• Jul-25-2018

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Does it constantly bother you that your child doesn’t eat enough?

You worry that the child’s future and growth is being hampered due to this appetite slump.

It is true that the story of a long-healthy life begins at childhood. It is childhood where the foundation gets laid for development. Habits play a major role in shaping life and the eating habits that we once developed as children have a direct effect on our inner-make. Other than food and nourishment, a child needs a healthy environment and a safe and supportive atmosphere. These factors become the roots to the mental and physical development.

While some children lose their appetite gradually there are some signs to lookout for:

  • If the child appears to be a fussy eater
  • If he/she vomits immediately after eating
  • If a child refuses to eat his/her favourite food

So, why does a child suffer from loss of appetite?

Here are a few reasons why it could happen:
  • The play-time has been reduced and therefore less energy is being exerted
  • You have been giving your child more of a liquid/fluid food
  • Eating between meals could also cause a slump
  • It could also occur as a side-effect to a certain medication
While the reasons may vary, make sure to seek proper medical help for your toddler. Scheduling a medical examination and a discussion with your medical-care provider will help you understand the real issue. As far as nutrition is concerned, raise the issue with your medical-care provider and seek an opinion on giving your child the right supplementation – a dose of vitamins and other vital nutrients to keep up the nutrition levels. There are periods when children need less food for their development, there are always healthier options and measures for such phases. Children have their own hunger cues, sometimes it’s best to follow them. Force-feeding will not aid the child or you in a better way.

There are some home measures that could be taken:

Watch out for distractions: There are occasions when children get distracted, like if the television is on, or there are toys around, or even story-books. Bring your child into the habit of enjoying food, use playful tactics if necessary- like giving nicknames to the little bites.

Adjust the meal schedules and maintain a routine: If a routine is set, then automatically your child’s body will adapt to it, it will only be a matter of time.

Encourage outdoor activities: The more your child plays and exerts energy the better the chances are of him/her feeling hungry.

Try serving small and frequent portions, if it works, continue.

Keep a variety in the menu: Not only will it give him/her options, it will also increase the intake. You need not always include his/her favourite food. Introduce your child to healthy foods, it could help. For instance: Let them choose the fruits of their choice, they will savour them far more quickly than you expect. You could make smoothies or shakes out of seasonal fruits and make sure your kid gulps them down. Cut parathas or chapatis in different shapes using a cutter to peak your little toddlers interest. Serve Idli or dosas in bite sized form or in a different style which they will want to try and eventually finish. Give them small portions of curd or lassi. Use Cumin(Jeera), Fennel (Saunf) and tulsi (Basil) with water or in food preparations, it works well to improve digestion and increase appetite.

Be patient: Sometimes children take time adjusting to certain foods or medications (if any). Consult your medical care giver in such cases to understand the situation better. But remain patient, because it will serve you in the long run. The battle for a healthy appetite needn’t be a fight for nutrition, there are ways and means to get the right nourishment to your child. Make sure your child is happy, plays enough outdoor games and engages in a productive routine. A happy child will bring out your own joy. And joy is, after all the most important part in our lives.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Merck India Pvt. Ltd.

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