How Do I Get My 10Yr Old to Gain Weight?

Updated on March 24, 2011
C.R. asks from Olathe, KS
20 answers

My daughter had her 10yr check up yesterday and the doctor is not happy with her weight. He said that she should weigh at least six pounds more than she does. She grew two and half inches in height but only gained a half of a pound in a year. She has always been tiny, but her weight is starting to go in the opposite direction on her growth chart. This is why he is concerned. She does not like milk shakes, anything with chocolate in it, or Carnation Instant Breakfast of any kind. These are all suggestions that people have given me, but my daughter won't touch any of it. She is ADD and on Vyvanse 20mg. which is an appetite suppressant, but the doctor said that her body should have adjusted to the medication. She has always gained weight with her medication until now, and she has been on the same medication for 3 years now. By the way, she only weighs 49 1/2 pounds. Does anyone have any ideas?
She WILL NOT drink milk or eat any kind of yogurt! She has not liked either one since she was 5yrs old, and whole milk tears her stomach apart anyway.

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answers from Honolulu on

You best see a Nutritionist.
Have the Pediatrician refer you to one.
That way, you will get specific solutions to this, without guessing and it will be healthy.

Also, with a child, you cannot overload their system with all protein or sugars. It will overload the kidneys. Thus, to do this properly, and per a child's system, you NEED to see a Nutritionist.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I don't know about a 10 year old, but when my first baby was a toddler she was below weight. The doc explained that babies don't worry about cholesterol like adults do, and had me put butter on EVERYTHING... every veggie, any type of bread, in her rice, etc. That fattened her up to the perfect weight. She was also very active (and still is), and takes daily vitamins. She's still a string bean, but maintaining a healthy weight. My 5 year old weighs the same as my 7 year old, we don't use butter with that one ;)

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

I was always very tiny. I was 85 lbs before I got pregnant with my first daughter. Went back down to 90. I am at my highest weight ever at 122 lbs now at 32 years old. Always been healthy. Unless she has no energy or bad blood test results, I would let her be. Maybe try reducing meds since she is getting older? Or put her in running, which I hear is awesome for ADD.

I'll add I am 5' 3". I danced, and for years my measurements for costumes were 20 bust, 20 waist, and 20 hips. My ped thought there were SERIOUS issues with me. I went thru being poked and grilled for years because of this. All tests came back fine with a conclusion of high metabolism. I could have ate ice cream every day, and gained nothing except unhealthy eating habits that stick for a lifetime, diabetes, or all kinds of other problems. They finally left me alone and let my mom be.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am very tiny (105 pounds) and always have been. My doc was always lecturing my mom about my weight and my mom always tried to shove food down my throat to gain weight and I HATED it. I was always active and just didnt feel hungry all the time. I have a very high metabolism and besides being underweight, was always pretty healthy. Some things that I liked were Vanilla Ensures, gummy multi vitamins and Luna bars. Just dont try to shove food down her throat like my mom did. She did it so much, that I wound up thinking I was too skinny and began hating my body. It took a good boyfriend to remind me that I was beautiful and my weight didnt matter as long as I was HEALTHY.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I am going on the assumption that Vyvanse is similar to Adderall. My daughter is small but not too small so I don't really count calories and such. I have found that the point when the meds wear off they will eat a couch if presented in a pleasant manner. My daughter is on Adderall XR so it wears off just as she gets off the bus.

Try finding that point and have snacks or even dinner ready. Since my daughter won't eat a darn thing for lunch I make sure she has a good breakfast before I give her her meds and a good snack and dinner.

Oh, I am not sure what the doctor means about her body being used to the medication by now. I have been on Adderall myself for four years and I still can't eat a darn thing for lunch, it makes me sick to think about eating when I am on the Adderall. Like my daughter I eat like a truck driver for dinner.

Also watch the caffeine levels in drinks. Coffee and some sodas make me very ill when I am on my meds, then forget about eating all day.

