My 7-year-old doesn't eat much: Advice?

My almost 7-year-old daughter barely eats. Her reasons vary from not being hungry, not to like what it is. However, what she doesn’t like changes with the wind. I have noticed that if she has something in her head that she wants to eat, she will give us a hard time about other foods that she normally would like. Today she has a bowl of cereal, a 3rd of a frozen mac n cheese Marie Callender’s for lunch, and then I gave her some pork(size of her fist), mashed potatoes (just as big), and six roasted carrots. She did not finish her dinner. With that little amount of food, I don’t understand how she isn’t starving! We have tried everything. She has a list of three foods that she picked that she doesn’t have to eat. We eliminated junk food as snacks and replaced with healthy things like fruit (won’t eat them even when she picked them), We did smaller portions…we have tried to make sure she has food she likes, but with how sudden it changes, we can’t keep up. I am beginning to think this problem runs deeper than just being picky. There are days she comes home with shaking hands because she “didn’t like” the food offered at school and aftercare. Packed meals have also gone untouched. She has plenty of room for snacks and junk, though! Anyone else has similar experiences? What should we do?


My kids tried these games until all the snacks n junk good was cut off…completly…until the eating habits changed…n they will, she nos if she dont eat her meals she will get other fillers…


My kids went through that. They’ll eat when hungry.


Stop giving her snacks, junk foods. Limit to one a day. Give her whatever everyone else eats. Shell eat or get hungry and eat at next meal. You’re coddling her. She’s manipulating you.


No snacks, if she doesnt finish a meal, she gets it for the next meal. I dont play those “I dont like it” game in my house at all. The saying here is, “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!” All my older kids (3-7) know it. If you refuse dinner, you go to bed hungry.


pedisure will help a lot

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When I feel my kids arent eating enough we give them boost kids essentials. We try and push food but if they wont eat we will give them one afterward…before long I notice their appetite increases and they go back to eating normal.

My kids do this… I get pediasure grow and go for them to drink so they still get the nutrients

Sounds like plenty to me

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If you have always given her junk food and all of the sudden stopped and decided she needs less junk that’s the problem. Stick with a no junk food policy and she will eat.

Don’t make an issue out of it. Kids are like that and if you try to push the issue too much it’s likely to get worse. They’ll eat when they’re hungry and they eventually expand their food choices.


Yes pediasure also since iv started pediasure iv felt that my son gets hungry n ask for food

Have you talked to dr about it ? Blood tests to see if everything is ok and maybe try a daily vitamin - I have a kid that has a hard time eating anxious or nervous about anything - if too much noise or people he’s not hungry because he has a stomach ache. Counseling is a great help. Be sure to keep offering the healthy snacks and keep talking.


It might be a sensory issue!


She may be consuming too many liquid calories… she literally will not feel hungry if she’s full of liquids.

In my opinion if you are offer junk or snacks food or she tell you what she want to eat that includes snacks and fast food and things that are unhealthy then I would say she just being picky. Now i would be worried if she refuse everything that you offer even the junk food. In my opinion she just being pinky and you just have to stand your ground to let her know she can’t eat whatever she wants when she wants it. If a kids really hungry they will eat soon then later. I would stay keep you foot down and she will come around offer food and have her at least try them even if it’s a bite she might end up liking the food in the end. And if she doesn’t Ike school lunch witch I don’t blame her I eat them and half the time they where gross. So coming up with healthy good choice for her to take would encourage to eat at school so she doesn’t go all day without eating with also packing a snack also. I hope she comes around

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The size of a child’s stomache is around the size of a fist. She is full. As long as what you are feeding her is high in nutrients I wouldn’t worry about the amount she is eating.


I watch too much Steve Harvey… but you’re the parent! Don’t give her snacks and junk. Give her the healthy options, and she’ll eventually eat them if that’s all there is.

My daughter is five and she is the same way I ask the doctor and they told me to do kid ensure

My 4 year old gets like that sometimes. But their stomachs aren’t very big either. She will probably grow out of it eventually. My daughter was like for for about a month an a half before she started eating normally again.

Leave her alone. Make 1 meal and if she eats, she eats. She won’t starve

My Son use to be that way. I was worried so I talked to his Doctor he assured me my son would not starve to death…He said he will eat when he gets hungry…this is my son now…:blush:


It’s always worth a talk with the doctor. Yes, there is picky eating. There’s also anxiety that could be a problem, a sense of control… feeling as if it’s the one thing she can control, or something else. There ARE kids out there that will not just “eat when they’re hungry” … you’re mom, if you feel like something is up then something could in-fact be up.


