alternative to pediasure kids

Discover a Healthy Alternative to Pediasure for Kids

Looking for an alternative to PediaSure for kids? This article delves into nutritious whole substitutes that support your child’s growth without the drawbacks ultra-processing.

From whole food shakes to homemade smoothies, we provide practical solutions for nutritious and healthy options, catering to children with allergies, food sensitivities, or simply a preference for natural ingredients.

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Key Takeaways

  • PediaSure is a nutritional supplement drink for children that may be useful for growth, but its high sugar content and potential impacts on appetite and gut health, have some questioning that it may be less than ideal for children who have a balanced diet.
  • Encouraging a diet based on whole foods and a variety of proteins, and involving children in meal preparation, can lead to healthier eating habits and provide a nutritious alternative to PediaSure.
  • Else Kids Complete Nutrition Ready to Drink Shakes offer a whole-food-based, non-dairy alternative to PediaSure for kids, suitable for daily consumption or occasional supplementation for children over two years old as a part of balanced nutrition. 

What is PediaSure?

PediaSure is a popular dietary supplement in the form of a nutritional drink for children, packed with protein and 25 vitamins and minerals. It’s marketed as an aid for weight gain over 8 weeks, but it’s not necessary for children who are in good health and have a balanced diet. It should also not replace meals.

The dairy-based drink contains a Milk Protein Concentrate and Nonfat Milk as protein sources, which are less relevant to children with dairy allergies or for plant-based / vegan families. 

Parents seeking healthier alternatives are often concerned about finding options that are just as convenient and palatable to their children but with less processing and additives like artificial colors and flavorings. This is where Else Nutrition’s homemade protein-rich smoothies, protein-rich foods, and plant alternatives such as Else Kids Nutrition Shakes come in.

To sum up, while PediaSure might seem like a convenient solution for children’s nutrition, it’s not without its drawbacks.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet for Children

Every child’s health hinges on a balanced diet, requiring a preference for healthy options over sugary, salty, ultra-processed ones. 

 As parents, we need to be educating ourselves about the choices we make for our kids’ diet and about persuasive marketing messages; it’s pivotal to investigate further before making a choice.

Let’s remember that for a generally healthy child, the aim is to provide a balanced, nutritious diet to support overall growth and well-being, without causing them to excessively gain weight.

Encouraging Whole Foods

Whole foods undergo minimal processing or refining, if any, before consumption. Prioritizing the consumption of whole foods from the five food groups - over ultra processed foods that are in most cases are high in sugar, saturated fat, salt, and artificial flavorings and additives - is key to children’s health and establishing good and healthy choices. Whole foods examples are:

  • unrefined whole grains
  • legumes like beans, chickpeas, and lentils
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • fresh fruits (not juices)
  • vegetables
  • Protein foods like chicken, fish, eggs

These are essential for providing children with the necessary nutrients for their development.

Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are a key component of a healthy diet for all ages and especially for kids, providing vitamins, minerals, fiber and plenty of phyto nutrients with health benefits  Integrating whole foods into children’s diets can offer numerous health benefits, such as providing essential nutrients, shaping taste preferences to be more diverse and reducing the intake of processed foods. Besides, incorporating a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables can make healthy eating more enjoyable for children.

Transitioning to a whole-food diet is highly beneficial for children who are accustomed to ultra-processed foods like sugary drinks and salty snacks. In fact, reducing the intake of ultra-processed foods can be a first step towards transitioning children towards a more diverse and healthy diet consisting of fresh whole foods that will provide them with a more balanced nutrition. 

Natural Alternatives to PediaSure Kids

There are plenty of natural and nutritious alternatives to PediaSure kids that will be appealing to children. Some options include:

  • Banana milkshakes made with whole milk / plant-based nutritional supplement  and natural peanut butter
  • Chocolate Banana Smoothies using whole, real food ingredients
  • Plant-based, clean, l Complete Nutrition Shakes for Kids from Else Nutrition

These alternatives offer a healthy, nutrient-rich option to PediaSure, and some are even dairy-free and have less sugar, making them suitable for children with sensitive stomachs.

These alternatives should ideally exclude refined sugars and corn syrup, which are associated with health. At home, one can easily make healthy, nutritious smoothies that supplement growing kids' nutrition needs.

Liquid Vitality, a natural liquid meal replacement substitute for PediaSure, was formulated by an integrative pediatrician to be nutritionally comparable to PediaSure but without synthetic ingredients, favoring vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential nutrients from whole foods.

Homemade Smoothies

Homemade smoothies offer a nutrient-rich, customizable alternative to PediaSure, with the added benefit of involving children in their preparation, to encourage their interest in consuming these nutrient-rich foods. 

A nutrient-dense smoothie can be created using a single serving blender, making the process simple and convenient. Smoothie bases can use non-cow’s milk alternatives such as almond, soy, hemp, or coconut milk, and additional nutrition can be added with ingredients like baby spinach, frozen strawberries, fresh fruits, seeds and nuts.

For extra protein without the use of protein powders, smoothies can have nut butter included. Introduce children to homemade smoothies by starting with beginner-friendly recipes and gradually moving to more nutrient-dense options, helping them transition from PediaSure to real food-based nutrition. .

healthy smoothie alternative to pediasure for kids

Protein-Rich Foods

Incorporating a variety of protein-rich foods into a child’s diet can help meet their nutritional needs without relying on a nutrition supplement. Protein is essential for healthy growth in children. Some protein-rich foods to include in a child’s diet are:

  • Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, and beef
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, preferably unsweetened options
  • Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds

These foods provide a range of nutrients and can be easily incorporated into meals and snacks to ensure a well-rounded diet for children.

