What to do when they constantly tell you “I’m not hungry”

There are different reasons why you hear those 3 little words you dread “I’m not hungry”. A few people have asked recently what to feed their child who is never hungry to keep them healthy and growing. Sometimes it’s tempting to give them all the chippies and biscuits they want when they do ask for food but we really need to get some nutrition into them when we get the chance.

 

Medication

Some medications cause loss of appetite. For these kids, we need to work on high (good) fat food to get in all the nutrition and keep them growing. With a challenging eater, this can be tricky! Have a look at my list at the bottom of the page of some great foods to feed your child who’s “not hungry”.

If you don’t know why your child is never hungry, there are a couple things to check.

Take a food diary for a week

Snacking can be a sneaky cause for loss of appetite. Sometimes kids can eat way more than we realise through snacking, especially when they help themselves – and usually they don’t choose the food we’d like them to. If they are constantly grazing but never hungry for dinner this is something to check out.

Even if they aren’t snacking a lot, maybe they’re snacking too close to meals.

Do they have a Magnesium deficiency?

If your child is never hungry and doesn’t even snack, they could have a Magnesium deficiency which can cause loss of appetite. If your child is never hungry this could be something to check.

Alternatively it could be that they’re used to eating small portions through the day as that’s what their body has got used to.

Food to help them gain/maintain weight

Try to replace refined sugar and nutritionless snacks with cubes of cheese, slices of banana and apple slices with peanut butter on.

Use full-fat milk with their cereal and to drink.

Greek yoghurt is full of good fats. Get the unsweetened one and add your own frozen berries, apple chunks, stewed fruits or honey, sprinkle oats or seed on top… (or buy the flavoured ones but they obviously have more sugar)

Porridge: protein, calcium, magnesium… there’s so much in it that’s great for you!

Cheese

Peanut butter

Bananas

Beans

Eggs

Fish

Root vegetables

Smoothies: put in oats, banana, greek yoghurt and maybe some veggies too?

Banana pancakes: 1 mashed banana, 1 whisked egg: mix them together then fry