Many parents get worried when their child refuses to eat a homemade meal. After trying a couple of times to convince their child to try the home made dishes, many parents get frustrated and annoyed by the fact that their child still refuses to eat. Some children may choose to eat less healthy options such as candies, chocolate, junk food, juices high in sugar and more food elevated in sugar and/or fat.
There are many factors to take into consideration when it comes to this situation. First, it is important to know that your child’s appetite may be reduced if he or she is between two to four years old due to slow growth changes occurring in this period (1). Therefore, it is important to respect your child’s appetite and to give them time to eat their food, although some may not finish their meal. Second, parents can encourage their child to eat vegetables or fruits if they show the example (2). Next, when parents put a lot of pressure on their child to finish their plate, although they have no more appetite, this has a higher risk on making their child being overweight, and in turn, obese. Studies have shown that it is harder for an adult to lose weight if they were overweight or obese during childhood (3). In the long term, your child’s obesity can be lead to diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
Many other environmental factors can have an impact on your child’s appetite such as video games, time spent on TV or even parents’ behavior. It is important to know and understand your child’s needs and desire when it comes to the world of food and nutrition.
There are many solutions to help your child appreciate the family diet such as being efficient role models, enjoy your meals with most family members being together and encourage your child in preparing home dishes.
Contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian today for further information and advice to help your child appreciate your family diet with pleasure. Again, take the time and patience to listen to your children since some may be very sensitive and have difficulty expressing their preferred food choices.
Remember to make your child happy when it comes to family meal and eating! –SNC-
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