In terms of food, it is often a lot more difficult to please children than adults. Children especially stay away from food when they are too sick. They lose appetite due to the side effects of certain medicines. This makes them choosy eaters. In such a case, you will have to think of using an appetite stimulant for them. If you think your children are not eating well for a sustained period of time or that they are losing weight drastically, you should go for an appetite stimulant, and if that doesn't work, a pediatrician.
Appetite Stimulants for Kids
» If you are struggling to make your child have nourishing meals, go for some alternative methods. For instance: try herbs, such as ginger, fenugreek, Indian ginseng, thyme, rosemary, centaury, etc. That will be both effective and safe. These tried and tested herbs also help in treating stomach disorders, which may be causing the loss of appetite. In addition to these, there are over-the-counter herbal appetite stimulants for kids which you can opt for.
» Introduce your child to a variety of fruits. Children love fruits and rarely make a face while eating them. Fruits are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Cut them up into fun shapes and ask your child to help you in the process. You can also go for fruit juices or come up with a concoction of fruits and vegetable juices. Fruits improve the energy levels and work as excellent appetite stimulants.
» Add some spices to children's everyday foods (take care that it isn't too much). Stimulated taste buds will translate into more appetite.
» It has been observed that vitamin deficiency can induce loss of appetite. It is for this reason that multivitamin supplements as well as iron, zinc and other mineral supplements are advised to promote nutritional balance in children. They also boost energy and improve immunity. However, these should only be administered on the recommendation of a doctor.
» As far as possible, avoid junk food. Unhealthy snacks, sweets and aerated drinks may spoil children's appetites. If he/she must have a snack, provide pieces of fruit or vegetable sticks that he can use as finger foods.
» Prolonged emotional stress can also be one of the causes of children not eating properly. Try to sort out the problem by talking to them. A dysfunctional family may be the cause of the loss of appetite. Ignite their interest in a particular sport or activity that requires physical activeness. This will help them relieve the stress and will also stimulate their appetite.
» Extra care has to be taken if your child has lost his appetite due to sickness. E.g., if your child is suffering from cold, provide nutritious foods like broth or chicken. Also see to it that the child drinks plenty of warm water.
Children reject even the slightest variation in tastes, preferring the set pattern of favorite flavors over new, unexplored avenues of cuisine. The next time your child makes a mealtime fuss, go for the stimulants listed above. Losing appetite once in a while is nothing to worry about, but if the child continues to avoid food and shows symptoms of illness, seek medical intervention.
Disclaimer: This AptParenting article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.