Do Bodybuilders REALLY Eat Baby Food? 4 Reasons Explained

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From drinking blended chicken breast to dry scooping creatine, bodybuilders are known to do some wacky things in the pursuit of gains. But do they REALLY eat baby food? If so, why? Let’s review the four primary reasons.

Key Takeaways

  • Bodybuilders are known to eat baby food to satisfy their sweet tooth without adding too many calories to their overall daily total.
  • Baby food is an excellent option before, during, and after training, as it provides fast-digesting carbs to support performance (including during longer workouts) and replenishes some of the energy (glycogen) lost during a workout.
  • Although it’s uncommon, some bodybuilders use baby food as meal replacements in a cutting phase. This is a dangerous practice since consuming a low-calorie diet (<1,200 cal) lacks essential nutrients. 

Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Baby Food? 4 Reasons

why do bodybuilders eat baby food?

Weight Loss

One reasons why bodybuilders use baby food is as a snack during weight loss phases. 

Baby food typically comes in small, portable containers, which makes it convenient to carry around and allows for better portion control.

Plus, certain baby foods (like fruit purees) are sweet but don’t contain added sugar. This makes them relatively low in calories but fantastic for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Also, certain brands include the nutritional information per container, making it extra convenient to track your calories and macros.

Baby food can be helpful since weight loss comes down to creating and sustaining a calorie deficit (ingesting less energy than you burn through movement, BMR, and food digestion).

However, solely relying on baby food is not a good idea. Here’s some insight from registered dietitian Chrissy Carroll:

“By swapping meals for baby food, people are promised quick weight loss. It’s tough to meet nutrient needs while eating mostly purees, though. Experts agree it’s best to leave those for the babies and focus on smaller portions of normal meals for sustainable weight loss.”

Fewer Stomach Problems 

Baby food is simple and easy to digest. Since babies’ digestive tract is still in development when baby food is introduced (generally after 4-6 months of only having breast milk or formula), the formula needs to be according to their needs. 

This makes it an ideal food to include for those with digestive issues. 

Bodybuilders who often have trouble digesting food have been preaching the wonderful benefits of using baby food to add to their meals without digestive problems. 

Energy Boost During Workouts 

Workouts lasting more than 90 minutes can deplete your energy reserves and generate a lot of muscle fatigue, leading to a reduction in performance.

This is particularly common for bodybuilding-style training, where lifters do numerous high-rep sets to target and isolate muscle groups.

In such cases, an intra-workout snack can provide an energy boost to help you perform better and hopefully provide a stronger muscle stimulus.

Baby food can be a good intra-workout snack because it provides fast-digesting carbs to sustain you. Plus, since it’s easy to digest, you’re unlikely to experience any stomach discomfort.

Maggie Morgan, a Certified Nutrition Coach, says:

“Baby food is a fast-acting, simple carbohydrate source that will provide your muscles with energy in the form of glucose. Glucose is the first thing that your body will look for to use as fuel during high-intensity training. Baby food is also very easy to digest, and without any fiber or fat, the glucose will be able to fuel your muscles quickly. Athletes should eat baby food 30 minutes prior to or during a high-intensity workout”

Is Baby Food Good For Bulking?

The energy content of baby food could vary from 50-150 calories, depending on the brand and the type. On average, a male bodybuilder in a bulking phase could need 3,000-3,500+ calories, while women might need 2,500-2,800+ calories. 

So, baby food alone would not be enough for a typical bulking meal unless you’re okay with eating several jars to add up the calories.

Additionally, even if it is made from natural ingredients, it is not the same as eating fresh food. You might lack essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. 

However, if you eat baby food to add extra calories to your meals (i.e., you eat your regular meal and then just have a jar of baby food on the side), it can help you with bulking. 

If you are having a difficult time eating enough calories, baby food can help you add extra energy without making you feel as full. 

Is Baby Food Good For Cutting?

Relying on baby food alone during a cut is not a good idea because you wouldn’t get enough protein (at least 1.6 grams per kilogram) and you would spend far more money.

Also, baby food might not be filling enough because of the low fiber. One of the benefits of fiber is that since it cannot be digested, it stays longer in your stomach, making you feel fuller. 

Since baby food is low in fiber, you won’t get this satiating effect, which results in you feeling hungry during the day.

That said, you can still add some baby food to your weight loss diet because it’s easy to track and portion control. Plus, fruit purees can satisfy your sweet tooth.

How To Use Baby Food Appropriately 

how to use baby food appropriately

Don’t Substitute Your Food 

Never substitute your regular food (e.g., chicken, veggies, oatmeal, and avocado) for baby food. If you only have baby food, you run the risk of nutrient deficiencies. 

If you are going to add baby food to your diet, think of it as a compliment or an addition. It is not meant to replace a meal. 

Sweet Treat 

For those looking for a sweet treat, having some baby food can help you satisfy that craving without consuming too many calories. 

You can have some apple puree with cinnamon for a low-calorie apple pie replacement. 

Before, During, or After Workouts 

You need carbs to provide energy for your training sessions. Research recommends having a gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight an hour or two before training.

If you weigh 70 kilograms (154 lbs), aim for 70 grams of carbs.

You can have some baby food before your workout to provide that energy. 

Additionally, for bodybuilders who have training sessions longer than 90 minutes, I always recommend adding a carb in the middle of the workout. 

Baby food is often a choice I provide them since it has carbs and is easy to digest. Opt for fruit-based baby foods. 

After a workout, you need carbs to replenish the energy (glycogen) lost during the workout. Adding baby food can help you replenish some of that lost energy. 

Remember that you also need a protein source––aim for 0.3 to 0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight after training. For example, you can have some protein (like chicken or a protein shake) along with a couple of jars of baby food. 

Use It In Baking 

Another way of using baby food is to reduce the butter content in some baking goods. 

You can substitute butter for applesauce to make them lower in saturated fats (which may be harmful for cardiovascular health at high doses ). 

Replace the exact amount of butter with applesauce, or check out this recipe from Oatmeal With A Fork to help you out in the process. 

Use It As A Sauce 

Finally, for those who want to add some variety to their foods, you can add baby food as a sauce option. 

If you don’t have a lot of time for cooking but don’t want to have high-calorie sauces, you can use baby food. 

It can save you time in cooking and can make a dry chicken breast into something juicier and tastier. 

Final Recommendation: Should You Eat Baby Food Too?

If you are thinking of replacing your meals with baby food to shed those extra pounds, adding baby food would not be a healthy choice. 

You’d severely restrict yourself both in calories and micronutrients. This can result in weight loss, but not the kind that you want, as rapid weight loss often leads to the loss of hard-earned muscle.

The lack of micronutrients can increase the risk of deficiencies that can affect your health, well-being, and gym performance.

Аs health writer Elizabeth S. Mitchell notes:

“While having just baby food for breakfast, lunch, and any snacks might still provide some essential vitamins and minerals and some calories, operating at this type of a calorie and nutrition deficit isn’t sustainable. Baby food jars are portioned for babies, not to fulfill the dietary and nutritional needs of full grown people.”

However, baby food as an addition to your balanced and healthy diet can be a practical option. For those bulking, adding baby food can help you reach those extra calories you need. 

For weight loss, it can be a convenient way to track your nutrition and satisfy your sweet tooth without eating too many calories.


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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.

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