I am doing that also with my son. He was hot pockets and mac and cheese and those $1 pizzas. If I cooked he wouldn’t eat and I would always give in but his therapist said I had to stick with it no matter what. That he will eat when he is ready.

When I was a young girl I was the same way. My Mom took me to the doc, did some tests to make sure everything was normal and it was. The doc told my. Mom to leave me alone and that I would eat when I was hungry…which I eventually did!:grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Having similar issue with my niece here in Nigeria, her mom threatens to beat her if she doesn’t eat her meal in school and actually beats her if she doesn’t just to make her know she isn’t joking…then at home she feeds her while placing a cane on her desk so she would eat… Talking of a 6yrs entering 7yrs by September 🤷

Pediasure!! This will give them the calories and nutrients they need


Get rid of the junk and snacks and what are your eating habits? Kids learn what they live…

My daughter is about to be 7 and she doesn’t eat much either

At that age my niece wasn’t eating anything and the dr told my sister to just feed her anything she wanted, it came down to ice cream and anything that she could put hot sauce on.

Add pediasure to her diet. 2 a day.

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It helped me to find out what they like to eat at their school

Why give her a choice? Eat or you don’t get up from the table…


Perhaps a control thing on her part? I think I’d allow snacks at appropriate snack times/ portions and continue to offer well balanced meals. Of course discuss with her doctor as well.

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my 7 yr old son is the same way. I give him daily vitamins and he eats or goes to bed w/o supper

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Tough shit… Eat the food I made you or sit at the table all night :woman_shrugging:t2: my kids tried that but I didn’t let them control what/when they ate.


Add some vitamins and don’t make a huge fuss about what she does and doesn’t eat … Making a big thing about it in front of her could be some of the issue and talk to her make sure she’s not worried about gaining weight in a round about way … But for the most part let her eat what she will go for … Try letting her help cook and keep offering things she won’t try she will eventually give in and try a bite …


Your daughter sounds similar to mine. After a lot of fighting, begging pleading, and tears, we talked to her doctor. She was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. This disorder make foods feel weird in my daughters mouth, even causing her to vomit. She also has issues with different textiles, like denim, something about it just bothers her. We tried pediasure, it made her gag because of how thick it is. It may be something you can ask your daughters doctor. Just a suggestion.

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Pediasure and ask your doctor bout seeing a GI specialist if it’s concerning my four year old was like ended up having a serious medical condition almost killed him he was out on medication for it and pediasure twice a day with whole milk once a day in between and water through out the day and put on a special diet now he is happy and healthy and over weight lol but he eats normal now and healthier

She sounds like me. I’m a serious picky eater. I find things that are made that I like and I eat that only. I may not like anything that is made and that’s fine. I would go without. I’m still that way. Add some pediasure to help with the vitamins and fill her belly some. Talk to her doctor and see if they have any tricks. Keep offering food.

My son got picky … then I asked for his help cooking ( stirring the food a couple
Times ) & he wanted to eat it because he made it . Hope this helps :brown_heart::upside_down_face:


Make sure they drink milk and potatoes. Both are full of the nutrients they need and most all kids like those two

7 is old enough to help prepare foods. Kids are 100x as likely to eat something they had a hand in making… Food tastes better with independence and pride… :slightly_smiling_face:


My son is autistic so getting him to eat is a chore and a half. But having him help prep the food, also telling him that if he finishes a certain amount, or even tries a new food then dessert is whatever he wants, which is usually strawbery yogurt smoothie, to which i sneak in more veggies and he doesnt notice. Also add a multivitamin and pediasure, ask a doctor first though.

I would only worry if she is underweight for her age and height. Otherwise serve her the same food you eat Make mealtime a family affair. If she will not eat it, dinner is done. The only exceptions I made for my kids was if I prepared something I knew they hated, then I would make them something else. If I made something they normally ate, that was dinner. Don’t turn mealtime into a battle of wills. I was forced to eat foods I hated all my childhood, I still will not eat them. Of course, whether she eats or not, allow a healthy bedtime snack, if she does not eat it she is done until breakfast. Most kids eat what they need and are perfectly healthy.

My kid was same way, Dr said as long as she eats it’s fine. More less lots of cookies cause that’s what she liked

Leave her be. People these days get all worked up over things that have just been since the dawn of time. She will eat when she’s hungry. Unless you see no food or drink in for more than 24 hours. That’s not good. If she’s drinking, it will be ok. Do not let her run the house over these food issues. Do not make her something different. That will teach her to manipulate you. And that leads to more issues.
She’ll be fine.