I feel like I have to answer Valerie L's post. Have you ever taken meds for ADD, if not you have no right to say the meds do nothing. All four of my children were on meds and each one wanted off around fourth grade. Guess what happened when they hit high school? they wanted back on their meds because it was too hard without them. I went on Adderall when I went back to school to work on my masters. Yes! the drugs do work and there is a huge!!!! difference between how my brain functions with and without the meds. Sorry but I am really tired of people judging these meds who have not lived a moment in a medicated and unmedicated brain.

I blog a lot and my good friends can spot, and give me trouble, when I write on or off my meds. Something as subtle as my discourse changes with the meds do you understand how significant that is?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

It sounds like the side effects of the medicine are making the picky eater problem even worse. Do you have the option of skipping the meds on the weekends or decreasing the dose?
My son has always been underweight and a picky eater. We saw a nutritionist when he was 1, but most of the suggestions did not help. They told us to add powdered milk, mayo, and peanut butter to his food and to try the nutrition drinks. But he would not eat any of it because of the sticky textures.
Breakfast is his best meal of the day, so I try to put a lot of different things on his plate in case he's in the mood for it. Lunch is more difficult since he won't eat sandwiches and prefers salad over pizza. In spite of being a picky eater he will taste new foods. Maybe weird foods are cool- everything from fried alligator to starfruit. Some things that he does seem to like are soy sauce(I read that it's supposed to increase the appetite), black olives, feta cheese, cheese quesadillas, king crab, shrimp, and tuna. He will only eat one kind of yogurt that has the oreo topping, and cheese sticks only if they're super cold. We just found some refrigerated tortillas he likes that have 120 calories each.

After my son started taking Concerta things got worse. He had no appetite at lunch or dinner, and would complain that we were "torturing" him by offering him food. We recently switched him off it because his weight was down to 46 pounds(he's 9). After a couple weeks of lower dose of meds and none during spring break, he has gained almost 6 pounds.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

fruit smoothies with protein powder?
peanut butter
avacado added to sandwiches and tacos

maybe ask for a nutritionist referral?

I know it is different, but my toddler is being watched for Celiac's Disease (gluton intolerance). Failure to gain on the weight curve is a symptom. Might want to ask the doctor about that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If your insurance will cover it, I would suggest consulting with a nutritionist! I'm sure that if your pediatrician is concerned he/she would be willing to give you a referral if needed!

I don't think you want to go the "junk food" route, so talk with a professional! They will be able to give you healthy ways to help your daughter gain weight, which is much-needed as she matures toward puberty!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My doctor suggested lots of dairy. Whole milk and cheeses especially. My daughter is just like yours. She is 15 and just got to 100 lbs. (she is almost 5'8")

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I weighed that same amount at her age and was tall for my age. Until late in life it didn't matter what I ate or how much I didn't gain weigh. The only reason I did them was when I had my uterus taken out she just my have a high metabolism and with the pills on top of that is making it hard. Have you tried soymilk or goats milk I had to drink goats milk when I was young I still have to limit my amount of cows milk plus now they have the lactaid milk. I will tell you from experience that malt and shakes don't help when I had my tonsils taken out the doctor wanted me to gain weight and had me drink 2 malts a day and I lost weight because they made me so full I was eating less. Is there something she really likes that might help and since she can't drink milk or yogurt I hope she is getting her calcium some where else if not have you consitered a supplement. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Peanut butter.
Does she eat breakfast? What does she like? If she eats frozen waffles, try smearing some Peanut butter on them instead of syrup. It is great! And adds good calories, not empty ones. Or add PB and honey. That's what my husband likes for a snack... a toasted Kashi Blueberry waffle with PB and honey.

