Week by Week

Appetite Slump in Toddlers

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Your toddler does not want to eat at meal times or seems to have lost their appetite. It can be worrying because an appetite loss could link to some health conditions that you may not know about. Also, the eating habit of children can affect their mental and physical development.

What are the causes of appetite slump in toddlers?

Illness is the common cause that makes your children do not want to eat. You should check them for some signs such as a sore throat, fever, rash, or other symptoms. If your children have these signs, they are probably sick. Contact your doctor to seek treatment.

Also, the following reasons can make your kids lost their appetite:

−They eat between meals.
−They drink juices or other kinds of fluids between meals.
−They use less energy than normal.

Tips to improve your children’ s appetite

Dependent on the child’s personality, age, energy levels, or growth periods, you can choose some tips below to help your kids:

Make the meal time fun. You should make eating more enjoyable for your children. Give children foods and let them choose what they will eat. Do not force them to eat foods they do not want to.

Put your children in charge of how much they eat. The most common reason why children rarely feel hungry is that they eat too many snacks and meals in a day. Instead, you should put them in charge of the amount of food that they will eat.

Vary your children’ s menu. Kids are always attracted to colorful and interesting objects. So, why don’t you make meals an exciting time for your children to wait for every day. You could try to cut foods into cute shapes such as a rabbit, the sun, a cloud, a dog, or whatever your kids like. But make sure you include foods from 4 groups below:

Whole grain products, e.g., rice, pasta, cereals, bread, and other grain products enriched with folic acid, iron, or other B vitamins
−Vegetables and fruits in bite – sized portions
−Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and so on
−Lean meats, poultry, and fish

Avoid distractions. Using toys or TV to feed your children is the wrong way. This is because your kids will adopt a bad habit when eating. They will not eat if you do not have a new toy or turn off television one day.

Serve small portions of food. Your kids have a stomach smaller than yours. So, if they are severed more food than they can eat, their appetite will decrease. You just need to give them a small amount on a large plate, then they will finish it. If they want more, wait for them to ask for it.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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