Our expert says:
A 5-year-old who does not eat one of the main meals of the day such as dinner, may well be too tired from all the daily activities to eat? Or the meal may be served too late for a young person. Try offering her dinner earlier and also remember that small children have small stomachs and can only eat small portions of food at a given meal. It is better for small children to eat more meals consisting of small portions throughout the day, instead of 3 larger meals. Another reason for your daughter's lack of appetite could be that she is drinking relatively large amounts of liquids such as milk, cold drink or fruit juice? If this is the case, cut down all the sweetened drinks including the fruit juice, and check if she is having too much milk. Although milk is one of the most important sources of nutrients in the diet of children, toddlers only require about 2 cups of milk or yoghurt a day. Having larger amounts of milk may prevent the child from eating other foods and cause iron deficiency, which can lead to extreme tiredness and listlessness. Sweetened liquids can suppress the appetite and prevent children from eating a balanced diet thus leading to so-called nutrient dilution. If this problem persists and she continues to lose weight then it is important to have her health checked by a Paediatrician, to determine if there is an underlying physical cause for her weightloss. Click on ‘DietnFood’ at the top of this page and then on ‘Eating throughout life’ and read the articles on ‘Toddlers’.
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