My daughter is going through a growth spurt right now and having trouble sleeping through the night. I asked this question on ParentingSE and based on what I wrote, the advice I have gotten is that a little more fat in her diet might help.

Can you suggest some ways to add healthy fats to the cooking I already do so my daughter can get what she needs?

  • @GdD here you go. – balanced mama Dec 3 '12 at 17:16
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    Hey hey, @balanced-mama just you wait for the deluge! There's nothing cooks like hearing better than "I want to add more fat!" – GdD Dec 3 '12 at 17:25
  • Looking at your parenting.SE question, stir-fries offer plenty of opportunity for adding oil (indeed, you normally stir-fry in oil). You can add oil when cooking rice and beans (into both). Broccoli can be tossed in olive oil, salt, a few pinches of sugar (helps with browning), and pepper and roasted. (We're not a health site, BTW). – derobert Dec 3 '12 at 17:51
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    The reason I suggested @balancedmama post the question here was because she was looking for ingredient and recipe ideas, not really for health advice. – GdD Dec 3 '12 at 19:29
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    This question needs a major rewrite to focus on "What fats can I add to my normal cooking". You've provided too much context - it's easy to interpret this question as "What fats are healthy?" or "Can I have some fatty recipes?"; both of which would be off topic here. – KatieK Dec 3 '12 at 21:33

Smoothies would be a great breakfast, snack, or dessert! You can put in a lot of healthy things that would add different nutrients. The nice thing about smoothies is that the other ingredients can mask certain tastes, too.

For adding fats, try adding coconut oil or coconut milk, peanut butter or other nut butter, avocado, or even some other oil that you think is healthy.


OK, so breakfast first. Breakfast for kids should have protein and fats, so foods like cheese, eggs, and yogurt are the way to go. Sour cream is good. Beans are also good. It sounds like you're in the southwest maybe, in which case something like huevos rancheros would be a great combination! A ham and cheese omelette with a dollop of sour cream would be a great start to the morning. Oatmeal made with whole milk, while carbs, is slow release, so combined with some protein it's a good breakfast option. Full fat yogurt has lots of calcium so is a good thing as well.

There are plenty of high-fat snacks out there, but they are usually junk food and therefore full of salt and artificial ingredients so I'd steer clear if you can. Cheese is a good snack, but avoid processed cheese and just put slices of the real thing in a small container. Unsalted nuts and seeds are great healthy snacks, and you can add some dried fruit and maybe a few m&ms to make a tasty trail mix. Yogurt pots are quick and easy to deploy, but watch out for sugar levels as some have ridiculous amounts in them.


I also feel hungry at night if I don't get enough fat in my carbohydrate containing meals. I believe the suggestions below are also healthier (though many people will disagree): An easy way to fix a dish like rice is to cook it in coconut milk. If I eat pasta, I make sure the sauce has plenty of fat and meat; for example, I would make macaroni and cheese with hamburger rather than spaghetti with tomato sauce. Vegetables can be cooked in bacon fat or with cream.


Nuts have a high fraction of monounsaturated fat. 100 grams (3.5 oz) of almonds, for example, contains just under 50 grams of fat, and just under 4 grams of that is saturated fat. See this wikipedia entry, citing data from the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Nuts are generally high in fibre, vitamins and other nutrients. If you were looking for a healthy way to introduce more fat into a diet, then perhaps a handful of almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts etc. is a possibility.

NOTE: Of course I'm assuming here that nut allergies are not a problem!

  • Thanks so much. I've been working on getting her to like nuts more. She only likes Almonds and peanuts, but that is something. – balanced mama Dec 4 '12 at 14:32

I would certainly focuson foods higher in healthy fats naturally than add additional fats to other foods, in order to get additional fat soluble nutrients into your daughter's diet as well. Some good sources of healthy fats are of course nuts, whole dairy, avocados, olives and beans. Try to add as many different sources of healthy fats into her diet as she'll accept to keep a balance of all the other nutrients.

I personally would also make sure to introduce the additional fats slowly, a little should go a long way and overdoing it could cause more trouble than it will help.

  • I use a lot of black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, white beans and lentils in a number of lunch and dinner recipes. I didn't realize beans had fats. Are there any that are known for being particularly fatty? – balanced mama Dec 4 '12 at 18:05
  • Beans have a nice little bit of fat; just more than grains. Beans can hold a good amount of fat -think refried. Hummous is a sesame garbanzo spread/dip that can be very fatty as desired without feeling greasy/heavy. – Pat Sommer Dec 4 '12 at 19:18
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    I think there is some grammatical ambiguity here, but to be clear, beans by themselves are not a significant source of fat. A serving of black beans has 1g of fat vs 41g carbohydrate. Due to the carbohydrate load, eating beans will likely make you hungrier rather than satiated. – michael Dec 5 '12 at 2:16

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