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Kids love to eat, and you may be surprised if yours isn’t eating as much as you’d normally expect of them. If that’s the case, read on to learn more about what causes appetite loss in kids and effective remedies (and foods) for treating them.
Causes of Loss of Appetite in Children
Your child may lose his/her appetite for the following reasons-
Your child may have the stomach flu, diarrhoea or may be experiencing symptoms of fever which results in a decline in her appetite.
Fights with siblings, outdoor bullying and deaths of any kind are categorized under stressful events.
Did your little munchkin suddenly stop drawing and no longer wants to touch a pencil or play her favourite game? You may mistake it for temporary sadness, but if this goes on for a prolonged period of time, it’s definitely depression.
4. Tapered Growth Rate
Your child’s growth and appetite will vary based on their age, energy levels, nutritional diet, and environment.
5. Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological disorder where your child gets obsessed with losing weight and goes for long periods of time without eating.
6. Prescription Drugs
If your child is on her antibiotics or any prescription drugs, her appetite may go down gradually due to their side effects.
Constipation stems from irregular bowel movements, and a loss of appetite is a clear indicator of constipation. You may need to alter their diet and change up lifestyle routines just a little bit in order to fix it as it’s curable for all ages.
8. Your Child is Sedentary
If your munchkin is a couch potato and watches TV all day long and is on his video games, then, of course, he isn’t going to be as hungry as you’d expect. Less TV time and more outdoor time is your answer if that’s the case.
9. Snacking Between Meals
Although an adorable act, snacking between meals may interfere with diets and leave kids feeling fuller for longer. The result – lack of appetite during times when you serve food.
10. Drinking Fluids and Juices
Sweetened (and natural) beverages are chock full of calories which causes them to experience a decline in appetite. Encourage them to drink more water instead and hide them somewhere else if they’re consuming them too much.
Does your child watch TV when he eats or a friend bolts in whenever he sits down for a meal? Minimize distractions and eat at the table as much as possible.
Although not a medical symptom, if you force your child to eat too much as a punishment for not playing by the rules, they will begin to hate eating and avoid foods as much as possible. This will result in lowered appetite over time.
How to Prevent a Loss of Appetite in Kids?
You can prevent a loss of appetite in kids the following ways-
- Give Small but Frequent Portions – Your child doesn’t have a huge stomach? Small but frequent portions usually do the trick.
- Change up the Menu – Serve B-vitamin rich fortified foods and whole grain products enriched with iron, folic acid and other nutrients. Serve fruit bowls for dessert and vegetable soups for the finale.
- Avoid Force-Feeding – You give the food, they eat as much as they want. Don’t force them and they’ll start enjoying eating. Period.
- Make them Participate in the Kitchen – Teach them about nutrition, show them (plus encourage) to prepare their own meals. They will naturally love to eat when you do that.
- Minimize Distractions – No TV or video games during mealtimes. Explain to them why and let them enjoy mindful eating at the dinner table.
- Serve Beverages after the Main Course– Juices and drinks are loaded with calories. If your child wants them, she can consume them after her meal.
- Make it Fun – Make cool meals for your kids. Arrange the trays to be visually appealing and make mealtimes fun by offering them different foods and set an example by enjoying yourself munching on them.
- Get them Ready– Does your child’s hand automatically reach out for snacks before meal times? If that’s the case, let them know 15 minutes beforehand, and they’ll avoid doing so.
Effective Ways to Increase Appetite in Kids
Here are some effective ways to increase appetite in kids-
Get them Moving
Get them moving and make it fun while you’re at it. Take them to dancing classes or play with your children outdoors or in the backyard. Take them to parks and encourage active socialization and games with friends.
Make Breakfast Mandatory
Having a hearty breakfast early in the morning boosts metabolism and increases appetite. Now you know the secret.
Drinking Water 30 Minutes before a Meal
Encourage them to drink water or offer them a glass (or two) of it before mealtimes. Make it a habit to make them drink water as soon as they wake up and before meal times and they’ll be feeling hungry in no time.
Eat Every 2 Hours
Encourage eating every 2 hours instead of the regular 3-a-day mealtime routine. This will boost their digestive system plus ramp up their metabolism.
Junk foods are loaded with processed substances and extremely high in sugar and calories. They reduce appetite. Replace unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives for snacking.
Give them Their Favourites
If your kid feels sick at the sight of food, help them change their mentality by offering them their favourites. Once they start liking them, add some more and slowly transition into other varieties.
Offer Bite-Sized Meals
Make meals smaller but more frequent. We’ve already covered this, and it’s basically Eating 101 for Kids.
Spices like oregano, Italian herbs, coriander and cinnamon add an aroma plus favour to meals. Smell is known to increase and build an appetite. There you have it.
Cool it Down
Appetite decreases when the environment is too hot, sweaty or uncomfortable. Turn on the air conditioner or open up the windows and the mood to eat will naturally return.
Don’t talk about homework or any things your child did at school during mealtimes. Make mealtimes fun, turn on some music and lighten up. Become a pillar of friendliness and support for your child and not someone they want to avoid or fear.
Foods to Increase Appetite in Your Child
It’s time to get to the foods that will skyrocket their appetite and keep them craving for more. Here are some healthy options-
Boosts metabolism, increases appetite, keeps them munching constantly. Need we say more?
Yoghurt keeps the digestive system running and boosts appetite as a healthy probiotic. It contains B-vitamins, calcium and gut-healthy bacteria in their stomach.
3. Green Tea
For tea drinkers here, green tea increases metabolism and boosts appetite. Plus, it’s zero calories!
4. Avocados and Nut Butters
Fruits like avocados, pomegranates and nut butter like almond butter or peanut butter increase appetite and are calorie-dense. Perfect for bite-sized meals.
5. Chicken and Pumpkin Seeds
Ajwain is excellent for boosting appetite and promoting proper digestion. You can add it to parathas, make infused ajwain water or incorporate in salads too.
Basil leaves are known to promote regular digestion and is the perfect remedy if you’re wondering how to increase appetite in toddlers.
Going old school helps where Ayurveda is concerned, and Chyawanprash is frequently used for treating appetite loss in kids.
Add crushed ginger to sandwiches, salads or soups for boosting appetite.
Thyme is best used in salads, soups and sandwiches. Add it to eradicate appetite loss in kids.
11. Carrot Juice
Switch up other juices with carrot juice and feed it to your child 30 minutes before mealtime. It works!
12. Fenugreek Water
Having a glass of fenugreek-infused water helps to boost appetite in kids.
13. Mint Curd
If your kid enjoys fruits, adding some peaches to their diet will help boost their appetite.
Did you know that plums boost one’s appetite? Kid’s crave them so be sure to add it to their diet.
And there you have it. Try out these tips, and you’ll reverse their lack of appetite in no time!