My son has ADHD: How can I get him to eat?

I have a six-year-old who has been diagnosed with ADHD since he was 4. We have had nothing but issues with all medications. He doesn’t eat, and if he does, it’s only a snack or two a day. We recently had to take him off all medications in order for him to gain weight and get his health up. Do any of you lovely parents have any advice on alternative treatments or how you get your kids to eat?


What are they on? My son has been on intuniv for a little over a year now and it hasn’t affected his appetite at all

My son loves lunchables and we let him eat dinner separate as long as he eats. Next time u go grocery shopping ask what he wants for dinner if u have a hard time show him things u think he might like and ask him.

I’d ask about prescribed cdb oil (it will have trace amounts of thc) but it will give him an appetite and who knows what else may improve

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What medication is he on? My son who is now almost 20 struggled when he was on certain medication and it came to a point where he was losing a lot of weight.

I agree with trying the CBD. With a small amount of THC it will hopefully give him an appetite.

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Carnation instant breakfast shake mixes…high in protein and can be blended with fruit for a smoothie…my ADHDer likes the chocolate and strawberry ones


You can try Carnation Breakfast shakes they should help with weight n appetite for him :blue_heart:

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Pediasure shakes help a lot.

We would do protein shakes, with peanut butter, chocolate, maybe add ice cream. Load them up with the good stuff, our son would get full from them but they were a good 300 to 600 calories a shake.

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Feed him before he takes his meds if you can. High calorie protein drinks. Let him have a midnight snack or 3.

Have him eat a good breakfast before taking his meds. Also, supply him with pediasure a few times a day. :blush:

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We give pediasure or carnation instant breakfast mixes. We also make sure he eats breakfast before we give meds. He takes Adderall ER so it’s only supposed to last around 8 hours. We also offer sweets in exchange for eating.

Hes 9 and we told him, this may make you not hungry but it’s so important that you make yourself eat so you can grow.

Try Boost protein drinks

Sounds crazy, but coffee for ADHD! I had numerous people tell me this and I was like… umm no. Why would I give a hyper active child coffee :joy: But I swear when I finally tried it, it helped sooo much! His school even started giving him a cup at lunch, they called me because they were so impressed with the difference it made!


My daughter is autistic and has big issues with food as well. I would suggest putting him on a liquid multivitamin to substitute for the nutrients he’s not getting. My daughter wound in the hospital couple of years ago because she had scurvy! :flushed: She wasn’t getting any vitamin C in the little she does eat.

My kid had the same problem his dr prescribed him those protein shakes it helped a lot and they come right to our front door

An ice cube tray with something different in each part

take him off the stimulant medication and try the none stimulate ones…that is what we have used and my daughter was diagnosed at 3 now almost 7 and has done well on it

I agree with taking time at the grocery store to let him pick things he might like.
& Don’t be surprised if he wants much of the same meal over & over as most kids like the routine & don’t care for a change in foods.

Children’s vitamins a lot of glasses of milk with strawberry or chocolate quick if you can get him to drink that feed alot of what he will eat have a 7yr old grandson that don’t eat much

I don’t know if they have a dr. That let them know about the medication Daytrana? It’s a patch that you use daily for ADHD. It was game changer in every way for us!

Brillia! It is a homeopathic anxiety/ADHD medicine for kids and adults. Formulas for both.
It has no side effects, not addicting and can be taken with anything else without worry- as it is homeopathic and works alongside the body.
I give it to my son multiple times a day (it is a dissolvable pill I put in water for him because he is too young for it to dissolve on its own)

Reviews on Facebook are great and their website has more reviews as well.

Give him supplements, like pediasure. Also, introduce foods and ingredients to him and have him help you prepare them.

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My child had the same problem an they prescribed her ensure in all flavors an she would drink 3 a day with a meal of some sort for a while she was stuck on just cereal an it cup a noodles soup

I give my son coffee instead of medication, high amounts of caffeine help the ADHD symptoms

An coffee would calm my daughter down as well on days I didn’t give her meds

With my 2 kids with adhd, my physician recommended the least amount of medication that could control the symptoms. Many of those meds end up being an appetite suppressant and can stunt growth. Just my experience. Best of luck finding what works in your situation.

