Ask the Doctor

Question #9:

My 2-year-old can’t seem to get into a schedule of meals. She’s hardly ever hungry when it’s time for a meal, but other times she wants to eat all day long. I worry that her eating is too erratic and not healthy.

Answer:

Gracie Bernardo, MD, of Coastal Pediatrics, a practice of CHKD Health System, says, “You need to take a look at what your child consumes over several days. If you aim for a nutritionally balanced week, you will likely hit the mark for overall balanced nutrition. At her age, it’s not unusual for children to have only a few food favorites, but you can usually work within those favorites to get a balance. Don’t push her to eat when she’s not hungry or hold her back when she is. That may teach her to ignore her body’s hunger cues, which could lead to an unhealthy attitude toward food. Growth spurts usually trigger more desire to eat. On the other hand, when she’s not as active, her appetite can decline. In time, as your child matures, her eating patterns will become more consistent. In the meantime, offer her healthy choices in creative ways and trust that her body will tell her when she needs more food.”


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