20 Tips To Increase Your Child’s Appetite

Increasing your children’s appetite can be tricky, especially if they find food unappealing or are struggling to eat. However don’t stress, there are ways to make them eat better.

Here are 20 suggestions for boosting a healthy appetite in your little one:

1) Compulsory breakfast Compulsory breakfast - Appetite - Flintobox

Eating a good, healthy breakfast is bound to increase your child’s appetite.

A balanced breakfast boosts metabolism after the night ‘fast’ and gets the body working for the day.

Ensure that breakfast is a compulsory meal in your household. It’s a tried and tested formula, give it a shot!

2) Offer water 30 minutes before meal time

Children should have water first thing in the morning, even before milk. Also, they should have water half an hour before meals. These basics help a lot!

3) Feed every two hours

Children who fuss over food because they’re not too hungry should be offered food every couple of hours. The standard three meals may not be boosting their digestive system enough to make them feel hungry. Regular meals once in two hours will also help. Try it!

4) Snacks are meals

Snacks should be as good as meals if you want a better appetite. Instead of a cookie, offer a sandwich; instead of chips, offer muesli or cereal. Think of healthy replacements for snacks and notice the change in your child’s appetite.

5) Peanut is not just any nut Peanut is not just any nut - Appetite - Flintobox

Peanut is sometimes called the king of nuts for its appetite-boosting and protein-building properties.

Incorporate it into your child’s food in the form of peanut butter or just fry it to be eaten as crisps.

The next time your child fusses for chips, offer him/her fried peanuts. You’ll be doing his appetite a favour.

6) Don’t make milk a meal

Many children, who have low appetites, suffer from what can be called the ‘too much milk’ problem. When children have milk as fillers, appetisers, or snacks, it kills their appetite for the next meal. Introduce dairy in other forms like cottage cheese, yoghurt, or cream.

7) Offer favourite foods

For some children with low appetite, the very sight of food might be a problem.
If such is your child’s case, try offering his/her favourite foods initially to get the metabolism running.
Healthy food can follow once your little one starts accepting the very idea of eating.

8) Offer small bites

Small bites of food build metabolism, which in turn, improves appetite. Offer smaller bites of food to your children if you think they have reduced appetite. Slowly, their want for food will increase.

You should continue offering small bites until they start eating on their own and decide on their bite-size themselves.

RELATED: Handling Choking Hazards In Kids: 6 Tips For Parents

9) Yoghurt is a must Yoghurt is a must - Appetite - Flintobox

One cannot stress enough about how important yoghurt is for a child.

It’s a dairy product with healthy probiotics and calcium which are amazing for the appetite and immunity of the child. Yoghurt serves the purpose of a dessert as well.

RELATED: 10 Power Foods To Supercharge Your Child’s Immunity

10) Avoid pungent or strong food

Most children don’t enjoy extreme odours or overpowering tastes.
If low appetite is an issue with your child, check if your kitchen has food odours and/or if your food has a strong taste of Indian masalas, garlic, and so on.
Eliminate these flavours. Chances are that your child will start eating properly.

11) Use appetising spices

Oregano, cinnamon, coriander, and fennel (leaves and seeds) are all spices and herbs that aid in building an appetite. Add a dash of these here and there in your child’s food. However, ensure that these are not too visibly garnished on their plates.

12) Don’t make oily food Don't Make Oily Food - Appetite - Flintobox

Traditional Indian homes have the tendency of offering ‘ghee-based’ food to children.

Unlike popular belief, such foods kill their appetite.

Go easy on fatty products and dairy since these might be the reason why your child has a low appetite.

13) Play/exercise more

It’s a common knowledge that playing sports or exercising improves appetite. Don’t you think we forget this common idea when it comes to our children? If your child has a declining appetite, increase play time. You will see the hunger coming back!

14) If kids are too warm, they eat less

Yes, it’s true! If it’s too hot or suffocating in the house, appetite goes down. Place your child’s high chair or dining table near an open window for some fresh air to enter. You will notice the change.

15) Offer fresh lime juice

When your child fusses over food and says that he/she is not hungry, offer sweetened fresh lime juice, instead of water. Lime improves digestion and appetite.

16) Avoid stressful topics at meal times Avoid stressful topics at meal times - Appetite - Flintobox

Sometimes, parents discuss finances or plan the child’s school schedule during meal times as spending time together is a rarity.

Having said that, avoid stressful or serious discussions during meal times. It kills a child’s appetite.

Try talking about happy things and see him/her wipe the plates clean.

17) Increase the intake of zinc

Zinc helps in building appetite. Wheat bran, cashew nuts, and pumpkin seeds are good for improving the level of zinc in the body. Try incorporating these into your child’s meals or snacks. Check with your child’s doctor for zinc supplements as well.

18) Try homemade remedies

Try remedies like ginger juice with honey and peppermint chutneys to improve appetite. These can be made easily at home. They are great for the immune system as well.

19) Keep a food journal Keep a food journal - Appetite - Flintobox

Where you note things they ate on good-food days.