My son had the same issues of not gaining weight. I feed him a big breakfast before his medication and then he will eat dinner and he always gets a bowl of cereal right before bed. Sometimes he will snack throughout the day so I try to keep his favorite things on hand … crackers, apples, bananas, applesauce, pop tarts…

I bought super cute animal molds and freeze Greek yogurt in them. My son thinks it’s a treat but he can have it any time of the day (even for breakfast). :heart:

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My son has severe ADHD and he was same way. Wouldn’t eat so his pediatrician and I had agreed to get him those health shakes (something like boost but Equate brand from Wal-Mart) and he drank those since we couldn’t get him to eat anything hardly. He was so skinny he was starting to look like a sick kid. But those shakes helped so much

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My son is adha an is 12 he still dose not eat much manly just lol things all day all day an night he is only 90 pounds an will drop to 80 sometimes but they said as long as he’s eating something they don’t mind

I second the coffee thing! We started my son on it 3 years ago. He got tired of it until we switched up creamer flavors. He gets a cup on school days and it lasts till about 1 or 2pm. We skip weekends just because. But I did it to try something that wasnt meds

Take him off the meds and out him on cbd oil it will help him tremendously

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My sister old me organic bananas help with adhd Not sure if its true…

Also, my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD at about 6. I didn’t want to put her on medication but didn’t have a choice. Nothing helped. And she was so disruptive in class. We tried several different medications over the span of 2 years. She was so tiny! She was all legs and had to wear slims with a belt. She had no appetite with the meds, some completely zoned her out. We finally tried Foaling, a small dose 2 times a day and it worked. She was able to keep her focus at school and by the time she got home, she was her normal, hyper, happy self. And had an appetite. Some doctor’s tend to over medicate people, especially children. Do not be afraid to speak up! You know your child better than any doctor. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to maybe get an evaluation of your child. There may be some underlying condition.

My son is on Concerta he’s also 6 years old and he sleeps and eats just fine.

My 10yr is on Concerta for ADHD. He is naturally thin but eats like a bottomless pit. This is the 3rd medication that we tried and the only one that has worked. We have the dose set to only get him through his school day and summer time we reduce.

Pediasure. Works wonders

My son was given a prescription to increase his appetite. However, he was not on medications for adhd or diagnosed with it.

Coffee!!! My 5 year old has autism and adhd and bounces off the walls, unless he has some coffee in the morning and then he can settle down throughout the day

No junk food, sugar, etc. Home cooked whole foods,

Same problem, but we were prescribed cyphroheptadine to counter act that! And it helped a lot!

Mountain Dew or coffee, caffeine acts as a suppressant for kids with ADHD. Growing up, I tested all the adhd medications on the market today, they completely suppress your appetite. If you keep him on his meds, make sure he eats a full breakfast and give him his meds as early as possible. The earlier he takes them, the earlier they’ll wear off so he’ll eat

Since he’s off meds, give him some caffeine, it helped my brother with ADHD. Remember, that he learns differently, give him lots of breaks and time to move.

Allow him to graze, or keep foods and snacks available that he can just grab whenever he gets the urge to eat.

We had success with cbd

Leave healthy foods out where he can easily get to it and see it such as on the counter, table etc. If he likes chocolate milk do ensure with Nesquick to kill the vitamin taste.

With my son who has ADHD… me and the dr agreed that he didn’t have to take them on the weekend and then when school was out. Those days he would make up the eating. But we did a big breakfast and a boost shake

I was told to give my son carnation instant breakfast to help gain weight from the medication

My son takes a prescription to boost his appetite. He has other issues so the meds help a lot

Just a couple of suggestions; wake him early enough to eat before medication, at lunch offer full meal but have a 3 bite rule (sometimes when they begin eating the 3 bites they will unknowingly continue to eat), don’t give up if the adhd negatively effects his daily function of life. I’m not suggesting forcing feeding pills but I also know the road to the right chemical balance for each child is different and is really tiring on mamas, daddies, and any caregiver. He may also have some sensory issues along side that cause him to like only certain foods, allow him to eat those foods. Consider boost or a pediasure shake daily. Know that you’re not rowing your boat alone and there is a lot of great support groups out there!

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Make mini pizzas with him. Let him make his own

Cyproheptadine is an appetite stimulant. My son is 19. ASD, Lennox-Gasteaux Syndrome, a rare brain malformation, and ADHD. He cannot be medicated for the ADHD because of the seizure meds. He doesnt eat because.of one of the seizure meds. We have to add Cyproheptadine to get him eating again every so often. We usually only need it for a month or two.

I took mine off all meds and homeschooled him… it was that bad. You could try checking for allergies too. That may help the ADHD.

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We make sure to eat a big healthy breakfast before medication. Then we don’t medicate on the weekends and let him eat whatever he wants.

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Pediasure, I know is expensive but I was giving to my daughter twice a day for her to gain weight. She has ADHD and meal time are a shitshow. With pediasure at least she was getting 500 calories a day :woman_shrugging:t2:

My 7 year old has severe adhd. He eats better on medication than off…like we had to add a booster in the evenings because he couldnt eat dinner otherwise. …but even with that he lost weight until he started on vyvanse.
He’s gained almost 10 pounds in a year and a half (37 pounds up to 46 pounds). Since starting it and modifying his diet.

We just take what people ordinarily do to loose weight and reasonably apply the opposite.
-snack before bed (usually a peanutbutter wrap)
-high protien and high carb meals. So he usually gets extra starch (like an extra peice of garlic bread)
-he gets a protien bar between 12-1 at school.

