What to do if my child does not want to eat?
The feeding of the children is a subject that always worries and, when we are fathers or mothers, we have a thousand and one doubts about it. The dreaded food phases come when the child does not want to eat vegetables, just wants to eat meat or rejects any food we offer. And one of the problems that parents face during a certain period is when the child does not want to eat anything .
It means a time of stress for parents because, even if we offer certain foods, the child does not want them. They just want to take a small amount of food, cookies or a piece of bread. The most frequent doubts arrive at this moment: will any nutrient be missing? Am I doing something wrong? Do I give him a cookie before he goes hungry? The answer to these questions is simpler than it seems, according to nutritionist Sara Jiménez .
THE MOST FREQUENT DOUBTS ARRIVE AT THIS MOMENT: WILL ANY NUTRIENT BE LACKING? AM I DOING SOMETHING WRONG?
My son does not eat, should I force him to eat?
The first thing we should do is not to panic because the little one does not want to eat. Absolutely nothing happens if you don’t eat one morning. We must not stop offering food for the simple fact that the child does not want to take it. The most appropriate thing would be to sit it at the table, offer the food and decide if you want to drink it or not. What we should not do is offer you another insane alternative so that you do not go hungry because, normally, that alternative is based on sugar, refined flours and poor quality fats, that is, cookies, pastries, worms, french fries, etc …
We should not offer this type of products as an alternative to the main meal because the child will associate that not eating at noon means a candy or snack as compensation, and this further complicates this phase of little eating.
When we talk about offering food, it is understood to put the plate in front of him and that he himself decides what amount he wants to drink. We should never force to eat for several reasons. The first one is because the child will take the food as an obligation, will not enjoy it and will create a feeling of anxiety and frustration quite alarming in the future, which could trigger a stormy relationship with food.
The second reason why we should not force a child to eat (or anyone else) is because the signal of innate satiety that children have is deactivated. Adults do not know when a child is satiated or when he is hungry ; This, only the child can know. Just imagine ourselves at lunchtime and that they are forcing us to eat (even putting the spoon in our mouths), even if we have no appetite. It would be something horrible and cause us anxiety. The same goes for children. We must not force them to eat. Children really know when they have to stop eating or when they don’t want to.
Is it good to reward you when you eat?
If we get the child to eat some food, we should not reward him with sweets or gifts because he will always associate it with something material , pastries or processed products, and eat only thinking about the reward he will have later. At home you should always have healthy options because, if the child does not want to eat the main course, he can take something healthy as an alternative, but not as a gift (as is a pastry). For example, if you do not want to take a plate of lentils, you have the option of taking a fruit salad.
It is also very important to practice by example at home. Children are real sponges to learn and repeat everything you see at home. It makes no sense to pretend that the child eats some green beans if we are eating a hamburger. The food must be the same for all family members.
Create an attractive menu for your child
In these phases of lack of appetite or temper tantrums, it is essential to prepare the child appetizing food and get attention. Here, our imagination is fundamental. It is not the same to present a plate of boiled broccoli, as is, to present a plate of broccoli by drawing a smiling face. These are creative and healthy dishes that will catch the child’s attention and increase the chances of eating.
And first of all, it must be clear that it is a transitory phase, just as there are the phases of tantrums, for example.
We must have the most patients and always have healthy options at the table to offer the child. If the child plays and looks happy, there is nothing to worry about, he is healthy. Even so, if this worries us, the right and ideal thing is to go to a dietitian-nutritionist who values the situation and provides quality advice for this phase.