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Underweight son resists eating


My 4-year-old son weighs 36 pounds. His doctor says that he needs to gain weight, but he is a picky eater. He will only eat chicken nuggets, French fries and sweet potato chips. How can I get him to eat a greater variety of healthy foods?



Did your doctor specifically ​tell you to not allow him to eat the foods you listed?  If not, then continue to offer him healthy versions of his favorites, while also introducing some new foods to his diet. Offer him the healthiest chicken nuggets you can find. Sweet potatoes are nutritious. Give him baked chips instead of fried ones. Likewise, bake the French fries instead of frying them. This way you are monitoring his fat intake as well as his calorie intake.  

There are numerous cereal bars and homemade muffins that are healthy and appealing to most children. Experiment with these for a healthy snack. Also, try yogurt that comes in ice cream bar shapes. Cheese sticks are also popular with children, and are portable snacks that you can easily tuck into your purse.  

Being creative in your presentation will pay off. Make pancakes in the shape of his initials, or make a smiley face with berries or chocolate chips on a round pancake.  Make fruit kabobs by spearing cut apples, grapes and berries on toothpicks. He can dip these in yogurt. You can also make toast more appealing by “painting” a smiley face on the bread before you toast it. Add food coloring to a little bit of milk. Then paint a smiley face on the bread with a pastry brush and toast it.  

For more suggestions, consult your doctor to ensure that your son is getting enough calories or read "Make Family Mealtime More Enjoyable".