A hungry child can be a sign of a growing child. As a child grows and develops their calorie needs increase. Foods have a purpose for growing children –to provide needed nutrients to keep their bodies free of disease and growing healthy. Choose foods that are easily recognized as whole foods –ones without a long list of ingredients. Be sure to include fruits, veggies and beans for their fight-o-chemical plant power. Avoid giving too many empty, unnecessary calories from foods that have refined flours like crackers (NOT made from 100% whole grains or that contain added sugar) cookies snack foods and fruit chews.
Make sure to have regular meals. Sometimes kids will choose play time over meal time. So having a regular schedule will help them get in a rhythm of being hungry at meal times and eating a balanced healthy meal. This way, they avoid grazing through the day which can be easily misinterpreted as your child always being hungry.
Hunger can also be a sign of boredom, excitement, and sadness. So ask your child if he or she is really hungry or if something else is on his/her mind.
Here are some other tips to help address all-day hunger:
Quench the Thirst:
When a child is thirsty, they may mistake their thirst for hunger. So encourage water before snacks and meals.
Overall, higher fiber foods will keep your child satisfied and feeling full for longer.
Go Lean with Protein:
Good sources of protein can also help with feeling full.
Great snack ideas that will keep your child full and satisfied include:
Get more great ideas on feeding your kids from SuperKids Nutrition Expert Interviews with Diane Fagan on kids eating habits, Kate Scarlata on eating slow in a fast world and Jo-Ann Heslin on feeding challenges and raising a healthy family.
We work with registered dietitians and nutrition scientists to provide nutrition education and healthy eating tips to help create future healthier generations through good nutrition. Melissa's Healthy Living does not provide medical advice, medical nutrition therapy, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.
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