Neonatal malnutrition is associated with several features of the metabolic syndrome, later in life. Although the recovery of malnutrition was studied with different high-fat diets, few studies compare the effects of enriched vegetable oil diets, containing PUFA and MUFA, after weaning. Our aim was to evaluate the recovery with soya oil- or rapeseed oil-enriched diet, after malnutrition in rats whose mothers were food restricted (FR) during lactation. Dams were 50 % FR and compared to standard diet-fed dams (control, C). At 21 d, FR offspring had a lower body mass and length. After weaning C and FR offspring were fed a diet containing 7 % soya oil (7 %sC and 7 %sFR), or supplemented with 19 % soya oil (19 %sC or 19 %sFR) or 19 % rapeseed oil (19 %cC or 19 %cFR). The normal animals fed enriched vegetable oil diets had more visceral fat mass, but lower serum TAG and higher HDL-cholesterol. The 19 %FR groups showed significantly less food intake and body development compared to the 7 %sFR, and the same pattern was observed when this group was compared to the C groups. Absolute and relative mass of vital organs and body were lower in the FR groups. Visceral fat depot was lower in 19 %FR than 7 %FR and C groups. Serum glucose, albumin, TAG, cholesterol, leptin and triiodothyronine did not show significant changes. However, 19 %FR groups showed higher HDL-cholesterol and the 19 %sFR group showed lower serum thyroxine. The data suggest that a higher vegetable oil diet in the recovery of neonatal malnutrition ameliorates some features of the metabolic syndrome later in life.