Try smoothies, easy to hide veggies. Make a sticker chart, if she eats her dinner every night for 2 weeks she gets to pick out a toy or special treat.

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I feel like my older son went thru this exact same thing around that same age!!!
It was actually very stressful …But now I see him at age 14 and he pretty much eats everything and is not picky at all and very healthy so I think it was a phased he went through!

Time to see a specialist. This could be mental or physical. Could be bullying at school too.

If she’s not underweight I wouldn’t worry as much. You can offer things like pediasure or similar drink and daily vitamins. She may just be picky. I have two picky kids and one who will eat whatever I make. Their stomachs are only about as big as their fists so she may be getting fuller on smaller portions. Offer more small meals throughout the day. Never force your kid to eat or pressure them to eat things they state they don’t like. I know that’s how everyone use to do, blah blah blah … I get having a picky kid that you just wanna make sure has a decent meal. Like suggested involve her more in meal prep? Maybe have her help pick a few recipes and help pick the ingredients at the store and prepare them with you. Have her help pack her lunches and pick those items out as well.

Talk to your pediatrician, but ours always told us that they will eat when they are hungry.

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Use the junk food as a reward. Make it dessert. No junk food until atleast 3/4s of their dinner is gone.


I thought my 10 year old daughter friend was picky so I let her help choose meals when she spends weekends with us and there is always food left on her plate no matter how small of a portion I will give her but when it comes to junk food she has no problem making it disappear.

Maybe look into the pedialyte shakes or smoothies for breakfast. And gummy vitamins to make sure shes getting some type of nutrition. Also let her help with dinner. Kids are more app to eat if they help cook it.

My doctor has told me patience and keep offering. My 7 year old learned about healthy foods at school and has branched off but before it was apples carrots and chicken. That was it. I let him make a couple small choices and help make thing on occasion. It has helped. He hates textures that are mushy and I know that so I stay away from those. Be strong. They will not starve themselves.

I have been told many years ago… let them eat, what they will eat. This phase will pass. Both my boys now 40 yrs old and 50 yrs old and their children have all been like that and they are fine.

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So pediasure helps (2 a day), but it is not a meal replacement. It’s a supplement that should be taken on top of meals. Talk to her doctor. My son started acting out and it was because he had an iron deficiency.

Maybe try to make her meals fun and healthy. For example: On pizza nights make her pizza with a cauliflower crust and have her help you add the toppings. Kids are usually more eager to try food that they helped prepare.

Also, try shakes to sneak in veggies and fruits♡ Try not to hound her about not eating something. Give her the option to at least have a “try bite” and see if that helps her at least try new things.

At the end of the day, she needs to get food in her body. Saying tough luck and not feeding her isn’t the way to go. Yes, it requires a bit more effort on your part, but it’ll be worth it once she’s open to trying new foods and enthusiastic about helping you prepare meals♡

I hope all works out for you and your daughter.

As long as she is healthy don’t stress it; I was a bird eater and I have two of four kids who are. They are healthy and I added vitamins for them to take which makes me feel more confident. If they start having health issues see a doctor otherwise don’t stress it. And yes like others make them eat what you eat but no don’t make them sit there until it’s gone. That will cause weight issues later in life. Let them eat until they are full and then they don’t eat until the next meal.

They will eat when they’re hungry. Trying to force food on them and making them finish their dinner just creates more of an aversion/fear with food. My daughter (6) flat out refused to eat anything other than toast and a few other beige snacks for over 2yrs despite me trying everything, now she eats more or less everything. Keep trying but try not to let them see any anxiety with meal times, they feel it too, don’t punish just do what you can and one day they will eat fine :slightly_smiling_face:

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Try Half of a Premier Protein shake every morning for breakfast
15g Protein is about what a child should have daily

Also milk is full of sugar so try almond coconut milk (3x the calcium as dairy milk)

With those two additions I’d say she would at least be getting her nutrients so the rest of the day isn’t as big of an issue to get her to eat. We went through a bit of the same. Now we do a banana and half of a Premier Protein shake for breakfast every morning and she is happy. But the food aversions have definitely diminished through the years (ours is 9yo now)

How much is she drinking and what is she drinking. I’ve read these situations before where parents are in similar situations but their kids are drinking milks all day long. Maybe she is filling up on liquids.


We also made dessert a yogurt (Oikos triple zero) and fruit. No super sugary desserts before bed. We have been doing that for years and she loves it

My son is 16 1/2 an all he eats is chicken no meats what so ever. He is now trying other foods but still only eats chicken. An I’ve packed him a lunch since kindergarten an that’s Turkey sandwich’s. I know this doesn’t help but he’s also very picky an has strived into an almost 17 year old

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I had the same problem with my daughter. The doctor told us to let her eat what she wants. She was very tiny and we were worried for nothing. She is a very healthy young adult who is into health and fitness now.

