Ever wonder why your child has no appetite, or if they are losing weight? Your child might be showing symptoms of picky eating.
Mealtime can be challenging for parents with picky children who have a low appetite. There are instances that your child might have a hard time eating, or on a diet due to health issues. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We've prepared a list of easy options on how you can make meal time more enjoyable and get your child excited about eating.
1. Make Foods Appealing
It's no secret that kids usually don't like eating healthy food. They prefer sweet and sugary tastes, but these are often high in calories and low in nutrients. So how can you make foods appealing to your picky eater?
Colors: Children are drawn to bright and colorful foods. Make sure the food they eat contains plenty of color, and that it is full of nutrient-rich foods like spinach, broccoli and carrots as well as whole grains like quinoa or brown rice. These provide carbohydrates and fiber needed by the body.
Shapes: Try cutting shapes out of foods so it looks like something else! For example, cut a circle out of a slice of cheese and place it on top of a cracker for an appetizer that looks like an eyeball! Or cut triangles out of carrots and pretend they're leaves on a tree!
Flavors: The goal here is not to make your child love every single flavor they try—it's just important that they don't hate anyone flavor too much so they can get used to eating it without gagging. Start with mild flavors like honey or sugar water (not recommended for 2 years old below); if they're okay with those then move onto.
2. Encourage Conversations
When it comes to encouraging your child's appetite and helping them to eat their meals, the best thing you can do is get involved.
Children will feel more comfortable eating if you sit with them and share the same meal. Spend time in positive conversation at mealtimes, and make sure that your child knows that you are happy to see him or her eating healthy foods.
3. Use Child-Sized Utensils
You know what's so frustrating about feeding your picky eater? That you can't just give them a pile of food and let them be on their merry way. You have to make sure they actually eat the right amount of food, which means measuring out portions.
It's not that hard, but it is tedious. And if your child has a small appetite, it can be hard to make sure they get enough food. The first step is to give them the right tools for the job.
Try using utensils that make it easier to serve the right size portions of food. We love these Owl & Bunny Kids Dinnerware from The Plate Story that are sustainably produced from Malaysia. The fun and cute design is based on animal cartoons for a mini-zoo meal time experience! It comes in different variation: a four-compartment plate, fork and spoon, cup, cup with cover, and kid's bowl specially designed for little hands! Made from durable, 100% high quality food-grade melamine material that is shatter-poof and break-resistant.
4. Keep mealtimes pleasant and relaxed.
When your child is having trouble eating, it's important to keep mealtimes pleasant and relaxed. Turn off the TV and remove toys and other distractions during meal and snack times.
The more relaxed you are, the more likely your child will be willing to eat. If you're rushing around and stressed out, it's less likely that your child will want to eat anything.
Try sitting down at the table with your child when they're hungry and ask them what they want to eat. This can help them feel like they have some control over their day, which will make them more open to eating what's offered.
5. Involve your child in food decisions.
If your child is old enough to be involved in the decision-making process, give them that opportunity. If they want to make their own meal, let them! But don't let your child make all the decisions—you need to balance out their choices with nutritious foods too.
You can also try hiding healthy foods in more indulgent dishes—like adding spinach to spaghetti sauce or sneaking shredded carrots into tacos—to make them more exciting for kids who might be wary of veggies. The key here is balance: don't sneak these foods in just because they're good for you; make sure that your kids still get plenty of carbs and fat so that they don't feel deprived!
We believe that every child deserves to have a healthy appetite, and we want to help you make that possible. If you find this article helpful, share this with the other mummies out there! You can also join our growing community to keep you updated on our latest blogs, tips, and promotions by subscribing through our newsletters.