We hear a lot about overeating but what about the children who won’t eat healthy or won’t eat enough.
Isn’t an element of concern for you…
Kaku, have one bite and we will go for a ride…!! my daily dinnertime favorite line to my daughter
Let’s see Oswald now and finish our food, yay…!! surprisingly Oswald became my favorite too
Let’s talk to papa and have your bite’…! my husband’s seasonal travel routine
So it started when Ananya my daughter, was of toddler age and going through a day care phase. I have to leave for work at 4:00 p.m. and day care shuts at 5:00 p.m. Due to traffic sometimes I was fortunate and reach on time and at times the poor child has to wait until she is unreasonably hungry. When we reach home, its eating time for all, including me. Hurriedly I prepare dinner and put her on high chair & she is all done in 2-3 bites or she don’t want to eat anymore. I know she is hungry and not eaten since her lunch break in day care.It brought tears to my eyes 🙁One of the most frustrating thing for a parent is the child who won't eat. There are lesser known reasons why children wont eat healthy & uncommonly it's not always that they don't like the food that's offered.
My Learning- There are lot of reasons which doesn’t necessarily means that the child doesn’t like the food that you are offering. It’s very much possible that your child is picking up your stress and intensity and that’s what shutting him down at meal time and wont’ eat healthy.
Let’s get into 10 lesser known reasons why children won’t eat healthy and understand the WHY deeper.
1.You child is growing slow
According to research, children generally gain weight in proportion to their age and height or length. What is more important than a child’s position on a growth curve (e.g., 25th percentile, 50th percentile, 90th percentile) is his or her pattern of growth. So for instance, a two-year-old boy whose weight has consistently been and continues to be at the 15th percentile for his age is displaying a normal pattern of weight gain…
There is a range of possible reasons for why a child might gain weight slowly, and often more than one reason is contributing at a time. Any factors that affect a child’s access to food – be they medical, social, economic, etc. – can affect weight gain.
Medically, anything that causes the following could be a contributing factor :
Inadequate food intake
Problems with digestion or absorption of food or absorption
Parents should always discuss a slow rate of weight gain with their physician.
2. You have a fussy eater
It’s the most toughest phase for parents. They end up by nagging their kids to eat or try another bite by bribing them no matter how unhealthy the food is and gets satisfied that the child had something.
Picky Eaters like one thing one day and don’t like other thing other day. They become very fickle about their eating. They may even become very erratic(I have gone through this; believe me) and those food preferences can derive you crazy.
Your job: is to keep offering well balanced diet and ensure your child has the opportunity to eat five to six times a day, but pushing to eat leads to picky eating.
3. You are putting too much pressure on your child
Putting up too much pressure is also the reason why your child is not eating happily. Research shows that children who are pushed to taste food or taste another bite may eat less healthfully. Or some kids gives the opposite results, they may eat beyond their appetite and perhaps too much.
Children who are in their picky eating phase, pressuring them may shut down their appetite. Also nagging gives the same result.These findings support other research which has shown that if parents or caregivers override their children’s signals of hunger and fullness — as in pressuring the child to eat when not hungry, then often children struggle to regulate their appetite appropriately in the future,” Farrow told My Health News Daily.
Healthy Children are born able to regulate their hunger and fullness, said study author Claire Farrow, a senior psychology lecturer at Lough borough University in Leicestershire, England.
4. Your child has a food allergy
Food allergies happens when your immune system makes a mistake. Normally, your immune system protects you from germs and disease. It does this by making antibodies that help you fight off bacteria, viruses, and other tiny organisms that can make you sick. But if you have a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly treats something in a certain food as if it’s really dangerous to you.
The same sort of thing happens with any allergy, whether it’s a medicine (like penicillin), pollen in the air (from grasses, weeds, and trees), or a food, like peanuts. So the thing itself isn’t harmful, but the way your body reacts to it is.
In this way food allergies can get children push not to only get enough nutrition but they also make children bored with their diet. Nearly 30% of kids face food allergies and it increases their risks for poor nutrition & low body weight.
5. Your child has super taste buds
Sometimes children with super tastes buds have the taste of bitterness and that causes more selective eating. Especially kids found vegetables in this category and shut down to even taste it. 25% kids are found to be supertasters. Parents should be aware of this reason and be not worry about eating patterns.
The key is to keep offering.
6. Your child is Texture Sensitive
Ouch! Texture sensitivity means that your children have a tendency to feel certain senses very strongly and they tend to react to those overwhelming feelings very strongly as well. Texture sensitive kids don’t like mushy foods, or wet or slippery foods and as such they might avoid them.
Other children might be sensitive to appearance or smell of food.
All these emotions certainly limit the diet leading for poor eating and nutrition. In my own practice and daily meeting with mothers, I see especially kids 4 years old entering the age of picky eating and texture sensitivity is one of them.
7. Your child is on food jag
He is stuck on his little shortlist favorite food. This could appear like not eating. Most likely they are eating enough they are not just getting enough variety & nutrients.
Food jag is what they want do eat the same food over and over day after day. This could be the prominent reason why your child is not ready to try other food. It’s again depend on you how you bring variety to the table.
8. Your child is filled up with snacks
So when it happens, its obvious they fill their tummies and this leads to being full or not hungry. What’s risky for child who is filling up with snacks there won’t be good array of nutrients that the child is eating. They might be eating too many poor nutrients rather than snacks that contain a lot of good nutrition.
Snack time is good time to offer fruits and veggies 90% of preschoolers consume high calories of snacks or beverages each day.Remember that’s crowding out room for nutrients which they need. It’s alarming!
9. Your child is distracted
Children are easily distracted by either digitally or by toys at meal times which makes ultimately a bad impact. It makes difficult to focus on eating and it becomes a challenge for parents to send a message that meal is a family time to time and play.
10. Your child is too tired
At the end of the long day some kids are just tired to eat. Your toddler might had a busy schedule in school. In terms of sleep, make sure your child is well rested. They need 9 hrs. of sleep per day, recommendation from National Sleep foundation.
11. Your child is ill
When the kids are sick they tend to eat less, possibly they can reduce the appetite too. Make sure they are well dehydrated and poured with enough balanced food.
Here I dig a little deeper why the child is not eating well to help you to necessary interventions and potentially thinking to stop making the problem worse. May be you have more reasons to share; go ahead and share in comments, would love to know from you.
If you find struggling with a child who won’t eat healthy, go ahead and call me, & set up some positive steps to make your child a happy eater.