Help! My Child Isn’t Eating Properly … Encourage Eating

We all know kids who are picky eaters! It’s not unusual to hear a parent lament that meal times have become a challenge for their family. But when your child’s health depends on maintaining a semi-healthy weight, and their appetite is non-existent, food and eating quickly becomes a challenge with very high stakes. The search for food that appeals to your child is akin to the quest to find the Holy Grail! Food choices are vital for children with no appetite, including children experiencing cancer treatment. Finding ways to make food more appealing, palpable, and fun might just be the answer you’re looking for.   ~ Lu Sipos

Offer small amounts of food more frequently.
A large portion of food can easily become overwhelming, a smaller portion can be more approachable. Try presenting food to your little one in small amounts, but at regular intervals. It is very possible your child will never truly feel hungry, so it may help to set a timer and offer food at set intervals. Offer food and encourage eating every time the timer dings.

Offer a variety of food choices in an appealing and fun way:Snack Trays

  • stack bite-sized pieces on kabobs, toothpicks, or fun bento picks
  • serve foods in an ice cube tray, mini muffin tin, or a Dr. Sears Nibble Tray


Keep Snacks Handy.
Take an assortment of snacks to the hospital and doctor appointments so they are available at a moment’s notice if hunger strikes.
Snack ideas that are shelf-stable (can be kept in a diaper bag or vehicle indefinitely):Snacks

  • cereal bars
  • granola bars
  • crackers, pretzles, Teddy Grahams, Goldfish, etc.
  • dry cereal
  • individually packaged fruit cups, applesauce/fruit squeeze pouches
  • beef jerky
  • dried fruit, such as banana chips, raisins, and freeze dried apples
  • yogurt covered raisins
  • cookies
  • small bottled waters, juice boxes, packaged milk boxes

Snack ideas that require refrigeration (carry in an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack):

  • string cheese
  • yogurt
  • sandwiches
  • fresh fruit, such as clementines, apple slices, and grapes
  • bite sized veggies, such as baby carrots and sliced cucumber
  • hard boiled egg
  • bottled smoothies