Children who keep their mouths shut and refuse to eat often confuse parents. Do not let children experience growth disorders due to hunger strikes or picky foods. Therefore, it is important to find out how to increase the child’s appetite.
A person’s appetite is controlled by the hormones ghrelin and leptin. The hormone ghrelin will increase appetite, while the hormone leptin functions to reduce appetite and inhibit hunger. The hormone ghrelin will release in the stomach which then gives a hunger signal to the brain.
Parents can estimate the child’s calorie intake so that it is not less than his needs. Children’s daily calorie needs differ according to their age, gender, and physical activity. On average, children aged 2-3 years need about 1,000 calories per day, ages 4-8 years need 1,200-1,800 calories per day, and children 9-13 years need 1,600-2,200 calories per day.
Easy Ways to Increase Children’s Appetite
Lack of appetite in children and adults can be caused by various things, including stress, tension, side effects of drugs, unattractive taste and appearance of food, or the presence of certain medical conditions. How to overcome it, of course, must be adjusted to the cause.
1. Avoid coercive actions
The actions of parents who force their children to eat because they are worried can actually provoke tension at mealtime. This can make the child less sensitive to hunger later in life.
2. Create an attractive food display
The colorful dishes will attract the eye so that it will make mealtime enjoyable. Try combining a variety of vegetables with different colors, and serving them with sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, in a balanced meal to meet the nutritional needs of children.
3. Flirt with the smell of food
To attract the appetite can also be through the pleasant and tempting aroma of food. You can serve warm food that has just finished cooking, or warm the food before serving.
4. Divide in small portions
A plate full of food can reduce appetite. Work around it by dividing it into smaller portions to serve several times. In addition, small portions will also be easier to prepare.
5. Create unique and new food creations
Giving the same food every day can make your little one bored and may refuse the food. To work around this, try creating a variety of foods with unique and varied creations.
This will not only foster curiosity to try new foods, but also complement the nutritional intake that your little one gets.
6. Limit drinks while eating
To maintain appetite and prevent early satiety, you should avoid drinking too much during meal times. Give water, juice, tea, or other drinks to children after eating.
7. Involve children when preparing food
Take the kids shopping and prepare the food to be served. Parents will have the opportunity to know the type of food their child likes, as well as explain good nutrition. In this way, the child will be more excited when eating.
8. Consult a doctor
If appetite disturbances persist, consult your doctor. Lack of certain minerals, such as zinc, is to reduce appetite and trigger taste disorders.
Early animal studies concluded that zinc supplementation may increase appetite in cases of short-term zinc deficiency.
Do not rush to give supplements when the child seems to have difficulty eating. Always consult a pediatrician before giving any supplements to children. Try to apply first how to increase the child’s appetite above, so that children want to eat and fulfill their nutritional needs so their can healthy children.
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