My son is 7 and has ADHD he is on a medication patch which suppresses his appetite he is a picky eater he loves fruit but that doesn’t help with his weight he also doesn’t like peanut butter or dressings do you have any suggestions on how I can help him gain weight?
Thank you, Jennifer
Good Afternoon Jennifer,
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and reach out to us for advice on your son’s appetite. ADHD medication can definitely effect a person’s hunger and satiety cues and throw a normal eating pattern off track. If you son doesn’t enjoy adding dressings or dips to his fruits I would encourage you to offer him fruits with the highest amount of sugar and calories: dried fruit!! (just 2Tbsp dried fruit=1 lg. apple), raisins, dates, bananas, fruit juice. If your son is not a fan of savory dips perhaps he might be a fan of a sweet dip? A yummy, high calcium dip you might try includes 1/4c cream cheese + 1Tbsp dark brown sugar. This dip is commonly used as a substitute for caramel because it offers calcium, protein, and healthy sugars vs pure processed sugar.
I would also recommend using full-fat foods with him. No low-fat or reduced-fat foods. The same goes for sugar-free and reduced-sugar: to stay on the healthier side, choose no-sugar-added. This little bump in calories may seem insignificant now but over the course of time it will add up and may prevent further weight loss. Adding high calorie foods to meals is also a good trick. Adding things like sauces to your protein, cheese to your veggies and protein, and using butter and oil vs non-stick spray will add up as well. If you find that this advice just doesn’t do it for your son and his appetite is still low, it would be best to offer him a nutrition supplement such as Boost or Ensure. These drinks contain a good amount of protein, vitamins/minerals, calcium, fats, and carbohydrate. At the end of the day, if your son just isn’t getting enough food – calories are the number one priority and these shakes will help get your son the energy he needs.
I hope this helps Jennifer!!
Malia Cable, RDN
Essential Nutrition- Eating Disorders Dietitian
Weld County School District 6 – School Nutrition Dietitian