Academician of European University of Lefke (EUL) Faculty of Health Sciences Department of Nutirition and Dietetics Assist. Prof. Dr. Ç. Tuba Günebak made some statements about appetite loss in children.
Günebak: You should consult to a paediatrician to learn the cause of loss of appetite
Pointing out that loss of appetite in children can be tiresome sometimes, Günebak said that “First of all, what you have to do is to understand whether the problem stems from child’s nutritional behavior or a biological origin. Therefore, you should first consult a pediatrician to find out the cause and the origin of the lack of appetite. The second thing you need to do is to contact a nutritionist and diet specialist. She further stated that if everything is normal and the only reason is the nutritional habits of the child the following should be considered;
- First, make sure that the meal times are regular. Doesn’t s/he eat? Don’t insist.
- Never open the child’s mouth by force, taking their interest away from the food (such as while watching TV or playing games), do not try to feed them by walking around.
- The child must be aware of what he or she eats to develop proper eating habits. For these reasons, do not mix nutrients and give them in a slurry.
- Try to be encouraging instead of insisting on foods that they don’t like. For example, let’s say they don’t like cauliflower. Never give up cooking first. When you put the cauliflower on the table, take it to your own plate before serving it and use expressions that will make them think it is very enjoyable to consume; Like “very tasty..”.
- Try to present a food that they don’t like in a different form. For example, if they say they don’t want to eat meat, then serve it in a different way, such as meat pie or minced meat pie or minced pasta.
- Do not leave the sugared or liquid foods (fruit, fruit juices, etc.) that close the appetite before the main meal.
- Although foods such as freshly squeezed fruit juice and milk are healthy; drinking these nutrients frequently can suppress appetite. Therefore, it is better to avoid drinks one hour before a meal and to drink only after the meal, not during the meal. Please note that; The child with a small stomach capacity can reach saturation with a glass of milk.
- Make sure that the meal breaks are not too short, so that they will have the time to get hungry.
- Adjust the food portions according to the child’s wishes. For example, look at your hand and theirs. Believe me, their stomachs are smaller than yours. Therefore, do not ignore stomach capacity when adjusting portions.
- Do not insist them to eat when they are over-tired, sleepless, sick, or unhappy (eg due to a school failure).
- Providing a sense of safety and security is very important for the child. Avoid accusations, humiliation and rebuke on a food topic. Make sure your attitude is parallel with your partner. For example, if one of you didn’t let them drink before eating, the other should support him.
- Don’t stop cooking because the child doesn’t like that food. If this meal is a meal that you and your partner like, your child will start to consume this food later in life as he sees what you are consuming.