Getting My 3 Year Old to Eat!

Updated on June 27, 2007
K.K. asks from Wayzata, MN
8 answers

I have an underweight little 3 year old and he is not intersted in eating! His pediatrician recommended Pediasure, but he doesnt like it!

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for everyone's responses! I have good days and bad days with him. The thing is, he loves cheeseburgers, fruit, pizza, pancakes,yogurt, milk, some sandwhiches, etc. He tries more foods than his older brother! He just gets so busy and distracted that he doesn't want to take the time to eat! I love the idea of the smoothies and lots of carbs. He also seems to get rid of everything he eats in his diaper, if you know what I mean! thanks again! great advice!

Featured Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

Try fruit smoothies. You can sneak tons of stuff into them: soy protein, flax seed, even some veggies! Add a straw. Lots of time the novelty of using one makes the snack that much more fun.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Minneapolis on

How underweight is he actually? I have been hearing about an aweful lot of peds who have been trying to fatten kids up and they are actually on the weight chart. And remember that most peds use a weight chart that is "weighted" for American kids so it it skewed in my mind. Find out where he falls on the WHO (World Health Organization) height-weight chart. Also, has your son always been low weight or has there been a sudden drop? It also drives me crazy that peds are screaming about how fat our children are these days and then when a kid is a bit underweight they want to fatten him up! Argh! People are different and try as hard as you want and they will never all be between 25th and 75th percentile!

Is he healthy otherwise? If so I wouldn't stress about it too much. My son was a huge baby and then dropped to the bottom of the charts because he is soooo active. One thing I found was that he always wanted to eat when he was in the car since then there were no other distractions. So I always keep healthy snacks handy when we are in the car (Odwalla bars, almonds, dried fruit, TLC granola bars, etc.). Beyond that I rest easy knowing that he is healthy, strong, and will eat when he is actually hungry. Oh, and he has a strength to weight ratio that most people would pay big bucks to a trainer to

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I have the same problem with my son, he is now 5 and his eating habits haven't changed much since he was 2! The doctor told us the same thing, "it's normal, don't worry about it, try pedialyte" I stressed about it for quite a while but the more moms I talk to especailly with boys, it is normal when they are hungry they will eat! I don't know that thinking in terms of fattening him up would be the way to go, you don't want to get him hooked on the wrong diet that will be hard to break when he is older! I agree with what the others have said do it in a shake form, I do mine with yogurt and fruit and ice, he doesn't even taste the part that he says is yuck! Another thing we started here because his not eating was driving me crazy was I bought a cook book that is made by Nickeloden, each recipe is made by some character, when we first introduced the book we let the kids pick out what they wanted, they helped prepare it and always ate! Now, 2 years later they always ask "what cartoon character makes this dish mom?" My kids eat so many different foods now! Good Luck, but don't worry it gets better!



answers from Appleton on

All three of my kids have been picky, especially my boys. My oldest has always been very thin and his doctor told me to fatten up the food he would actually eat by adding butter or chocolate syrup, or things like that. He doesn't do sugar well, but it was something to try. When he was younger, I just figured out day to day what foods he would eat and let him eat as much of them as he wanted (within reason). When your worried about their weight you just want to get some calories in them.

Over the years what I think has really helped get my kids to eat more foods is family meals and exposure to the foods they don't like. It is not a quick fix but a slow process. I put a small amount of the food they don't like on their plate, along side foods they will eat, and tell them that they don't have to eat it, they can just look at it. Eventually I can usually get them to taste it and after a lot of exposure sometimes they end up really liking the food.

Another option related to pediasure. My youngest drank that for quite a while. It worked well, but it's pricy, and I agree it doesn't taste good. We switched him to Carnation instant breakfast, recently. It's less expensive and tastes great. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I would stick to non-fat foods. Butter instead of margerine, whole milk (or heavier cream if you have it), non-fat cottage cheese and yogurts, cheese, peanut Butter, etc. You could also try serving more high-carb foods, like pasta, potato, breads and corn, etc. (if you do breads, get the whole wheat with the seeds and stuff in it because it'll be more nutricious. Generally, try the things that us adults try to avoid. Try to give him milk everytime he's thursty, not too much water unless you're outside in the heat. Too much liquid could be curving his appetite. Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

Try mixing the Pediasure with milk. C.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi K.,
I have a 4 (on July 14) daughter Montanna who eats some days but barely the next. We too have tried Pediacare, she will sometimes drink it, but she seems to like my Ensure at times too. Have you considered making the Pediacare into a shake with ice cream? Maybe that way it would be more appealing to him. I know Montanna loves them that way.
We did ask the doctor about her eating, and were told that kids are just that way sometimes. My best advice is just to keep trying, but maybe making the shakes, and finding things he likes even if NOT the most nutrious things will help. I am not suggesting he eat cheetos morning noon and night, but just that whatever you can get into him is better than nothing. Try the shakes, Montanna loves them that way!!

Good Luck!



answers from Rochester on

I know exactly how you feel! My son did this for two years. Drove me crazy. He'd eat 3 bites of dinner and be done. Or he'd hold his food in his mouth for an hour. Our solution ended up being a mixture of things. (some I'm not proud of, but they got him to eat).

We'd take frozen yogurt and mix in fruits that he normally wouldn't touch in the blender. Add a straw and sprinkles, and voila! Gone in a flash. I LOVE the suggestion that the previous mom wrote about adding flax seeds, etc for added nutrition. He also LOVED yogurt.

For meats, I had to actually bribe him with cookies. (I know. I know. I don't like it either, but it worked). A bite of meat with a bite of cookie. Dinner took forever, but he got his protein. I think he was the only 3 year old on earth who didn't like peanut butter. We also made a lot of eggs.

My son refused to drink anything but milk, and I honestly don't know what we did to get him to drink anything else.

Veggies were a tough one. The only thing I could do was puree them in the food processor and hide them in spaghetti sauce, which miraculously, he loved to eat.

My son's six now, and he's still skinny as a flag pole, but his doctor said not to worry. Both his dad and I were tall and lanky as kids, so it's probably just genetics. Somehow, he's turned into the best eater I could ask for. He LOVES fruits and veggies and we no longer have dinner-time disputes about eating. Eventually things will even out, and no kid ever starves themselves. They eat when they're hungry. Hope things go smoother for you than they did for us. :)

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