How to get a picky-eater to eat?

I just need advice. We don’t know if it’s healthy or unhealthy. We don’t know what to do about it, if we should do anything about it at all. My step son is 4, just turned. The last year or so it has been such a struggle to get him to eat… He eats but it takes him 2 hours to even get 3/4 of the way done, at first we were letting him take as long as he needed, but at his 4 year check up we were told he hasnt gained any weight in the last 6 months. Literally no weight at all. Hes been 31 pounds since 3 years and 6 months old… Well anyway we had done some reading that said he isn’t getting the right nutritional intake when he takes that long to eat. :pensive: He is so small. Smaller than kids we know that are younger than him… Or kids that are just a little older that him twice the size. Our son together is literally half his height and weight but he is only 6 MONTHS… please any helpful advice would be grand…


Has he been tested? Has doc mentioned “failure to thrive”? I would definitely see if there is a medical reason why he is not gaining. Does he have a lot of energy? Maybe try smaller meals throughout the day. Let him graze all day as opposed to sitting down for full meals.


You could get some chocolate flavored shakes. Or what ever flavor he likes. And make sure he has one with every meal.

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Have you tried giving him protein shakes between meals or something like that he might think he is getting a chocolate milk treat I will talk to the doctor about this see what they recommend and go from there

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Be careful with the protein shakes. I tried that for my daughter and she would only drink those. If I tried to withhold until she ate some, she just sat until I caved. Hope you find a solution.


Try pedisure or make smoothies with extra fruits and veggies also is he taking a multivitamin if not he needs to start on one


My child has cystic fibrosis so weight gain has always been an issue. You can give him boost shakes for kids and possibly your doctor could prescribe even higher caloric shakes for him… Add butter to things for calories and cheese. For us we finally agreed to a feeding tube and my son gets a lot of calories at night which has enabled him to get tall and gain weight… Your doctor should be helping you


What is his poop like? Is he healthy otherwise? Could he be having malabsorption?

Our son drinks a lot of chocolate milk also…

My sister had this struggle with her middle child. Shes 4 and about the same size as my 2 year old. Her kids are off the charts except the youngest she sits in the 0%. One thing to consider is you and the dads build. My sister is 5’1" and her husband is 5’4" so of course the kids aren’t tall.

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My daughter is two and a very selective eater. VERY! I give her carnation instant breakfast before bed and brushing teeth. She loves it. Calls it Choc choc and its full of nutrients. I’ve taken her to feeding pgm at children’s hospital and to a gi doctor. No one knows why she does this. It’s upsetting and scary. She literally eats cheese puffs, chips, m&m’s, French fries and nuggets sometimes and American cheese. That’s it. Other food she gags on.

Please having him evaluated by a speech pathologist specializing in feeding therapy. They can evaluate for sensory or skill deficits that could be why he is having challenges. Feeding therapy works! Best of luck, mama


Talk to the Dr. My best friends son had to have what she calls a G-tube implant in his stomach. She has to feed him thru it. He occasionally eats on his own, but was so small and loosing weight that the Dr decided this was neeeded

My daughter is prescribed pediasure. 60 cans a month 2 each day. She’s 5 weighs 30lbs and is 38 in tall. Look into it. Also see if he likes being fed like a baby see if he lets you feed him. Also have him checked for ADHD maybe he’s easily distracted and can’t focus on eating.

Are his tonsils and adenoids large? That actually prevented a couple of mine from eating things until they got them removed.

Tv off- no drinks until he finishes

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Y’all should incorporate making them at least “giving different foods a taste” because they say that they don’t like it. Don’t give in so easily.
Give peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Or peanut butter crackers.
Some of them it just seems like y’all are just letting them choose what they want and that’s it. Y’all are enabling your kids to be “picky eaters”…

What kind of food does he eat? Try giving him snacks with lots of value nutrition in small amounts at a time. If ask doc what they recommend for baby, see what they think about the weight. My daughter is 2 and weighs 31lbs. She’s became picky and has actually lost a lb. Talk to your doc about seeing a nutritionist

Have you tried pediasure or milk shakes with fruit in them ?

