One day my son is constantly hungry. The next he may hardly touch his food. Then he may only want to eat cereal for several days. Should I be concerned?
Children’s appetites tend to vary from day to day. Children typically need a series of small meals throughout the day since their small stomachs fill and empty quickly. Give children credit that they will eat when they are hungry and allow them the freedom to stop when they are full. Often, appetite reflects periods of physical growth. It’s common for children to get onto “food jags” and want the same thing to eat meal after meal. The important thing to do is learn your child’s individual needs and preferences and not overreact when he won’t eat or wants Cheerios for three meals in a row. Eventually, the jag will pass. Monitor the child’s growth and health; if you have concerns, contact a pediatrician.
Review Making Mealtime Pleasant with Young Children for more information.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.,
Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri
Last update: Friday, February 06, 2009