In my opinion as a mom who’s 3 boys were all diagnosed add/adhd early in their lives. I wouldn’t medicate. If I knew then what I know now I never would have medicated mine. Sure that would have meant I needed to be more involved but it would have made a world of difference. Learn to notice your child’s subtle clues and stimulate them accordingly. Im pretty sure my grandson will be considered add/adhd. I watch his cues and use those higher times to bring out teaching activities. Its really important to engage them in positive activities when they are getting into mischief. Pediasure would help getting the nutrients. Also try yogurts with live cultures.


Stop the medicine. I know it’s hard to do deal with. But the medicine they give them. Does that to them. And that’s a big side affect

My answer to this question is super easy. I have two kids with ADHD. Give them the foods that they love and only the foods that they love! Let them eat brownies with or as their breakfast (or whatever they love especially if it is something that puts weight on them) before their meds kick in because they likely won’t really want much lunch. Let lunch slide by if they aren’t hungry but let them eat snacks that put on weight if they are feeling up to it. Then feed them a supper that they love after the meds wear off. Let them have whole chocolate milk before bed or whatever it is that they love.
I see a lot of people on here talking about stopping the medication but those adults are only thinking of it from the adult side. ADHD medication isn’t about controlling behavior for parents or teachers, it’s about controlling their brains and bodies so that they can feel and think how the rest of us do during the day. Medication is not relief for the adults who deal with them… Medication is for the relief of the child.
If they only eat 12 things let them eat those 12 things. When kids are young people are overly addicted to the idea that kids need to eat a huge variety of foods and if they don’t that you are failing in some way. Kids with ADHD tend to only eat particular items and they eat when they want. Summary: Heavy breakfast, heavy supper… Feed them only what they love and have them take a multivitamin. Keep them on their meds.


My son wouldnt eat, supplemented protein shakes that helped…had to lower his medication to gain weight tho. He maintained, didnt gain much till that happened.

Exact same problem in our house. My son with ADHD is 9. He’s been on medication for a few years now and every month we have the dreaded check up at the pediatrician’s office where we pray that the number on the scale goes up…but it barely does. We only give him his medication on ‘school days’ because he literally can’t function without it but it’s still a struggle to get him to eat even without it. The doctor encouraged us to put chocolate syrup, ranch dressing etc on foods whenever possible, just to get some extra calories in. We have also recently started giving him protein shakes made for weight gain (with doctor’s approval) It’s helping a little but again barely. Following to also get any advice I can.

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Maybe you need 2nd opinion sometimes they are so medicated they can not eat add meds are not just the answer

The amount of parents that medicate their kids on this thread makes my heart hurt. Save the children and fuck big pharma.

My boy doesn’t medicate on weekends, he’ll eat plenty over the weekend that keeps him going through the week.

I was in this boat. I was the child. After being on it for several years, I have lasting issues even 10 years later. My opinion is take child off meds and cut out all sugar for 30-60 days. Once all sugar has been eliminated for the time period, start testing with small amounts and you’ll see the difference. My daughter and I are very sensitive to sugar, which is totally weird but now that I limit her sugar intake, she’s doing fantastic.


caffeine works to calm down my son and helps him focus


It might sound silly (and I apologize if you have already tried this) but have you tried to get him on a set schedule for everything? My son has ADHD and I was getting ready to have him medicated because I felt like nothing was working. We gave one more shot at a schedule for him at both my house and his dads and it took a bit but it actually helped. He’s still a crazy boy, but his ADHD doesn’t get in the way nearly as badly as it use to. Now I’m at a point that I can handle him and his craziness because it is toned down. I also have ADHD but I’ve always been medicated for it and still am.

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My son had the same issue until the dr switched him to focalin and he finally got his appetite back.

We took my son off all meds for ADHD, in order to boost his appetite & lessen the side effect of aggression he was displaying. Now we stay away from red dyes & monitor sugar intake. Other than that we do vetiver (diffuser), lavender or cedarwood oils. My son is older, so now he drinks coffee, which tends to help too. Good luck!

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Caffeine. My older son has always been calmed by caffeine. My younger son, we’ve had to stop meds and switch meds for him to gain his weight back. So for him we switched to a non stimulant. He eats and has gained his weight back and the medicine helps him stay calm and focused!

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My friends son would only eat chips and baked beans for his first 16 years! He is now a grown man who eats everything and is a well adjusted person.

We have a friend who’s son has it and they have steered away from all the sugary or overly processed foods and their son has definitely changed

Try letting him help cook what you want him to eat with the understanding that he has to eat some of what he makes and has to sample it while cooking it. Then sit down and eat with him. Make eating interesting for him

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I have ADHD. And it’s the medications. They higher the matabolism.
I take my medication twice a day. Morning and afternoon.
Before I got pregnant I only ate at night.
I’d go all day without eating. Didn’t even cross my mind to eat. Until dinner after my medications worn off.

