Here are some helpful tips on encouraging your child to eat.
Eating should be fun and rewarding.
Don't make your child 'finish his plate' because he may end up feeling that eating is a chore. Encourage your child by making up stories and talking to him. Start with a small portions of food and let him ask for more when he feels hungry.
Be creative with the food you serve.
Food preparation and presentation of the meal are very important. Children get bored easily with food. Use creativity to make the food look as appetising as possible. Show your child how much you yourself love to eat those yummy foods so he'll be encouraged to try them.
Let your child help in the kitchen to teach him how to appreciate food.
Let him participate in food preparation by giving him simple tasks like washing fruits and vegetables; or mixing, stirring or pouring. Children are more often willing to try new and different foods when they've helped in the preparation. Enhance your food- bonding activity by teaching him the importance of nutritious foods for his body. The more he learns about what he eats, the better choices he will make.
Ask your paediatrician if he can prescribe a daily vitamin-mineral supplement for your child if it really worries you.
Vitamins that stimulate appetite or increase food intake generally do work so long as the child is healthy and is not suffering from any underlying illness. You should also make sure that you provide your child with a well-rounded diet when you are giving an appetite-stimulant vitamin. Otherwise, he will end up craving and eating empty calories.
Offer your child a variety of age-appropriate foods.
In a meal, your child should include foods like vegetables, fruits, meat and grain; a range that will supply him with fibre, protein and carbohydrate. Eliminate foods which contain empty calories such as sodas, candies, and other sugary snacks. Instead, replace them with options like fruit juice that may help improve his appetite.
Set a good example for your child.
Children will always look at their parents' actions and imitate them even in simple things. Encourage the whole family to eat together and make every mealtime a pleasant experience. Avoid eating in front of the television, computer and other distractions.