Tips To Improve Your Child’s Appetite
Parents are always struggling with their kids’ appetite and wondering what they did wrong that their child is such a picky eater. They may completely refuse to eat the foods that you know are healthy for them and there’s no way you can force them to eat what they don’t like. As this is the age when their body is going through maximum growth and development, it is vital to ensure that their body gets all the nutrients in adequate quantities. There are a few tricks on how to increase appetite in a child naturally and to get them to eat nutritious food especially if they are always looking for ways to skip their meals.Try them out to increase your child’s appetite and make them eat healthier.
Make Them Drink Water Regularly
Start your child’s day with a glass of water as drinking water first thing in the morning helps to improve digestion by hydrating their body. In addition, make them drink water half an hour before they eat their meals as it helps to stimulate their appetite. Insist on them having water in between meals rather than juices or milk as this fills them up and causes lack of appetite in a child. Water activates the digestive enzymes and juices which not only increase appetite and also boost digestion.
Give a Snack Every Two Hours
Children are very active and need all the energy for their activities throughout the day. Your child may be a fussy eater just because they are not feeling hungry. Try feeding them small food portions every 2 hours. Rather than 3 regular meals, give them light snacks such as fruits or nuts between meals as that will help to boost their appetite and provide them with essential nutrients.
Never Skip Breakfast
Starting your kid’s day with a healthy and sumptuous breakfast improves their appetite, kickstarts their metabolism and helps them be more active throughout the day. Never skip breakfast as it sets the tone for the day.
Include Zinc in Diet
Including zinc in your child’s diet helps to stimulate their appetite. Nuts like cashews, dairy products, pumpkin seeds, beans, spinach and mushrooms are rich in zinc so try including them in your child’s snacks or meals. Peanuts in the form of peanut butter or roasted peanuts not only boost their appetite but are also rich in protein. Zinc is essential for boosting immunity and other physiological functions and a mild deficiency can cause loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhoea and susceptibility to infections.
Include Desserts in Their Meals
Fruit-based desserts with apples and strawberries can entice kids to finish their meals and also help to stimulate their appetite, aid digestion and improve metabolism. Yoghurt is also a good alternative as it boosts appetite and contains calcium and healthy prebiotics which help strengthen your child’s immune system. A smoothie is also a good way to get your child to eat healthy fruits and vegetables without even realising.
Stimulate Their Appetite
Start with small bites of food as it boosts appetite by building metabolism. Increase the variety of foods in their diet. Children may not be willing to try out new textures and tastes in food but you can start by giving your child nutritious meals that they like or are familiar with. Children are more likely to eat more if served their favourite foods and you can slowly incorporate new foods. Avoid keeping snacks readily available to your child as they could be snacking on food throughout the day, leaving them with little appetite for regular meals. It’s better to feed your child at scheduled times every 2 to 3 hours as this helps your child to develop their hunger signals at meal times.
By burning energy while running and playing, your child will eat better during regular meal times. If kids spend more time on their screens rather than outdoor activities, they won’t have much of an appetite. Such sedentary activities burn few calories and your child as a result may not be hungry. Introduce new sports like cycling or swimming or take them for a walk as that will boost their appetite and help to develop their physique and coordination skills.
Check Their Iron Levels
Your child’s appetite might reduce if their iron levels are low. Some studies indicate that one in eight toddlers tend to be anaemic before the age of 2 years. Kids younger than 9 years need approximately 7 to 10 milligrams of iron every day and you can include iron rich foods like eggs, spinach and lentils in their diet. Pair these foods with Vitamin C as it helps in the absorption of iron.
Many kids don’t notice that they are hungry, so it’s good to talk to them about if their stomach feels empty or full as it helps them to start making that connection. If they are not sure what to answer and if you know they haven’t eaten for a while, you can tell them that their stomach is empty.
Many kids who have a poor appetite may not have had many positive experiences with food or may not have interacted with it very much. That’s why you should allow them to play with and explore food. It may get them interested in eating and more used to new and different foods. You can set up cooking activities that your child can help with. Sensory bins can be used for them to play with noodles, rice and other foods.
Loss of Appetite in Babies
Although milk is the main source of nutrition for kids till the age of 1 year, it’s important that they are eating table foods by the time they are 10 to 11 months old. Sometimes, babies may not want their milk because of acid reflux which is rather common. Food allergies, such as soy and dairy, are another common reason for babies avoiding food.
Once your baby is 6 months old, you can serve them different foods for 1 or 2 meals a day. Fix a time in their routine, eat together and stick to that time so they know what to expect. It’s good to schedule meal times before milk feeding, if it’s only food that they’re refusing. Allow your baby to explore and spread baby food all over their tray even if very little goes into their mouth.
Most children will benefit from these tips on how to increase appetite in a child naturally and you will notice the difference. It may not always be easy but being consistent and persistent is definitely going to show results. The causes of loss of appetite in a child may sometimes require medical attention so if nothing works, it’s a good idea to consult a paediatrician. If you want more insight on how to improve your child’s appetite and get them interested in different kinds of food, you should touch base with EuroKids.