Meds/Lack of appetite: Does anyone have... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

CHADD's ADHD Parents Together

14,190 members4,496 posts

Meds/Lack of appetite

SurvivorFan profile image

Does anyone have any tips on how to get more calories into a super picky eater on stimulant?My almost 6 y.o son is doing pretty great on his stimulant med. We recently switched from 3 times a day ritalin to one long lasting in the am and then a short acting booster in the afternoon. It really is not an option to lose the afternoon dose at this point. We tried and he was unable to do karate (which he loves) and had really hard crash from am dose. Sleep is not an issue as med seems out of his system by 6:45pm-ish. We have seen awesome improvement at school and home life but I have definetely noticed it is harder to get enough calories in him since switching. He has always been very picky but atleast did frequent snacks throughout the day. I make sure he gets a good breakfast and more food in the later evening but am worried its not enough and would like to hopefully get a handle on it now if possible.

12 Replies

Try Pedisure. My son loved their shakes when he was younger. It was about the only way to get calories in,

Hi, My son is 5 and with his medication doesn't have much of an appetite either, we make sure he eats before his morning dose while he still has his appetite, Thankfully he can eat shortly after waking. He eats pretty healthy as in we don't do much fried or fast food, and he actually enjoys broccoli and many other fruits and veggies and has multiple daily, we usually give him a Little Debbie snack with his afternoon pill so they kind of go along together (I never in my life thought I would be okay doing that with my child lol) We've switched to real butter instead of margarine and give him the soy milk with added protein. We treat him to the Starbucks banana bread sometimes as that's nice and fatty and high calorie too Night time snacks before bed usually have more substance since he doesn't eat much for dinner peanut butter toast with butter, or a whole grain cereal with soy or almond milk that has the protein. I get worried some days that he isnt getting enough calories in but his doctor isn't worried and seems to think he's doing ok. I've heard about the Pediasure shakes as well. I used to be so concerned about his healthy eating and now I just kind a am happy when he can manage 3 solid meal in a day. I keep filling his plate with whatever he wants seconds of as long as he's eating. I know they have kids versions of protein bars my son likes those on occasion those may be good for snacks. We also adjusted our meal times a bit so he's not eating dinner so soon after his medication. Hope whatever you try works for you. Take care

SurvivorFan profile image
SurvivorFan in reply to MNmom99

Thank you for your reply:) It is helpful to hear everyones tips and tricks to see if I can get any of them to work for him. I think the biggest thing is getting a really good breakfast before meds and in the evening almost doing a second dinner for him around 7pm (we have a toddler who goes to bed then so could not wait that long for family dinner.) I also am able right now thankfully to use the I pad as motivator. I will give him an extra 5 minutes if he eats whats on his plate for lunch or snack time.

We have the same problem with our 5 y/o - 6 in July, (although our Paed says she's fine weight-wise on the scale of things).

I've found she likes "softer things".

So instead of a ton of snacks (like crackers or yoghurt rice cakes), I make her an extra sandwich for her lunch box. She has real butter with mayo & 1 cheese slice (1 slice, two is too "gluggy & gets stuck..."), I have to cut into tiny baby pieces since her SPD does not like biting or touching things too much - so the tiny pieces are just popped into her mouth & there's no fiddly or messy bits that are not bitten off the larger sandwich properly etc (I know, I know, but what else to do!!??).

Examples are:

* Yoghurt pouch, over yoghurt cup. Cup too messy potentially.

* Raspberries, over strawberries (does not like S once cut). I even wrap the raspberries in a tiny piece of paper towel, so they don't "sweat" so picky - but it works!

* Very easy to drink water bottle. For e.g. Camelback was too hard to suck! Contigo was best option for us - almost like a regular straw.

* Not a huge fan of the Pediasure flavour - but blended with ice & a banana usually gets 'some' into her.

* We have one of those bento box style lunch boxes. I do my best to make it look as appetising as possible when she opens t - ANYTHING to entice the sensation of hunger.

We do the same as y'all - feed her a ton at breakfast & at dinner.

Poor sweet, babies. I feel guilty every day, when it's medicine time :(

Meds are:

* Intuniv - 24 hours (at waking)

* Ritalin LA - 8 hours (just before leaving for school)

* Clonidine - 3 hours (1 hour before bedtime)

Diagnosed at 3.5 yrs:


* SPD ( sensory seeking)

* ODD :(

Good luck, any other tips, I would love to hear, please.

God bless our precious Littles! xoxo

Our son takes 2 mg of Cyproheptadine in the morning when he wakes up and 2 mg late afternoon to help with appetite. We always have the carnation protein shakes in the fridge and some days he can drink 3 of those. We try to get snacks in him every chance we can. When he first started on Focalin about 18 months ago his appetite also disappeared quickly and he got very skinny, looked unhealthy. He was 8 years old and weighed only 50 lbs. He has now gained about 12-13 lbs in almost a year!

SurvivorFan profile image
SurvivorFan in reply to Swede82

Thank you for the info! Definetely something to keep in mind if it becomes more of a serious issue. My kiddo is 44lbs - dropped about 2 lbs since starting meds in August

It really is so hard knowing when your giving them the med it is helping so much but at the same time messing with their appetite. I have also tried pediasure in the past for him and he did not care for it. I found a vanilla high protein shake at the grocery store lastnight and then mixed half of that with regular milk and put it in his regular glass lastnight. I held my breath as he took that first drink but he didn't even notice! If I were to have shown him the bottle first of something new it would have been a flat out "NO" 🤦 Now tonight I can show/tell him and he will say "oh you were right mom" lol. Little stinker!

Thankfully he really likes cheese so cheese sticks are a big push at snack time. I found whole milk ones that are 100cal a stick.

Who ever thought we would be counting calories for our kids?

I am new here and asked a similar question about my 11 yr old grandson who is way too thin and can't eat much. I got a lot of tips. But I also just noticed there is a menu of previous conversation subjects to the right of my screen, which you can click on and find other's posts on the same subject and get even more input.Here is what I have collected so far....

Timing of course, eat before pill in morning and allow night time eating and snacking whenever they want.

Supplements for chocolate milk type drinks, smoothies, milkshakes etc.

"breakfast essentials" drink mix, choc, vanilla, strawberry

"Orgain" chocolate protein shakes on Amazon, chocolate fudge flavor

Insurance can sometimes pay for a nutritionist

Psychiatrists have more ideas about med options that the family doctor

Smoothies with banana, peanut butter, almond milk, and protein powder. Alternatively whole milk or ice cream

Drops for under the tongue that increase appetite-"Cyproheptadine"

whole cheese, whole milk

Good luck!

a grandma

I did not know about that option to click on similar questions either😊 Thanks for typing out all those tips for me! I never really thought about making a smoothie for him but I think its a great idea to try

My son struggles with the same thing and we make sure that he eats a big breakfast right around the time he takes his Vyvanse. We have also switched to Fairlife milk due to its higher protein content. Our pediatrician suggested Premier Protein or Instant Breakfast if he has no desire to eat lunch. Then we try to get him to eat a healthy dinner. It is a lot of trial and error trying to figure out what will work.

Barilla Plus pastas are made with legumes and have a ton of protein. The flavor close to regular pasta and my picky guys both love it.

I started my all of a sudden no eater because of meds on Ensure. It helped alot!

You may also like...