Liquid Diet for a kid?

I’m sure this could feel controversial, so please bear with me while I explain.

My son is about to go through his 5th reconstructive surgery as he was born with a double cleft lip and palate. We’re waiting to hear for sure, but as this one means a bone graft it could end in his jaw being wired shut and a liquid only diet for a minimum of a month.

Huel came to mind tonight and I just wanted to ask, for a 9 year old would this be a very good or very bad idea?

I’m just a worried momma trying to think of a way to get him the nutrients he needs while he heals up. So please, no hate. If it’s a horrible idea, I won’t do it, plain and simple. Figured I should at least ask.

Hey Ahna,

We have an article here which should help you out.

In summary 500kcal a day from Huel is fine for your child.

I wish him the best of luck in his recovery!

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A very sensible question to ask and no, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty. Thank goodness there are options like Huel to address you son’s needs during his recovery. And what a brave soldier - I hope his surgery and recovery goes well. My only thought about using Huel as he recovers is you may need to thin it out so it can be taken easily by a straw, and talk to him in advance about flavorings he might like to try!


500 kcal is insufficient daily calories for a 7-10 year old. That link identifies that this is only 25% of needs.

That article doesn’t explain WHY these less-than-complete nutritional amounts are recommended.

He doesn’t say it’s all the calories to be consumed, but rather:

“500kcal a day FROM Huel” meaning that although Huel can not replace the entirety of the child’s calories, 500 calories of the child’s daily requirements can come from Huel and the rest is expected to be filled in by other food sources. Which, I think is a rather safe limit to have for children considering Huel has been known to have effects on the digestion of adults and those same issues would only be exacerbated on a child’s digestive system.


When my daughter was looking for something similar for my grandson she found some good, kid specific, options, healthier than the Pediasure. He didn’t wind up using it, so I don’t recall the brand name. If you have a health food chain like Whole Foods you can see what they have. You can do 500 of Huel and make up the difference with the next best option.

My best to you and your little man.

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Yeah, normal circumstances where your child needs breakfast before school… get 500 calories from Huel and eat school lunch and whatever for dinner

The OP is asking about a child with their jaw wired shut for 2+ months. What “other food” is going to be as nutritionally complete as Huel… and also fit through a straw?

There are several posts in this forum about people who use 100% Huel for months or years. Why is that not advised for the duration of healing from extensive reconstruction surgery?

Ex: too much phytoestrogens in soy-based Soylent might interfere with normal prepubescent hormone development; i can understand that.

What part of Huel negatively impacts a 9 year old such that the company specifically advises only 500kcal from their product that is generally regarded as safe for 100% of an adult’s nutrition?

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@Maria has got it, thank you for explaining.

The nutritional requirements of children differ from that of an adult. Huel is nutritionally complete based on the nutritional requirements of an adult therefore is not suitable for 100% of a child’s diet. This is explained in the article I linked to above.

I don’t see where it is explained.

“If your child has health issues, we recommend you consult your doctor or relevant clinical professional before allowing them to consume Huel Products.”

That’s effectively a disclaimer to consult a professional because there is little information on how the suggested amount of calories is 25%, even though the protein and carb RDA for children older than 4 is the same as adults.

Whatever, it’s not my issue. The OP was almost asking if Huel would work as a solution for her 9 year old on a liquid diet for 2+ months… the answer to have up to 500 kcal of Huel “is fine” if the remaining calories come from other food would not be satisfactory to me. However, she hasn’t commented since the first post, so I yield.

In the same paragraph you quoted from “As upper safe limits for vitamins and minerals in children haven’t been evaluated, we suggest children consume Huel Products up to around the recommended requirement levels for their age.”

I’ve been lurking and reading. I only haven’t commented because I wanted to get as much information as possible. His doctors will suggest things such as soup broth and such so I may supplement the rest with similar items. I’m just concerned at this point because he has a bad habit of, if he doesn’t like something, he forces himself to throw up and if they wire his jaw shut this could be a serious problem. But he hasn’t done it in awhile so I’m hoping its a non-issue now. Most of my concerns at this point are things I’ll have to go over with him and his doctor.

Thank you everyone for all your help and input! Thank you especially for being so kind in it all, I was honestly concerned about responses I might get (being the internet, we know how badly things can go sometimes). Thank you so much!

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Forcing himself to throw up when he doesn’t like a food is not a bad habit. It’s a treatable eating disorder.

Don’t jump to conclusions here. Cleft palates are often (but not always) associated with cognitive impairments, developmental delays, etc. In other words, a cleft palate can be part of a syndrome. Her child may have other medical issues and the forced vomiting wouldn’t be treatable in the typical sense. Whether the cleft palate is an isolated issue or not, I’m quite sure the OP has explored this issue with her son’s team. Just a caution not to assume from someone in the field of genetics.

I came across Might be worth a read. I say it’s more palatable than those - but that’s me. I mean, when I was a teen I ate yogurt and orange juice and my parents complained that I’m on a liquid diet - but honestly - it’s the easiest stuff to eat (and I ended up a healthy person). Solid food just doesn’t cut it (for an athletic lifestyle and for better/faster absorption when I was going through growth spurts). So people go on liquid diets for various needs, but I could say that as long as it’s an adequate nutritionally, it’s fine - it’s still food in the end.