Pediasure can help. Also, my siblings had troubles with this as well (very skinny and didn’t eat much). We would give them a meal and if they didn’t eat it, we would save it for the next meal until they caved and ate it. I also would bribe with fruit smoothies (their favorite and still being healthy). You can also put some protein powder in those smoothies for added nutritional value.
Also, if their is a good they love to eat, there are ways to disguise nutrients in those foods to get them to eat healthier without them knowing and helping them gain weight.

Mine is almost 2, and he’s still drinking formula because he hates 9/10 most food. Following bc same :pray:

Have a gastric emptying study done to see if his food is digesting appropriately

My son has adhd and the meds make him not hungry so he wasn’t gaining any weight in the beginning. We started pediasure and making him smoothies, he’s been steadily gaining weight ever since. I know some insurance may cover pediasure if you’re dr will write a script for it because it is expensive. Now he’s off the pediasure but he has full fat yogurt, homo milk and I make sure he has a big healthy breakfast and dinner, he’s not a big lunch eater.

He might just be small. Mine hadn’t hit 30lbs going into kindergarten. Did end up putting my foot down about taking forever to eat. Dinner time is for eating not screwing around. Like she gained a few ounces in 2 years and then she gained 13lbs in a year.


What does the pediatrician think. Is he on his growth curve?

Is his Doctor concerned? Don’t make eating stressful because that can lead to issues down the road. People come in all different shapes and sizes and right now he’s small. That doesn’t mean as he gets older that won’t change. If Doctor is concerned they will direct you on what you can do. If it’s not a medical problem then maybe a nutritionist can advise you.


Pediasure shakes that are made specifically for weight gaining.

If you’re concerned, talk with his pediatrician and maybe a dietitian and I’d try an allergist and a gastroenterologist to get to the bottom of it.
Other than that he may just be a little guy :woman_shrugging:t2: my youngest son is. He will always be smaller than average. The “average” they compare them to isn’t a standard weight/height to set at goals. Not everyone is standard. We are humans not robots. When he’s hungry he will eat I promise. If it makes you feel better then go get some pediasure shakes and give him 1-2 a day.
Other than that, like I said… I wouldn’t try to mold him to what ever “standard” or “average” expected until its been more than 6 months or even a year. Some kids just go through this.

Take him to a spevialist, why are you asking people on fb there not specialist and your getting a bunch of people who don’t know any more than you do


Do you allow him to snack? Or maybe offer a desert if he finishes X amount of food?

My 2 year old is 38lbs and 3ft tall. He eats mostly fruits and pastas/soups with veggies.
His favorite snacks are puffed Cheetos and raisins, and of course more fruit lmao.

But I’d try incentive and more snacks for sure

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See if he will drink Pediassure. Offer him nutritious snacks between meals (no junk). My youngest ate very little and very slowly. I worried until I realized that she ate like a bird - a little bit, all the time.

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My daughter does that get him checked for dysphagia asap!

Have you tried giving him drinks like ensure? They have them for kids. We used to give my daughter those three meals a day along with the food that she got for her meals. My daughter was very picky and difficult.

Pediasure helped give our son a boost on gaining and eating. He gained and then started eating really well. It worked for us at least. Now we give him a multivitamin. Hope you guys get him sorted out!

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Try pediasure. You can make them into a smoothie using ice and fruit or even veggies. Like 2 a day. You can also make your own smooties, get online and look up healthy smootie recipes for kids. My nieces were both like this. The youngest is still like this at 4. Some kids just aren’t interested in food. Try some healthy shakes and definitely pediasure

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usually their dr can order labs, or make referrals to see what’s going on.

Definitely need to see a new doctor.