He can’t help it. The fact he’s eating snacks are good.

Even with pregnancy I’m still not that hungry during the day.
Please don’t worry.
Look into stimulants and what they do.

Will he eat healthy snacks? Maybe if he will eat small snacks throughout the day, make them as healthy as you can.

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Have you tried coffee? And is your doctor worried about his weight?

My grandson is not meds anymore right now ( he is on the autism spectrum and has attention deficit) little sucker still don’t eat at times lol! I give him carnations instant breakfast ot bedtime. The meds kept him too emotional as he was coming down from them hate meds not good their brain and central nervous system is still developing and it worries me that it’s just not a plus in the long run.

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My grandson didn’t want to eat either. I was more worried about it than the doctor was. He would eat when he got hungry. If the doctor doesn’t have a problem with the eating, then take a deep breath and remember this too shall pass.

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We did huge breakfast, before medication, healthy snack that she chose at lunch and good dinner but later at night when meds wore off. Plenty of healthy snacks at night and pedisure. Never medicated in the summer or over long holiday breaks. She didn’t like carbs so that affected her more than meds. She liked smoothies so I added extra protein in them.

My son is ADHD and autistic. His menu is pretty slim pickings. We always feed him breakfast and then give med. he takes Quillivant XR. We don’t force him to eat anything, but we do not allow foods with caffeine.

My son has ADD and ADHD and I took him off medication because he was not eating or sleeping and he had no energy. So i learned to be patient with him. He thought me as I did the same for him and he is a great teenager today. He has outbursts sometimes still today but hes learned to control himself better. I am so happy with myself for choosing the right decision for him and me.


My son started adderall when he was 6 or 7 and he would not eat either so I would have him eat a good breakfast before I gave him his medicine than I would buy him pediasure or the equivalent to pediasure after school to drink so he would at least get the nutrients and vitamins and on the weekends and summers I did not give him medicine so he would eat more now he about to turn 16 and he has not had to take medicine for 2 yrs now because he learned to control it , he actually hated taking the medicine so as he got older he learned to control it as much as possible so he didn’t have to take it, but if you ask his pediatrician they may give you samples of the pediasure so you don’t have to buy it , my sons pediatrician gave us tons of samples

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Well in my case my boy is on Adderall xr and i try to get him to eat bye if he eats everything on his plate he can have more vidos time or something they like and tell them there body needs this to go just like a car needs gas

We use Clonidine xr for my son’s ADHD. No side effects. He has a good appetite.

my son does the same when his meds hit he wont eat once they wear off he eats and we dont medicate on weekends so he can eat


As many other have said make sure to feed him a big breakfast with plenty of protein. My son also has a 504 plan at school and has to eat two snack a day that he chooses one in the am before lunch and one after. Also, I know it is hard but wake up at like 5:30-6:00AM do that he can have a good breakfast before but still is taking his meds before 6:30 that way they are worn off by dinner time. I also do not give my son his medicine if he does not have school.
When getting snacks and food let him be a part of meal planning and shopping with you.

Just let him eat when he wants to. My bous got real hunb7at night after stimulants wore off. Yoi can ways see if they can change to a non stimulant for adhd…I think one is quaifacine? Switched my son to that and seemed to get him eating. My boy was so small forever and never ate, but now he is growing so fast its crazy!

You can supplement with drinks like Pediasure when he is thirsty…give him a pediasure…it helps with proper weight gain and let him snack when he wants

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I always gave my sin a non stimulant medication cause I never wanted him on anything like aderol or vyvanse and never had any issues

Have you tried pedisure ? That’s for nutrients and if you can get him to drink a few a day I know it can help.

Try having him help make and prep meals with you? Do shapes with sandwiches. Fruit salads. Do snack bags.

Have you tried a non stimulant? They are not known to effect eating

Give him Boost protein shakes. It will definitely help.

I have adhd and I remember I didn’t eat either. Just give him time and try to make it fun it involve him. I was nothing but bones on that medicine. Now I’m chubby! Lol I think he’ll be ok!

What medicine is he on and how many mg? Does he take at night or morning?

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Our Dr recommends drinking the calories. Shakes. Ice cream. Put avocado in a smoothie.

Make food fun! Dino nuggets, bento box style food. Offer several small meals during the day and make them as calorie dense as possible. His mind is going a mile a minute, things have to be appealing to him to make him want to do them.

Also try a wobble cushion for his chair. It let’s him stim while sitting to eat. Turn the telly off, no distractions. Maybe have him help you make some of the things? That way it’s like a reward to eat what he cooked.

Wish I had advice
I have the same issue

Pedi protein shakes maybe