What is the best toddler meal replacement?

drink wholesome makes the best toddler meal replacement with a short list of simple ingredients. Now, your toddler can get the nutrition he or she needs without the extra processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our meal replacements are right for you.

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drink wholesome makes the best toddler meal replacement.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

How many calories do toddlers need?

Feeding toddlers (children between the ages of 1 and 3) can be challenging. This is because several developmental changes are happening in a toddler at this time. For starters, human growth rate slows considerably after the first year of life. Babies typically double in weight by the time they are 6 months old, but toddlers only put on about 5 pounds each year. A slower growth rate is usually paired with a smaller appetite. 

Toddlers are also striving for independence and control, especially when it comes to food. It is between the ages of 1 and 3 that many children become picky eaters, which can make mealtime difficult. As a result, some children do not get enough of the calories and nutrients that they need. 

Toddlers need to eat between 1,000 and 1,400 calories per day, depending on their age, size, and physical activity level (most are considered active). Here is a breakdown of the recommended daily calorie intake for toddlers based on their age:

1-year-old: 900 to 1,000 calories per day

2-year-old: 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day

3-year-old: 1,100 to 1,400 calories per day

It is important to note that these are just general guidelines and individual toddlers may need more or less calories depending on their unique needs. It therefore always a good idea to consult with a pediatrician or registered dietitian to determine the appropriate calorie intake for your toddler.

Are meal replacements safe for toddlers?

Meal replacements should not replace normal food, that is, you should feed your toddler balanced, nutritious meals whenever possible. For most toddlers, this should be more than enough to cover their nutritional needs. Some toddlers, however, may need an extra calorie and protein boost – maybe they are picky eaters, or maybe they have a dietary restriction or a chronic illness. If this is the case, a high protein meal replacement can be a lifesaver.

A meal replacement shake is just food and is perfectly safe for anyone, including toddlers. That said, not all meal replacements are created equal. 

What is the best meal replacement for toddlers?

Most meal replacements are not safe for toddlers, let alone adults. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in the average meal replacement shake? It is a cocktail of emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, and flavorings. If you are looking for toddler-safe meal replacement shakes, you must be careful and avoid meal replacements made with ingredients like these. They can cause painful side effects and even long term health problems.

As I see it, the best meal replacement for toddlers is made with a short list of simple ingredients – the shorter and the simpler the better. Growing toddlers should be eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. When push comes to shove, and a meal replacement shake is needed, you should still prioritize whole food ingredients. This is where drink wholesome can help.

Why drink wholesome?

drink wholesome is additive-free.

The reason why we make the best toddler meal replacement shakes is that we do not use food additives. Even in small amounts, ingredients like these can lead to side effects such as bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, and stomach pain.

Because additives don’t resemble real food, your body can only partially break them down. This leads to two potential outcomes: either the gut absorbs excess water, leading to diarrhea, or the partially digested additives become a food source for the gut bacteria, which produce gas. Extra gas can trigger symptoms like bloating, flatulence, stomach pain, and even constipation.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacements:

acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol

The real concern about food additives lies in their possible long-term consequences. Regularly consuming additives can disrupt the regulatory pathways in the intestines, leading to chronic inflammation. Additionally, food additives, especially artificial sweeteners, can upset the delicate balance of the gut bacteria. An imbalance gut microbiome is another leading driver of inflammation and linked to the development of several chronic diseases.

the alternative:

Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate,  Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids,  Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best toddler meal replacement drinks is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many other meal replacements contain whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production. These dairy-based ingredients are notorious for causing digestive issues.

Lactose, the sugar found in dairy, can be challenging to digest for some. As you just discovered, foods that are tough to digest often lead to unpleasant side effects. It is certainly in your best interest to avoid whey and casein if you can help it.

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drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best meal replacement shakes for toddlers is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Almost all other meal replacement powders are made with these protein sources.

Protein concentrates and isolates are the outcome of extensive mechanical and chemical processing, occasionally involving solvents like hexane, which strip foods down to their just protein content. What you end up feeding your toddler thus bears little resemblance to real food.

The digestive system is naturally geared towards breaking down minimally or unprocessed foods, rather than protein concentrates or isolates. This is precisely why research suggests that regularly consuming refined ingredients like these can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome – which is the last thing a toddler needs. 

vanilla meal replacement powder lifestyle image 2

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best meal replacement for toddlers with egg whites and almonds. Minimally-processed protein sources like these are gut-healthy alternatives to protein concentrates and isolates.

In contrast to protein isolates and concentrates, whole foods like egg whites and almonds come with an array of enzymes and digestive aids, making them much easier for your body to process. Egg whites offer an added advantage by being low in fiber, low in FODMAPs, alkaline (which helps maintain a healthy gut pH), and bioactive (supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria).

Almonds, on the other hand, are also incredibly beneficial for your gut health. They are prebiotic, meaning they contribute to enhancing the diversity and balance of your gut microbiome. They are also known for promoting regular and healthy bowel movements. It is these simple, natural ingredients that serve as our secret to make the best meal replacement safe for toddlers.


simple and delicious

“I spent so many hours looking shake for my picky kids. This is hands down the best one I’ve come across – simple ingredients and they love how it tastes. My husband likes it too!” – Julie

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.