Ideas that worked on those days can be used for future reference.

Doesn’t hurt if a retrial works its wonder again, does it?

20) Don’t skip dessert

Fruit-based desserts can help in building an appetite. They work towards digestion and boost metabolism. Psychologically, fruit-based desserts attract children to finish their meals faster. Best appetite-boosting fruits are berries, grapes, and apples.

Got more ideas/tips that helped your child improve his/her appetite? Share the suggestion that worked for your child in the ‘Comment’ section below.

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Mother to a five-year-old, Amrita Minocha is essentially a teacher. She teaches GRE/GMAT/IELTS verbal courses, English as a second language (TESOL), and Yoga! An MBA in HR, she enjoys juggling between diverse roles. A hardcore bookworm who aims to pen a book someday, she currently writes GRE verbal samples, activity books for kids, and actively blogs on the Flintobox blog.


  • Brijkishor

    June 6, 2020 - 11:55 am

    Sure , we will do it.

  • Zizou

    May 29, 2020 - 6:23 pm

    Good tips… my child is now eating very well.may God bless you….

  • Ishaant khosla

    April 4, 2020 - 12:54 pm

    will try..my 2.6 year old daughter refuse to eat food.

  • raghuvir

    February 14, 2020 - 10:48 am

    Thank you for sharing

  • Megala

    February 3, 2020 - 4:50 pm

    I am megala from Coimbatore,,my baby is 2year old ……. She was not eating anything …. ….. I think she was not getting hungry …. Pls tell drs what can I do …. I am worried …. She was drinking only cow milk that also twice in whole day….

  • San

    December 19, 2019 - 4:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing, will surely try out these tips. I am getting worried about my kids energy level, she is 6 years old and doesn’t show any interest over food, which is now impacting her studies and all other physical and mental activities.

  • Kavitha

    November 17, 2019 - 10:26 pm

    That was a great read. I would also like to add something on babies who refuse to eat food. There could be several reasons why a baby is refusing to eat food. Some of them are:
    – The baby is fed too much liquid because of which it has lost it’s appetite.
    – The baby is too young to feed solid food.
    – There are too many distractions for your baby like TV, outside noise, etc.
    – The baby is not interested in trying new food.
    – The baby is allergic to food for which you need to be careful and observe how the baby reacts.

    Babies take time to get adjusted to new food so parents don’t have to worry. It is better to wait and observe the baby’s eating habits for a few days and the consult a doctor if they find anything alarming.

  • Sreeti Singh

    September 20, 2019 - 12:50 pm

    Hii sreeti here i saw your article ,i will follow
    My son height should be 95cm by now but he is 94cm everybody says he is short according to his age i try to keep his favourite food on dining table like banana crackers and apple juice mixed with water i give him chicken rice chapati uttaapa but still his weight is only 14.5 kg he don’t want to drink water at all please suggest

  • Akhil Arya

    June 12, 2019 - 3:49 pm

    thanks for sharing with us.

  • simba.

    May 8, 2019 - 6:45 pm

    wow thanks so much for the tips.
    my child.s appetite has suddenly decreased.
    he is 9 months and only preferes milk and water.
    i believe these tips will bring smiles on our faces.

  • sonali

    February 26, 2019 - 10:40 am

    hi amrita….my daughter imis 4 yer old..dont eat food by her own and fast..she does not like to eat roti and just eats one roti if i make her eat ..witj lil rice..i m allways worried…as she is on the lener side…and have leg pain
    .after playing for long…plz suggest me how do i help her …thank you

  • Swaran

    January 12, 2019 - 9:09 pm

    Nice tips buddy

    • Gayathri G

      January 14, 2019 - 9:05 am

      Thank you, Swaran! Stay tuned for more articles on parenting and nutrition! 🙂

  • Narender

    January 12, 2019 - 6:15 pm

    Thank you , Amruthaji for your healthful (useful)tips to boost appetite in children.

  • Sanket Jadhav

    January 12, 2019 - 12:38 pm

    Thank you flintobox for this Good information

    • Gayathri G

      January 14, 2019 - 9:05 am

      Thank you, Sanket! Glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Avinash modak

    January 11, 2019 - 6:45 pm

    Thank you…very helpful articles..

    • Gayathri G

      January 14, 2019 - 9:06 am

      Thank you very much, Avinash!

  • Priyanka

    January 11, 2019 - 12:23 pm

    Thanks much, It’s a great help of these super tips.

    • Gayathri G

      January 14, 2019 - 9:06 am

      Thanks a lot, Priyanka! 🙂

  • Baokhinhi

    September 5, 2018 - 3:14 pm

    Hi Amrita. Great in – depth tips. I supplement zinc for my son. I will add yoghurt as dessert for every his meal. Hope he will more eat and more delicious.

