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The Best Toddler Nutritional Drinks of 2024

Best Toddler Nutritional Drinks 2024
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Children often show signs of picky eating and poor appetite, and one of the most common solutions is a toddler nutritional drink. These beverages are specifically crafted to fill the gaps in your little one’s diet, nourishing them with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that they may not be getting from their meals. We’ve reviewed some of the best toddler nutritional drinks to help you select the one that might be right for your growing child. The PediaSure Grow & Gain shake mix is our top choice because of its nutrient-dense formula that’s clinically proven to help children grow.

The Best Toddler Nutritional Drinks

Pediasure Powder Toddler Nutritional Drink
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Pediasure Powder Toddler Nutritional Drink – Best Overall

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The Pediasure Powder Toddler Nutritional Drink is clinically proven to help kids grow at a healthy rate. This nutritional drink is especially helpful for children who are at risk of malnutrition. It promises to help your child gain noticeable weight in just eight weeks. The formula contains a combination of proteins, DHA omega-3, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals. All of these contents together provide your child’s body with the nutrients they need to build muscles, develop their brain and eyes, improve their immune system, and assist in their overall health and development.

The ingredients in this product are entirely non-GMO. The preparation process is also simple: just mix it with water for a nutritional shake that your child can sip on. The powder is available in three different flavors, which allows you to provide your child with some variety. It also gives your child the chance to pick the flavor that suits their taste. We’ve chosen this nutritional drink as our best overall choice because it’s a great choice for picky eaters and it offers a wide range of benefits.

Pros:

  • Clinically proven to help children grow
  • Contains proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Made of non-GMO ingredients
  • Available in three different flavors

Cons:

  • More expensive than other options
Serenity Kids Toddler Nutritional Drink
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Serenity Kids Toddler Nutritional Drink – Organically Sourced

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The Serenity Kids Toddler Nutritional Drink is an innovative formula designed to provide toddlers with the nutrition they need as they grow. It is crafted with clean ingredients and is certified by the Clean Label Project as free of any contaminants. The whole milk used in the formula is sourced from the Alexandre Family Farm, a grass-fed organic dairy farm in California that is certified regenerative.

This formula aims to mimic the nutritional content of human milk and contains an array of nutrients like fats, carbohydrates, DHA and ARA omega-3s, HMOs, nucleotides and various vitamin sources. The unique blend of fats includes organic whole milk, olive oil, coconut oil, sustainably sourced palm oil, cocoa butter, algal oil, sunflower lecithin, and egg lecithin. The carbohydrates are all derived from organic milk lactose while the vitamin sources are natural whole food sources such as methyl cobalamin form of vitamin B12 and L-methyl folate. 

Pros:

  • Easy to digest
  • Great nutritional value
  • Uses whole milk

Cons:

  • Doesn’t smell the best
Holle Toddler Nutritional Drink
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Holle Toddler Nutritional Drink – Best Non-GMO

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This whole milk toddler drink by Holle is completely free of GMOs, it contains no corn syrup, artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or any other synthetic ingredients. This European milk is of premium quality because it is obtained directly from cows that are fed grass from lush, biodynamic pastures. Plus, the formula is chemical-free with a complete and balanced nutrient profile containing a ton of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and micronutrients.

This toddler nutritional drink contains DHA and iron, which support healthy brain development and blood cell development. It’s also shelf-stable and BPA-free. All in all, it’s a great choice for children between the ages of 1 and 3.

Pros:

  • Chemical-free for safe and healthy use
  • Made of premium-quality organic milk
  • Contains DHA for brain development
  • FDA-registered for reliability

Cons:

  • Formula contains maltodextrin
Else Nutrition Toddler Nutritional Drink
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Else Nutrition Toddler Nutritional Drink – Best Plant-Based

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The Else Nutrition Toddler Nutritional Drink is made of over 80% whole plants that are minimally processed. The formula of this drink is incredibly pure. Almost none of the ingredients have been altered in chemical structure, which makes them easier to digest. Minimally processed ingredients are also able to maintain their food matrices, with the proteins staying intact to provide maximum benefits. 

This formula is a great alternative to cow’s milk because of how clean the nutrition is. It also contains essential omega 3 and 6 nutrients, which support your child’s growth and development, while also promoting natural digestion. The plant proteins from almond butter, rapeseed oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil are combined with over 20 essential vitamins and minerals to create a drink that is excellent for most children.

Pros:

  • Minimally processed for natural digestion
  • Contains omega 3 and 6 nutrients
  • Contains plant proteins, vitamins, and minerals
  • Dairy and soy-free formula

Cons:

  • May be a little clumpy
Enfagrow Toddler Nutritional Drink
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Enfagrow Toddler Nutritional Drink – Best for Brain Health

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The Enfagrow Toddler Nutritional Drink is meant for children over the age of 1. It contains a good amount of brain-nourishing omega-3 DHA, vitamins for immune support, baby probiotics, and a total of 22 nutrients so your little one can maintain their overall health. Made with real milk, this formula can be mixed into your toddler’s daily food and snacks to sneak some extra nutrients into their diet.