Alternative protein sources to consider include:

  • Meats
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Soy protein

Integrating a range of protein-rich foods into a child’s meals can help meet their nutritional requirements without solely depending on PediaSure or similar supplements.

Next, we’ll provide some tips for transitioning from PediaSure to these healthier alternatives.

Tips for Transitioning from PediaSure to Alternatives

Transitioning from PediaSure to healthier alternatives involves introducing new foods gradually, involving kids in meal planning, and monitoring progress. To make the transition effective, introducing new foods gradually alongside PediaSure is often advised to help the child get used to new flavors and textures. Incorporating small amounts of new, nutritious foods with PediaSure can make it easier for a child to adapt to dietary changes without feeling overwhelmed.

Parents can transition their child by mixing a Chocolate Banana Smoothie, which is a real option, with PediaSure, starting with a half-and-half mixture to wean the child off gradually. How might we involve kids in meal planning?

Involving Kids in Meal Planning

Involving children in meal planning is integral in instilling healthy eating habits and improving their overall diet quality. Teaching children to cook and involving them in meal planning can lead to them trying new foods, which contributes to a more balanced diet, it is also a great way to learn new skills and develop a sense of success and self-esteem.

Children’s participation in meal planning is also an educational opportunity about nutrition, helping them understand the value of different foods. It’s a fun, hands-on way to get them involved in their own nutrition and the foods they eat, and a quality time for the family.

Monitoring Progress and Adjusting the Diet

A balanced diet with proper nutrients is crucial for children’s growth, mental and physical vitality, therefore adjustments to the diet should ensure all essential nutrients are included.

Regular growth monitoring, such as measuring height and weight in relation to age, is vital when making dietary changes, including moving away from products like PediaSure, to ensure the child’s development remains on track. Regular check-ins with a healthcare provider can also help ensure that the dietary changes are beneficial and not leading to any nutritional deficiencies.

Else Nutrition's Ready to Drink Kids Nutrition Shakes are a Real, Whole Food Ingredient Alternative to PediaSure for kids.

A solid PediaSure alternative is Else Kids, Plant-Powered, Complete Nutrition, Ready to Drink Kids Shakes. They offer a real, whole-food-based, dairy-free alternative, providing essential nutrients like high quality plant-protein, healthy unsaturated fats, complexed carbs with natural fiber and 25 vitamins and minerals tailored for kids aged 2 years and older. They can be used daily or occasionally as part of a nutrition plan, and are not designed to be used as the sole source of nutrition.

healthy pediasure alternative kids

Else Kids complete nutrition shakes are designed as a supplement for children over 2 years old, and can be used daily or occasionally as part of a healthy diet. They are a great plant based alternative to picky eaters, which make up to 40% of kids, supplementing their nutritional needs with a clean, whole food nutritious drink.

These shakes provide a refreshing change from many other Kids' Nutrition Supplements, which are ultra-processed and contain additives like fillers, gums, artificial flavorings (like California’s banned Red Dye 3), and other unhealthy stabilizers.

Else Kids shakes are made with over 90% real, nutritious whole food ingredients, making them a healthy alternative for kids to grow and thrive. 

Managing Food Allergies and Picky Eaters

Managing food allergies and picky eaters can be quite a challenge. For children with food allergies or intolerances, consulting with a pediatrician or dietitian can help ensure their diet remains healthy and balanced. Some tips for managing food allergies and picky eaters include:

  • Avoiding the foods that trigger the allergies or intolerances
  • Offering a variety of other foods to encourage a well-rounded diet
  • Being patient and persistent with introducing new foods
  • Providing alternatives for dairy-based products if necessary

It’s important to remember that every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. It may take time and experimentation to find the best approach for managing food allergies and addressing the challenges of a picky eater.

Adapting mealtime practices such as:

  • family meals
  • serving smaller portions
  • deconstructing meals
  • offering finger foods
  • including flavor boosters


While PediaSure is in many cases, a convenient solution for children’s nutrition, it’s not without its drawbacks. There are other healthier alternatives available that provide all the necessary nutrients for a child’s growth and development.

Transitioning from PediaSure, especially in peaky eaters, to healthier alternatives doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By gradually introducing new foods, involving children in meal planning, and monitoring their progress. Remember, the goal is not just to help your kids grow physically, but also to instill healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What plant-based alternatives are there for PediaSure?

There are several products available,  among them our Else Kids Plant-Powered Complete Nutrition Shakes. They provide minimally processed plant-based ingredients and essential nutrients designed to support healthy growth.

What's the difference between Pedialyte and PediaSure?

Pedialyte is used for dehydration in babies and children, particularly after vomiting or diarrhea, while PediaSure is a nutritional drink designed to support children's growth with vitamins and protein. Choose Pedialyte for dehydration and PediaSure for nutritional support. 

else plant-based kids shakes as an alternative to pediasure


This article was reviewed by Renana Mizrahi, Registered Dietitian, BSc Nutri., MBA


The content and advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment, advice for specific medical conditions. Always consult a pediatrician to understand the individual needs of your child. The article expresses solely the views of the article editor.

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