    • Gayathri G

      September 7, 2018 - 8:33 am

      Thank you very much, Baokhinhi 🙂

  • motaz norain

    August 28, 2018 - 5:36 pm

    thank you

    • Gayathri G

      August 29, 2018 - 8:33 am

      Thank you very much 🙂

  • Fathima

    May 19, 2018 - 10:50 am

    Thanks a lot.. My 4 yr daughter takes a lot of tym to eat especially chapati.. I ll try ur tips….

  • Rohit

    March 8, 2018 - 2:52 pm

    Excellent article Amrita! Many thanks for such valuable info.

  • Mary

    March 1, 2018 - 12:34 pm

    Thanks Amrita for your post on this topics. I was looking for something like that. Keep blogging.

  • Ankita

    January 17, 2018 - 9:52 am

    Good nutrition is a good idea.

  • Satish

    October 22, 2017 - 5:44 pm

    Thanks for your invaluable suggestions.
    My daughter (6 years) eats very less and uninterested expect for Potatoes and milk. She don’t eat lunch at school. At home we have to push her for an hour. I definitely try what you have mentioned in the article. What else can I do to improve her appetite and digestion more.
    Thanks & Regards

    • Ashwin

      January 19, 2018 - 1:43 pm

      Hi Satish, Thank you for reaching out. You can check out our other articles based on child nutrition – https://flintobox.com/blog/nutrition

    • Sonia

      January 29, 2018 - 1:31 pm

      Ugh same with my son. Im becoming worried. Bur I’m definitely taking this pointer at hand. Hioe they work for us.

  • Anele

    September 25, 2017 - 1:41 am

    Thnks for this article it has helped me a lot.

  • Sheena

    September 8, 2017 - 8:07 pm

    Hello my child is 4yrs old n she is very choosy in eating she has basic 4-5thngs which she consume daily n for a chapati she takes 1hr same for a half fry egg..She has never even tried ny fruit ny salad curd butter milk she never even tasted such things..My highly stressed with her appetite I have asked many doctors bt nothing is working..Nk one cm believe she don’t even est chocolate s cold drink junk food nothing tasted yet plz guide me for her I vo be very thankful !! Regards sheena

  • Saeed

    August 27, 2017 - 5:22 pm

    I will follow your tips thanks

  • Manisha

    March 24, 2017 - 8:14 am

    Hi….my baby is one year old..she does not eating any kind of food. I tried so many thing .bt she wants only milk…her wait is 8 kg. I am worry abiut her .

    • Rakesh

      March 24, 2017 - 6:00 pm

      Hi Manisha,

      On the outside it looks like there’s nothing to be worried about.

      But still if you feel concerned, please consult a paediatrician.

    • Manvitha

      August 3, 2017 - 10:33 pm

      Exactly I m facing same problem with my kid…but my pediatrician suggested zinc,vitamin d3,and iron drops…firstly I neglected those but later on I just gave it a try…and a little bit its work started…and at last he is trying to eat

    • Mimoza

      September 20, 2017 - 2:33 pm

      Hi Manisha, same here with my daughter. She is 14months old, her wight is 8.400 and she hardly eats anything, she is also anemic and refuses even the syrup. every time I feed her i prepare 3-4 plates hoping if she doesn’t eat this one maybe she’ll try the other one. I’m still breastfeeding and she also drinks water.

  • Getsy

    March 4, 2017 - 4:09 pm

    Thank you so very much,very good tips.

  • sena mosisa

    February 22, 2017 - 8:05 pm

    OK thank you!!!

  • K

    December 25, 2016 - 2:42 am

    Thanks for this article. I will try some of the tips. Do you have any tips for kids who eat too slowly? Slowly enough to trigger the “full” signal in the brain, without having even eaten half their plate. (I serve little to make it seem less) Thanks

  • Jenny Stokes

    December 10, 2016 - 12:53 am

    Thank you for sharing, I would definitely apply this to my toddler twins as I have been worried about the other one not eating good lately

    • Rakesh

      December 10, 2016 - 9:50 am

      Glad we could help.

  • Bhavika

    December 7, 2016 - 4:49 pm

    Awesome !!very well written. Also I want to share on my page is there any share button. I

    • Rakesh

      December 8, 2016 - 10:20 am

      Glad you found it useful. The share link is on top of page. Thank you.

  • Khushboo Agarwal

    December 7, 2016 - 4:29 pm

    I would like to thank you for such a useful information as I have a three year old son for whom I am always worried to have proper meal. Now this blog help me to out what things I should give him to increase his appetite.
    I want to you whether I can improve my English command through online courses as I can’t step out for that. I am very eager to know your reply.

    Thanks again
    Khushboo Agarwal

    • Rakesh

      December 8, 2016 - 10:07 am

      Thanks for your comments. Glad we could help.

  • Manjusha Pandey

    December 7, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    Very useful write up Amrita! I completely understand how frustrating it gets when child refuses to eat … I am sure useful tips by you would certainly come handy for mums with a fussy eater😊

    • Rakesh

      December 8, 2016 - 10:06 am

      Thank you very much. We sure hope the tips be of help to many.

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