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It’s a phase. Mine have all been like this a few times.

Hey I was that way and my mom tortured me by taking me to the doctor and having blood drawn countless times. They told her I would eat when I was hungry and they were right. I have a 7 y/o boy and he’s the same way, it’s hard not to worry about it but he’s healthy and eats when he’s hungry. Tried vitamins and ensure, pediasure with no results.

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I give my 13 year old a choice… and he can cook (with my help). He used to be the same way. Once he started helping to cook, he’s been way different

I’ve been going through the same thing with my daughter who’s going to be 13 in April. she eats eay better now . Usually picks at thing’s only eat certain things became creature of habit of eating the same thing everyday. Now she’s drinks instant Carnation or cookies and cream flavor shake for vitamins and oatmeal cereal one day she’ll have a shake one day then have cereal she’ll eat lunch. some junk food and a picky eater 75 pounds at age 12 and she has gained about 4 lb in a month doing much better than how she looked 3-4 months ago just don’t want to eat until hungry. They’re not hungry they kids. give her pasta Lean Cuisines oatmeal cereal instant Carnation drinks fruit chips sandwiches she’ll come around

Cut out ALL snacks and between meal food and just offer food at meals. Don’t give her the option of “if you do not eat whats offered, what else do you want?” She’ll eat when she gets hungry enough.

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Is she on any medication that might take her appetite away. Things like Adderall makes you loose your desire to eat.

Sounds like she’s eating enough to me

Always ask your doctor. If she is still following her growth curve there is nothing to worry about. She will eat when she is hungry and the over pickyness will end in time as do all the phases.

I was a very picky eater and a “grazer.” Doc always told my mom I’d eat when o was hungry. And I did :woman_shrugging:t3:

I don’t know if this works or not but I listened to some late night talk show with a lady who was an “expert” and she said with kids who are picky eaters or have a hard time making up their minds to not ask what they want but to give them an option between 2 things. That way they still feel like they have a choice but it’s not the choice between the whole pantry. I thought it sounded like it might work but I haven’t tried it myself. Good luck momma!

My 5 year old is like that. He barely eats dinners, but he lives his fruits and will eat those all day. I thi k as long as she is eating something it will be okay. Maybe it’s just something they go through…

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She isnt going to starve herself. We always did the two bite rule. Two bites every food, every time. Then they can choose to eat or not eat from there. As long as she is growing good according to her pediatrician then she should be fine

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sounds like my 6 yr old. just have tons of healthy snacks available for her to eat. thats what I do when my kids get picky. it seems to come in phases with my 3. they will pig out for days and then have periods of snacking through out the day. their stomachs really isnt that big if you think about it

If she has PLENTY of room for snacks and junk food, then give her a choice of one junk food item a day and she doesn’t get it until she eats the good food! No matter how hard it is! I don’t think there is a medical problem, as she is happy eating the snacks and junk food

Try carnation instant breakfast with ice cream at it to make a milkshake. We did this for my grandmother who could not not eat. She had part of her jaw removed. It helped put some weight on her along with what soft food she can eat.

Kids will eat when they’re hungry. If the child is healthy. I wouldn’t worry.

Does she have the onset of an eating disorder ?

Give her a multivitamin she will eat when she’s hungry

Try to get creative and fun and have your daughter involved help making it and feel like she is the chef. Try making unicorn toast or rainbow peanut butter and jelly, barbies mac and cheese. Take something that she likes, but add a fun name to it and add some sprinkles or the glitter dust to the food.You can get together her favr stuffed animals or dolls set them a little spot up like they are going to eat at her reastraunt and she can serve them. But alot of kids go threw this stage and it is completely normal.

My step grandaughter did the same ,if her mom said she didn’t like it she wouldn’t eat it,but junk food she couldn’t get enough,she didn’t want to get fat,was her problem,.

Sounds like shes fine to me
Dont force yer to eat if shes not hungry and she isn’t required to finish ALL her food. My 3yr old does the same thing. Try saving it for later.

As a mom of 6 mine have all gone through this. Keep monitoring and encourage variety but at the same time have on hand the things u know she will eat, she’ll eventually come around. Inform doctor and they can monitor as well. All my children have been in the 10% BMI and a couple have dipped down off the charts but have grown to be healthy now ages 20,16,15,8,7 and nb