Dec 28

REVIEW Gerber Graduates Toddler Drink – A Fail of Obese Proportions

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I received a free sample of Gerber Graduates Toddler Drink today.  I will never feed this to my daughter.  I threw it out after reading the ingredients.

Gerber Graduates Toddler Drink – I will never feed this to my daughter

Carbohydrates are important for all of us.  They are turned into energy that our bodies can use quickly or stored (as fat) for later use.  The problem happens when we intake too many carbohydrates and do not balance it with a corresponding level of physical activity.  When we take in more carbs then we burn, we store the excess as fat in our bodies.

Considering that obesity is a worldwide epidemic, we consume more carbohydrates than we burn on the whole.  Either we are becoming more lazy, our diets are becoming more sugary and starchy, or a combination of them both.  Obesity can be a contributing factor in both heart disease and diabetes (just to name a few). Sugary diets can lead to tooth decay.

When I received my free sample of Gerber Graduates Toddler Drink, I immediately thought positive thoughts.  Here is a company that has been making baby food since forever and surely must know how to aid child nutrition.  The ingredients told a different story.  Here are the main ingredients (in order):

Fresh Skim Milk



Corn Maltodextrin

Corn and Canola Oils

Palm Olein

Soy Lecithin

Artificial Flavour

Bifodobacterium Lactis

So basically, Gerber Graduates Toddler Drink is a milkshake; milk, cream, and sugar.  Last time I heard, milkshakes were (and still are) very, very fattening.  The irony here is the quote on that sample liner “Try this FREE SAMPLE and make giving your toddler good nutrition the easiest part of your day”.  If I am to understand Gerber correctly, I am supposed to give this milkshake to my 15 month old daughter in her sippy cup several times per day in order to ensure her good nutrition.  Yes, there are vitamin and mineral supplements that come with this milkshake, but at what cost?

Can I not just feed my daughter a balanced and healthy diet without the milkshake aspect?  Yes, I can, and I will continue to do so.  I feed her each and every food group every time I feed her.  She is used to eating this way, and enjoys all types of foods.  The Gerber Graduates Toddler Drink milkshake idea is abhorrent to me.  I believe that food preferences are wired at a very young age.  I also feel that the child who is raised with sugary Num Nums and Gerber Graduates Toddler Drink will learn to love sugar and fat.   This could lead to infant obesity or obesity later on in life (and the myriad of other ill-effects linked to obesity).

In short, thanks for the invite, Gerber, but I’ll give your toddler milkshake a pass.  I’ll wait until my daughter is a bit older to introduce her to the deliciousness of milkshakes.

What ‘child’ foods do you choose not to feed to your child?  Why do you choose not to feed them this? 

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  1. Kat

    If you have a child not getting enough intake of calories and carbs in other areas this drink is a better alternative than milk. My daughter is seeing a dietician and pediatrician as well as a family doctor for failure to thrive and a long cardiac history and they have all recommended a toddler drink or step two formula to make up for the nutrition she is not gaining from her limited intake of food and is turning down infant formula. Everything is safe in moderation and the drink is not a “milk shake” it is a flavoured milk. Infants and toddlers need higher fat and carb intake than any other age group which is why they are fed homo milk.

  2. Jason

    Hi Kat, Thanks for your message. I appreciate your comments and you taking the time to write. It sounds like it is just the right thing for your daughter and it seems that it might be a good choice in some circumstances. Thanks again for your input. All the best, froogalist

  3. lia

    You are a dumb lady you throw out something that could have been given to the FOOD BANK FOR ANOTHER BABY! that bio thing you mentioned was something you can’t provide every day…and is normally consumed in dairy or yogurt form its probiotic which would have been very good for your daughter it contains 1 billion of them in her drink if you had let her try it..you rather give her food that has BPA and other pedicides in your fruits and veggies but a little sample that you threw away? whats wrong with you? You act like a crazy person…i feel sorry for your child if you didn’t want it send it back or give it to a starving child that needed it…

  4. Jason

    Thanks for your response, Lia. I do respect your opinion, and the fact that you took the time to reply. I only ask that you keep the tone here, a respectful one. I am neither dumb nor a lady. In hindsight, thanks to what Kat said in an earlier post, I do believe that donating it to someone else might be a better alternative. At that time, however, I simply did not feel right about offering to another parent something which I would not feed to my own daughter; in most cases, I still do.


