Boosting your child’s appetite

When your child is a picky eater, it affects their physical and mental development. Not only do they become fussy with food, their appetite decreases and it might be tricky to bring it back up again to a balanced level. Making sure that you do so in a healthy way is extremely important - feeding them snacks constantly or offering desserts as a reward for cleaning their plates are only band-aid solutions, and not long-lasting.

Taking into consideration your child’s picky eating is key before you begin trying to implement changes or strategies in increasing their food intake. Once you are familiar with your kid’s eating habits, it will be easier to help and guide them toward a healthier and hungrier diet.

Here are some ways you can help your child’s appetite grow:

1. Never skip breakfast.
It’s called “the most important meal of the day” for a reason. Eating a delectable and full breakfast will help the trajectory for the day move upward. A balanced and warm morning meal will boost metabolism after a full night’s sleep and jumpstart your body’s energy and activity levels. See to it that breakfast is firmly integrated in your family’s daily routine.

2. Don’t overwhelm them with strong tasting or smelling food.
Most kids like things simple and easy to understand and digest. Make sure you introduce new tastes, textures, and smells to your kids gently and slowly, lest they be confused and overloaded. It will be difficult for them to identify what they want to eat if they’re presented with too many options all at once.

Aside from the food they’re presented, your kitchen or dining area can have pungent or strong smells as well, like medicine, smoke from cooking, or spices from the spice rack that have wafted into the air. Be sensitive to your home’s surroundings and eliminate anything that can overwhelm your child.

3. Exercise more and stay active.
Exercise and activity will not only help with physical fitness and development, but it also improves appetite and health consciousness. Being aware of what your body feels can help identify what it needs as well. Your child will feel hungrier after every play time or sports game, and seek out filling, hearty food. Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and food to make sure your kids don’t just snack on chips and candy.

4. Let them drink a cup or two of water 30 minutes before eating.
One of the most basic rules, drinking eight glasses of water a day can really help boost your kid’s appetite. Water activates digestive enzymes and, apart from increasing appetite, helps regulate digestion as well.

5. Make meal times happy, comfortable, and light.
Conversations during meal time can range from a fun anecdote to household finances. Stressful or complicated topics during meals can intimidate and confused kids, in turn, decreasing their appetite. Try to bond instead as a family and talk about each other’s day. The kids will feel included and excited about the topic, and their plates will be clean in no time!