Apples? Smear peanut butter on the slices, or let her dip them.
Does she like yogurt? There are all kinds of it out there.. the new Greek ones are REALLY healthy and have a lot of protein. All sorts of flavors, too... even honey, pomegranate, caramel, or pineapple.
Bananas, if she'll eat them, are healthy carbs/calories, too.
She does sound tiny... my daughter will be 10 in June, and she already weighs over 70 lbs. And she is NOT overweight at all. Solid, but not at all chubby even.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I used to have the same issue with our now 13 yo grandson but he did like milk. As a matter of fact I joined the company because their line made such an incredible difference for him and us. Besides the supplements for someone who doesn't care to eat, they have shakes in different flavors and they can be made with other than regular milk and are considered meal replacements.
Link to our Children's section:

We also have meal replacement bars that could get some good protein and fiber in her system. You can put "meal bars" into the search bar.

It could also be her system is a bit messed up from taking the scripts. I remember our grandson had a really difficult time when he 'came down'

Feel free to message me with any questions.

V. Wright, CNC

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have three boys. One who is ADHD and another who is ADD and I am sure my youngest will be one of the two. My opinion is to take her off the medication. There are other ways that children can learn to cope with these issues and I just believe when we spend so much time trying to teach our kids not to take drugs what do we do the first time they dont fit in that little box the school wants them to. We put them on drugs. I was there I did it and I never felt it helped them. You are her mother and you are the one who makes the final decision not her doctor. If you feel its the medication then follow your gut and take her off. There are a lot of other ways to help a child who is ADD.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

not all children adjust to the niece & nephew are proof of this. They typically drop 10lbs+ during the school year due to not eating. The meds are not given during summer vacation....& that's when the weight slowly comes back on. Both are considered underweight to begin with.

Peanut butter has both protein & some fat. Maybe that would help. & I would just simply let her be in charge of the grocery shopping. She's old enough to have autonomy in her food choices. Make it a challenge/project where she uses the food pyramid as her guide.....& that ownership may do the trick!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I agree with the nutritionist suggestion (though they are not all created equally) . . . and I would also test for zinc deficiency.

We had good luck with adding a carnitine supplement to our son's diet. It helps him "absorb" the fats that he is eating (simplistic explanation). Of course I would check with a health care provider first.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You might want to see if she'll drink Ensure, which has calories as well as nutritional value. She might think it's too milk-shakey in terms of flavor, but it's a thinner consistency - you never know!

Good luck!
T. M.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

What about ice cream? Whipped cream on pie?

I agree with butter and olive oil on everything. And lots of PB. Add cream to pasta sauces (tomato, pesto, etc). When she eats veggies, give her ranch dip.

Will she eat olives for a snack? They're high in fat but seem "healthier" than chips and such.

Juice should also help her gain weight because of the sugars.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Try the body building store. They have high calorie protein mixes to help body builders gain.
Perhaps they'll have a flavor she likes. Good luck!!



answers from Kansas City on

she sounds like the girl down the street- almost 18 and weighs 96 lbs. That would be fine if she had started her period- but since she doesn't have enough body fat, her hormones haven't kicked in and that in turn has led to spinal fractures, and tooth loss. I was on the opposite side of the scale- I was 96 lbs in 4th grade- but i started my period when I was 10. I would like to add that maybe she needs to talk to someone about her eating- someone who deals with eating disorders- not that she has one, but if the doc and everyone else don't stop, she might rebel into not eating as a way of controlling her life. I know when I finally moved out, I gave up eating, all i did was smoke and drink coffee. I finally got skinny enough that those who called me fat started wondering if I ever ate, and they finally left me alone. 10 is around that age when girls get bombarded with all the ads, etc. and peer pressure to fit in. And my eldest son was on Ritalin years ago, He didn't like that he didn't grow, and he got off it. Good thing he did, since he went into the Air Force, and if he hadn't gotten off the drug before he became a teenager he wouldn't have gotten in- something to check into if your child is on meds and is thinking about the military as a career.



answers from Washington DC on

My son ws on ADHD meds and wouldn't eat either. I took him off and he has been drug free for 13 years.
How tall is she? Maybe she is just going to be small
If you must have her on the meds and she must gain weight then will she eat anything high calorie? Will she eat a Big Mac?
Crackers with cream cheese and fruit
high calorie cereals
fruit smoothies
breads, all kinds
cookies, oatmeal with raisins or cranberries maybe

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