Kids grow at a rapid pace. They need a good appetite to enjoy their meals and obtain essential nutrients. Good nutrition supports healthy growth especially in their physical, emotional and intellectual development. Just like many other parents, there are times when you are worried whether your kids are getting enough nutrients through their diet.
There are many reasons why kids have low appetite:
- Sickness –flu, diarrhea or fever may make kids not feel like eating much
- Constipation - this is a common factor that causes a loss in appetite for kids, which needs to be corrected by modifying their diet and lifestyle
- Intestinal worms - presence of intestinal worms in kids can make them eat lesser than usual
- Lack of exercise – with too little outdoor playing time, kids burn up less energy and are less likely to be hungry at mealtimes
- Snacking between meals – this leaves kids feeling fuller for longer and in the end they are unable to finish the food on their plate
- Drinking sweetened beverages and juices - these beverages are full of calories and therefore consuming them will lead to a loss of appetite
- Distractions – watching TV or a smartphone during mealtime will make kids less interested in the food on their plate
Here are some tips to make kids love to eat:
- Respect their appetite. If your kids aren’t hungry, try not to force them a meal or snack. Do not make your kids associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration.
- Schedule mealtime. Serve meals and snacks at about the same time every day.
- Make it fun. The more creative the meal is the greater variety of foods kids will eat. Serve food in a variety of color, shape, source and form.
- Involve kids in meal preparation. Kids will be more interested in the food they help to select and help to prepare. They will be eager to eat them once they're done.
- Show a good example. If you are constantly eating a variety of healthy foods, your kids will learn to do the same.
- Be more active. Running, jumping, biking, swimming, and other physical activities can help to burn more calories and increase their appetite.
- Cut down distractions. Turn off TV, smartphone or tablet during mealtimes, as this will help the kids to focus on eating.
- Limit on junk. By stocking less junk food around the house and replacing them with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products, you will encourage kids to eat healthier foods.