  5. jenn

    I just received my free sample in the mail. my son is coming up on 16months here right quick. My first question before giving it to my son is if my son is in his 87% growth rate for both height and weight, should i still give him this product? he is both a healthy active boy weighing in at 30lbs and eats pretty good most days, but does have his days where hes picky and wont eat his full servings of either fruit or veggies. please someone let me know, thanks!

  6. Jason

    Hi Jenn,

    Quite frankly, I don’t know. All I can say is that the ingredients in the toddler drink sound very much like a milkshake to me. For me personally, I chose not to feed this to my daughter. We hear constantly about how we, as adults, need to be mindful of our fat and sugar intake and I feel that this advice is probably also suitable for most children.

    With that being said, there could be some instances where a high fat and sugar diet might be appropriate. I am not a doctor, and you should certainly contact your family doctor for advice. Ask questions. Ask if there are alternatives. Ask if this is the right thing for your child. If you are unsure, or find the responses confusing or ambiguous, ask for another opinion. It is not an easy decision, I know. If it’s any consolation, the previous responses to this post indicate very clearly that parents want what is best for their children. Whatever decision you make, I feel that you will do what you think is right for your child.

    I would like to open up your comment for responses from other readers.

    Hello readers, you are warmly and cordially invited (as always) to post comments. I would be very appreciative of any advice or opinions that you could offer. regarding the Gerber Graduates Toddler Drink. Do, or would you, use it? Why or why not?

    Cheers, Jason

  7. Betty

    Thank you for your post.
    My son is 13 months and I breastfeed nights and mornings and he doesn’t drink any milk, cow, pumped, goat… The only milk he was drinking was almond milk and that doesn’t offer all the nutrition, fat and calcium he needed so I opted to give one cup a day of the toddler drink, if you look at the nutrition facts and compare to whole milk you will see that is very similar in fats, sugar and carbs. I don’t give this drink as I give water but I use as a substitute of milk.
    My son isn’t a picky eater and eats a very balanced diet, he’s off chart in hight and 75% in weight – very healthy and I feel good giving his cup of “milkshake” ??

  8. Jason

    Hello Betty,

    I am glad that this product works for you and your son. It seems to work well for many, but not for me and my daughter. I still do feel that this is a product that should not be ‘blanketed’ as a great product for ALL (as it was for me through a ‘mass market’ campaign). If it works for your and your child, I am very happy that it does. My only idea here, is that it is not necessarily an ‘ideal fit’ for all and that it should not be ‘mass marketed’ as an ‘ideal’ product for ‘all’ families. Each family must take into account all of their individual factors, in consultation with their healthcare professionals, in order to determine what is best for them and their child/children. I am very happy that it seems to work for you. Wishing all of the very best of health and happiness to you and you new family. Hope to hear back from you sometime soon.

    Cheers, Jason

  9. Hilary

    Love this article. After reading the ingredients of a pediasure drink I had purchased, I was very confused as sugar was listed under the ingredients… But not mentioned on the nutrional chart? I did some digging, and come to find that, this drink, reccomened for 1-13 year olds, HAD 18 GRAMS OF SUGAR in less than a 250ml bottle!! I couldn’t believe it. Let me tell you, I tossed those in the garbage so quickly. My son is almost 13 months and still gets most of his liquids by breastfeeding. We are starting to move into enriched soy milk, lots of good things, and only 1 gram of sugar per 250ml serving. We need to be more aware of what we are feeding ourselves and our children. Open your eyes people!! Thank you.

  10. Jason

    Hi Hilary,

    Thanks for taking the time to post and for sharing your findings. I agree that awareness is very important (especially when young children are involved). In many cases, simply reading and understanding labels can help to make better informed decisions. I wish you and your family all of the very best of health and happiness. Thanks again. Hope to hear from you again sometime soon.

    Cheers, Jason @ froogalism.com

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