We worry about children who have a bird's appetite, but also those who seem to have no bottom! How to manage the appetite of our little gourmands?
We know how important it is to have a good diet to keep our body and mind he althy. This is even more true of young children who are in constant development and who need a he althy and varied diet to sustain all that energy! Yet about a quarter of parents report having a child who is choosy at the table while on the other hand, the percentage of overweight children is increasing at a worrying rate! How do we know if our child is eating enough (or too much!) and what can we do to teach them better eating habits?
The child who eats little or likes nothing
There are many reasons why a child may not have a great appetite: most of them are temporary, such as his mood, his tiredness or his level of physical activity. Some children also naturally have a less voracious appetite while meeting their nutritional needs with the little they eat. This is because each child has a personal growth rate that influences their appetite inresult. In addition, children have the ability to recognize hunger and satiety signals naturally, and it is important to respect them so as not to distort these signals. The important thing is that he has adequate growth while having a he althy and varied diet, combined with physical exercise.
If you are worried about his development or the quality of the food he eats daily, it might be advisable to make some changes to his diet to prevent this from having a negative impact on his he alth. long term.
Tips and tricks for the picky eater
- Children are curious by nature, explore this beautiful personality trait by involving them in meal preparation and introducing them to colorful and varied nutritious foods served in a fun way.
- Offer fresh fruit instead of sweetened juices and favor water between meals and milk with meals.
- Try to establish a regular schedule for meals and snacks so that your child can anticipate these moments instead of being surprised during playtime.
- Let your child have some control over what they eat. For example, you can choose the quality of food, but let him decide how much he wants of each food.
- Don't force your child to finish his plate, he could develop bad habits and an unhe althy relationship with food.
- Dine attable, as a family, and make it a positive experience without distractions like television.
- Do not give food-related punishments or rewards.
- If your child doesn't like a food, serve it with a food he likes to balance.
- The latest research shows that it is harmful to deprive children of dessert since it encourages the perception that dessert is a reward. Instead, it is recommended to limit sweet desserts to a maximum of two meals per week and to offer fruit and yogurt with other meals.
The child who has no background
Your child is a real endless pit and the astronomical amount of food he can eat in a day worries you? Just like the child who eats little, it could be because their own unique nutritional needs are higher or a temporary situation like a growth spurt or increased physical activity is responsible. It is also possible that this behavior is caused by a problem experienced by your child who eats his emotions or who no longer correctly recognizes his signals of satiety.
No matter the reason for their voracious appetite, there are several strategies you can use to make sure you provide a he althy eating environment for your child so they can teach themselves how to make good food. choice:
- In prevention, remember that there isalways respect a child’s hunger and fullness cues; since it is full growth and has high nutritional needs, it does not disturb these signals in the long term.
- Remember that you are in control of the food he has access to. Just as it can be hard for us to resist a chocolate bar we know is hidden in the cupboard, we can't blame a child who knows there are cookies for not choosing the apple for dessert. This is why it is important to make good food choices at the grocery store, in order to offer them a he althy and varied selection.
- Set a good example by making he althy food choices yourself.
- Some children eat a lot because they eat very quickly! Teach your child to eat more slowly, chew well and enjoy the flavor of food.
- Avoid over-focusing on food quantity, portion control, or restricting foods that contain fat or sugar so you don't overeat negative experience for your child.
- If in doubt, you can consult a children's nutritionist who can help you determine if your child's food intake is adequate for his personal needs and who can give you advice on how to improve his diet.