Food recommendations for kids who won’t eat on meds

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    • #40172
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user jschmidtgoes in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      My two sons have ADHD — both on medication.  They have significant loss of appetite. We’ve tried time shifting meals but it hasn’t worked. They are never hungry.

      Any suggestions for an easy way to get healthy, dense calories in them? Food or meal replacements that they might eat?

    • #42623
      Kevin Ju

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      We had this problem with my son when he was younger (puberty seems to override it and now he eats like a horse). Here are some things I did to combat weight loss when it was an issue:

      1. Protein shakes for breakfast—made them with whole milk, whole milk ice cream, peanut butter, and protein powder (watch the sugar). If your child will let you, add a banana too.

      2. Add mayo, sauces, and gravy to food as much as possible.

      3. Use full-fat versions of milk, butter, mayo, etc…

      4. Protein bars or similar are small but can pack a big nutrient punch (read labels).

      We tried this for about a year, it kept him from losing weight, but he still wasn’t gaining. So his doctor prescribed cyproheptadine, an old allergy medicine often used with ADHD meds to stimulate appetite. He gained at least 10 lbs the next year and was no longer underweight.

      Here’s more on combating the weight loss side effects:

      Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to pre-teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #42661
      Kevin Ju

      This reply was originally posted by user Jennb88 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.


      I was recommended to try the Shamrock Farms Rockin Refuel milks that have about 20g of protein and easy to drink. I have a hard time with texture and finding things to eat between my busy work and school schedule and found that if I leave one of these in the fridge at work that I’m likely to at least have something when I can’t get to more ‘real food’.

      Does your child like burritos or things of that nature? You can always try things in a crockpot that shred up for easy eating and packing. I find that I’m more likely to eat when I have left-overs for work than if I have nothing and have to make a last minute decision for lunch at work from scratch.

      Of course the work reference don’t 100% apply but I figured I’d try to offer something.

      Also in regards to the comment above mine – I appreciate the information. I am an adult with ADD/ADHD and still struggle constantly to get food in my system. I will have to ask about that medication as well as doing more research on the articles you provided.

      Thank you.

    • #42678
      Kevin Ju

      This reply was originally posted by user KCanino16 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      My son is 6, but a size 8 husky, he is pretty solid with muscles as he’s always active and does karate.
      He used to snack every two hours, now he goes a few hours without wanting to eat. I am going to try the protein shakes in a thermos for him for morning snack and one in his lunch bag along with his regular lunch.

      I am also adding lots of protein bars to his snack bag as he goes to an after school program and know he will be hungry when he gets there (since he may not eat a lot at school).

      Thanks for the tips adhdmomma

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