When babies transition from breast milk to cow’s milk, there is typically an 80% drop in brain-nourishing DHA. Considering that 85% of an individual’s brain growth happens in their first three years of life, it’s important to substitute that DHA somehow. That’s what makes this nutritional drink such a great choice.

Pros:

  • Contains brain-nourishing omega-3 DHA
  • Contains vitamins, probiotics, and 22 nutrients
  • Made of real milk
  • Recommended by pediatricians and health professionals

Cons:

  • Sugar content is quite high
Earth's Best Toddler Nutritional Drink
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Earth’s Best Toddler Nutritional Drink – Best Milk-Based Formula

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The Earth’s Best Toddler Nutritional Drink is enriched with balanced and complete nutrition for the continued growth and development of your child. This milk drink powder contains iron for red blood cell development, as well as DHA and ARA, which are crucial fatty acids found in breast milk. These two nutrients are responsible for supporting brain and eye health, so once your child comes off of breast milk, they have something they can immediately switch to without compromising their health.

This formula also contains lutein for the eyes and prebiotic fiber for immunity, which makes it a great choice for all children. The organic milk that this formula contains comes from grain-fed cows. It’s suitable for kids ages 1 and up.

Pros:

  • Contains iron for blood cell development
  • Omega-3 fatty acids support brain health
  • Features prebiotic fiber for immunity
  • Organic and non-GMO formula

Cons:

  • Contains palm oil 
Best Toddler Nutrition Drinks 2024
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Buying Guide: Toddler Nutritional Drinks

Nutritional drinks are essentially liquid nutritional supplements that contain nutrients and calories in a small serving size that is easier to consume. These drinks are available in a variety of flavors ranging from peanut butter to chocolate to vanilla. Toddler nutritional drinks are specifically meant to taste good so that children are more likely to drink them. These drinks are typically meant to promote health and weight gain among kids who are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition.

While there is a plethora of nutritional drinks made for toddlers and kids, not all of them are the same or contain the same ingredients, which is what makes them vary in terms of quality and the benefits they offer. With this guide, you’ll know exactly what to look for when you’re on the hunt for a toddler nutritional drink.

What To Look For in a Toddler Nutritional Drink

Ingredients

Looking at the ingredients list may be a confusing process for some, especially those who aren’t familiar with many of the contents. The ingredients are meant to promote weight gain and provide your child with a rich source of nutrition. Be sure to look at how many of the ingredients are processed and how many are derived from whole food sources. There will always be some processed ingredients, but the idea is to choose a drink that has mostly naturally-sourced contents to provide the most health benefits to your child.

Purpose

Different nutritional drinks are meant to target different health issues and concerns. Some of them are meant to promote weight gain, while others are meant to prevent weight loss among hyperactive children. Others are made to contain more calories to help children suffering from malnutrition. As a parent, you need to be aware of your child’s health concerns before you offer them a specific nutritional drink.

Sugar content

Ideally, your toddler’s nutritional drink should have as little sugar as possible. High sugar intake can lead to unwanted weight gain, chronic diseases, and dental issues. Most of these drinks will be packed with sugar to make them more appealing to kids. You should look for drinks that contain ingredients like cane sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, can syrup, glucose, and brown rice syrup. These are all names for added sugar and are a lot better than added sweeteners.

Purity

Pay special attention to the packaging of the drink and assess whether it is certified for its purity. Certification will confirm that the drink has been verified to be free of harmful contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals. Before a purity certification is given to a product, the ingredient supply chain of that product is considered for quality assurance.

Powders vs. Liquids

One of the main advantages of powders is that you can control how much of it you’re going to be adding to a liquid base, such as water, milk, or juice. Start off with a little bit of powder and keep increasing the amount as your toddler gets used to the consistency and taste. That way if your child refuses to drink the concoction, you won’t have wasted too much of it and you can always cut back on the amount you include next time. You can even add this powder to your child’s favorite food and hope they won’t notice. The problem with powder is that not all of them dissolve completely. Some powders leave clumps and may have an unsavory aftertaste.

Liquids are highly convenient. Simply grab one from the fridge and give it to your toddler to drink from their bottle or sippy cup. The nutrients in the drink are already measured out so you won’t need to measure them yourself. Liquid drinks also don’t have a weird consistency, which means that your kids will be less likely to fuss over drinking them. Even the flavor of these drinks is meant to be appealing to kids, which is especially great for picky eaters.

Common Questions About Toddler Nutrition Drinks

Q: Are toddler nutritional drinks safe for toddlers?

A: Yes! As long as you stick with the recommended amount that should be given to your child of a particular age, the drink shouldn’t cause any harm.

Q: Is it okay for a child to depend entirely on toddler nutritional drinks?

A: No. These drinks contain supplements, which means that they’re supposed to be taken alongside regular food. These drinks help your child achieve a well-rounded diet.

Q: Can a child who is taking multivitamins take toddler nutritional drinks as well?

A: Ideally, no. The purpose of both is to act as nutritional supplements. If you’re giving your child multivitamins, they likely don’t need to be taking nutritional drinks. You should consult with your physician before giving any kind of multivitamin to your toddler.

Editors' Recommendations

Carey Schaal
Writer and Editor
From Louisiana, with degrees in psychology and business, I blend design and parenting insights into consumer content.
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