Pediasure and a gummy multi vitamin. I say gummy because kids often think it’s candy and will be more willing to eat it. Maybe try a reward system. Like if he eats he gets a quarter or dollar, sticker, a few m&ms etc. Sometimes if you include them in helping make the meal they are more willing to eat it or if you look up kid friendly recipes they make cute animals or shapes out of the food they are more willing to eat. My son is extremely picky some days and other days he devours everything. It can be so frustrating when they don’t eat but be patient. Hopefully he out grows it. Just try positive reinforcement and whatever you do don’t show negative emotions in front of him when your frustrated that he isn’t eating. You do NOT want him associating negative feeling towards food!

My son was about 40 lbs from age 4-9. He was the tinyest kid in school, but ate like a dump truck… as long as the kids eating they will hit a growth spurt

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Take him to a gastro. My mom has the same problem and her stomach muscles don’t work like they should so she feels full constantly and has actually lost 100lbs because of this. It may honestly not be something he can control.


Give him a daily multivitamin.

Pediasure can help.
But you may want to see a Gastro Peds Dr and a nutritionist.
There’s a reason he’s not eating.
Keep a journal of what he eats, when and how long it takes. That’ll help the Dr’s more so than just telling them.
I can make a value meal into 2 meals, I’ve always been like that. I eat throughout the day but in really small amounts.
You can try breaking the meals in half and letting him eat every 3hrs or so. Cut out snacks and have him drink water. The water helps with digestion. :relaxed:
It’s probably nothing serious but definitely look into a specialist to make sure. :two_hearts:

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Talk to ur drs but feed him what he likes p & j Ms mavaronn Cheerios make it fun shape s

Is his doctor concerned? Is he healthy? My son was always in the 10-25 percentile at that age and at two different points in single digit age, wore the same size for two years. Now he’s 5’8" at 16 years of age. I personally wouldn’t stress over no growth for 6 months unless he’s not healthy.

maybe try offering smaller meals more frequently?

My son is 5 and 32lbs. Pedisure, ensure, nothing helped him gain. He’s been the same for almost 2 years.


Vitamins should help too.

Talk to your pediatrician, my son went thru the same thing. The doctor can prescribe pediasure so insurance can pay for it because it can get expensive. Also ask about a GI doctor if the weight gain doesnt significantly increase in a few months. The GI docs greatly helped my son. He went from 0% to 40% in a year and grew an inch! Good luck!

Try and get him in to see a child dietitian in the mean time Try giving him smaller portions followed by his favourite treat, yogurt, jelly a little chocolate bar or something like that, but more often, in between meals if he fancies a snack give him some chunks of cheese of things that are high in carbs and calories I had to do the same with one of my boys, he soon picked up with his eating habits and now hed eat constantly if I let him lol

My daughter wasn’t even that big at that age so we talked with the doctor and started her on Pedisure. One of the best decisions that we’ve made! If your pediatrician see’s the need for it they can even write a prescription and some insurances and WIC will pay for it.

He might have growth hormone deficiency

I do home child care. My baby is a chunker. She was 9 lbs, 3 oz at birth and continues to be a big girl even at 18 months. I have a 2.5 and 3.5 year old in care as well. My daughter was in a bigger size diaper than the 2.5 year old at one point. The 2.5 year old is tall and slender, so you can’t really compare child to child. All kids have their percentiles and as long as they stay near that, they’re fine.

What I find odd is how long he’s taking to eat. I’ve never seen that in my 6.5 years of doing child care. Some are picky and just won’t eat much, but they’ll indicate they’re done or start playing with the food or something to let you know they’re finished. If it’s taking him that long to physically eat a meal, that sounds like mouth / tongue coordination issues. Good luck!

Get a comprehensive parasite test done. If he has parasites (which are very common) treat him with some pararid from also, go to the health food store and buy him a good food based organic multivitamin, some probiotics and DHA. Then switch him to organic foods. They have a much higher vitamin and mineral content. I’ll show you in pics below…

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1 more suggestion. Sit with him and feed him. Encourage him. (He may have anxiety about eating)

My almost 13 year old is 62 lbs. He barely gains weight.

Pediasure, other children’s drinks , have checked for parasites, feeding tube , vitamins , make smoothies and add veggies

Does anyone in your family history have Celiac Disease, it’s worth getting checked out to see if he has the genetic markers