Z

Why has it been recommended that my child take supplements?

Nutritional supplements are recommended by dietitians when a child is not eating and drinking sufficient amounts to meet their usual requirements. They can be used in addition to any oral intake to provide more nutrition. Supplements can come ready made in a bottle or as a powder and are a mixture of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.

How should the supplements be taken?

Powdered supplements have mixing instructions, but you can use more milk than the recipe instructs if your child finds them too rich.

Ready-made supplements can be drunk through the attached straw or put into your child’s usual cup or beaker. Children often prefer a covered beaker.

Usually, ready-made supplements are best served cold but can be heated gently. They cannot be boiled as this will affect the vitamins and minerals.

Are there any other ways the supplements can be taken?

Yes, there are lots of ways you can use the supplements to give variety.

  • Add ice cream to them to make a milkshake.
  • Add fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and blend with the supplement to make a smoothie.
  • Freeze them to make an ice cream or lolly.
  • Add them to breakfast cereals or porridge instead of standard milk.
  • Make a powdered custard as usual but with less milk than the recipe suggests and once it is made add the supplement to thin it down to the usual consistency.
  • Make a milk or juice jelly by replacing the cold water part of the recipe with supplement.
  • Use the milk based supplements in powdered dessert mixes.

There are also recipe books available that give ideas for using supplements in meals.

What should I do if my child stops taking the supplements?

If your child stops taking the recommended amounts of supplements please call your dietitian for advice.

Contacts/further information

Department of nutrition and dietetics: 01223 216655.

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151