Increase Your Child’s Appetite Naturally With Powerful Kitchen Foods
Pediatric Nutritionist, BSc, Post Graduate in Nutrition and Dietetics, PhD (Std)
- Posted On March 20, 2017
“Mom I am not hungry” is the most common response of a child when asked to have meals. Children have a physical need for food considering the rapid years of growth and development. But when the instinct to have food is missing, it hits an alarm to parents that a measure must be taken to avoid this situation arising daily at home.
What causes poor appetite in children?
Child appetite is function of many influences. The most common causes of loss of appetite in a child are stress, academic pressure, peer pressure, exam anxiety or emotional disturbances. Common diseases like cold, cough, gastric disturbances and acute infections can also curb a child’s appetite. Many medicines like cough syrups and antibiotics can cause changes in taste perception resulting in reduction of child’s appetite.These reasons must be differentiated from nervous disorders like anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa can cause severe appetite loss and if untreated for prolonged span of time, affect growth and development in children especially teenagers when puberty is at its peak.
Solution is resort to kitchen foods to increase appetite in children:
Many foods from our Indian kitchens have their powerful ingredients with potential to improve appetite in children. Here are some foods listed by our Pediatric Nutritionists at FitterFly which mothers can easily pick from her kitchen.
- Bite on Bitter greens: Many green leafy vegetables like spinach, bottle gourd leaves, lettuce etc that children hate to eat are great hunger stimulants. Active components present in many of these fancy salad leaves stimulate digestion in the stomach that play a key role in increasing appetite. Chop them into dals and vegetables, use them in soups, pack them in parathas, and add them to delicious chutneys.
- Binge on Ginger: The most important bioactive compound present in ginger is Gingerol that acts as a stimulant to increase appetite in children.Ginger helps reduce delayed emptying of the stomach thus preventing indigestion and lack of appetite in children. Interestingly, ginger juice makes food palatable and when added to cold beverages also gives pleasing flavor and color.Addition of small dried pieces of ginger to 2 cups of boiled water with little addition of milk and sugarcan be used as a decoction to increase appetite in children.
- Step up appetite with pepper: Piperine, an essential bioactive compound found in pepper improves digestion and relieves children from other stomach ailments like bloating. Black pepper plays an important role in absorption of several nutrients present in other foods digested in the stomach. Stimulation of taste buds increases the drive to grab more food during meals thus overall increasing appetite and voluntary food intake by children.
- Cherish your dish with Gooseberries: Indian gooseberries most commonly known to mothers as Amla is a favorite ingredient to grow strong hair. But many may be unaware of its medicinal properties that act as a tonic to increasehunger naturally in children.Amla’s bioactive compounds like polyphenols, tannins and Vitamin C also increase appetite in children, prevent indigestion, hyperacidity and heart burn. Amla acts as a natural deworming medicine in children. The astringent or sour properties of amla prevent nausea and vomiting that help increase intake of food in children.
- Pick on Garlic: Many children may get attracted to the aroma of sauted garlic in food but may despise its strong flavor when added excess in meals. Allicin present in garlic is an invaluable medicine for disorders like common cold, cough and bronchitis that cause altered taste perceptions in children. Small quantities of sauted garlic in soups, vegetables and dals in combination with onions and ginger make the food tasty and yummy naturally inducing appetite in children.
- A tinge of Fennel: Rich in phytoestrogens, fennel seeds (saunf)are highly aromatic and a perfect digestive cleanser. It is commonly used after meals to aid in digestion. Many other properties present in fennel seeds also act as a stimulant to increase appetite in children. They act as natural body coolers during summers and are mostly commonly used in cold beverages mixed with lime juice.
TAKE HOME MESSEGE:
- Dark green leafy vegetables increase digestive juices and enzymes thus improving digestion and appetite in children.
- Gingerol in ginger prevents delay in emptying of the food digested and thus improves digestion. It also makes food flavorsome and palatable for children.
- Pepper and Garlic stimulates taste buds of children resulting in gradual increases in appetite.
- Astringent properties of amla prevent nausea and vomiting in children that increase food intake otherwise suppressed due to stomach illness.
- Intake of small amounts of the following herbs can be highly beneficial but excess quantities can make food taste pungent and unpalatable.
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