When Meds Affect Appetite
4. Don't worry about sweets. Let the kid indulge a bit, particularly if sweets are delivered with nutrients. "The belief that sugar makes kids more hyper is a myth," says Ayoob. "If anything, it calms them down because it releases serotonin in the brain. Hyperactive kids are hyperactive because they have a neurological disorder, not because of what they eat. "Make sweets count by packing them with nutrients.
Carrot cake, or cookies with peanut butter, nuts and raisins are excellent choices. "Ice cream also provides calories with nutrients," says Ayoob. "In this situation, don't worry about the fats. Sometimes more fat is necessary to provide sufficient calories if the child is unable to eat larger portions." Modify your recipes to increase calories and nutrients.
5. If you bake, substitute evaporated milk for whole milk. It serves the same purpose with double the nutrients. Add nuts and raisins to muffins and other baked goods. Use whole grain flour instead of white. Include a dollop of evaporated milk in milk shakes. Sprinkle in some powdered milk when making custards. If your child insists on jello, use milk instead of water.
6. Don't worry about school lunch. "It's something over which you have no control," says Ayoob. "And if your child has had a packed breakfast, what they eat or don't eat at school matters a lot less."
7. Make vegetables count by increasing their calorie content. Smother a baked potato or broccoli with melted cheese.
8. If the rest of your family uses low-fat salad dressing, set aside a portion for your child that has dressing with a higher fat and calorie count.
9. Keep nutritious snacks ready for middle-of-the night refrigerator raids. Children who take ritalin get hungry at unexpected times. Keep bowls of nuts and raisins around the house-even in your child's room.
And since parents often report finding their youngsters raiding the fridge after midnight, make sure it is filled with the right temptations, such as custard, yogurt, carrot cake, and raisin bread. "You can even prepare a plate for your child filled with the foods he likes," Dr. Ayoob suggests. "Include meats, cheeses, pasta, whole grain bread, and dessert." If you put it in the refrigerator before bedtime, often you'll find it's gone the next morning.
10. Don't argue about food, and provide positive reinforcement when children do eat. Your child may develop a negative association with food, which only adds to the problem.
Instead, encourage him to eat right by purchasing and serving nutrient-rich foods, adjust to their idiosyncratic eating schedule, be flexible, and relax. Your child isn't refusing food just to drive you crazy!