Family Magazine

Increase Appetite in Babies, Toddlers and Kids with 12 Foods

By Sangeetha

I have written earlier on how to stop fussing and the tactics to make your fussy eater eat properly. This time I wanted to write about the foods to increase appetite in babies, toddlers and kids.

My friend was telling me about her 2 year old daughter. Her fussiness towards food gives her headache every day. The little girl is not interested in fruits, cereals or vegetables. Instead she loves the deep fried items like sev, chips and namkeen. “Those deep fried snacks are the only eatables she is interested in. She doesn’t seem to be hungry at all. God knows why. I am really worried” told this mom.

Well in this post I will give you detailed information about low appetite in babies, toddlers and the foods which are appetite boosters.

Causes of low appetite in babies, toddlers and kids:

There can be many reasons for poor appetite in babies and toddlers. Fever, cold and cough are the main culprits.

Even though the body recovers from fever or cold, the digestion process takes a bit longer to get back in track, resulting in tastelessness and low appetite.

Let’s see the other reasons for less appetite in babies, toddlers and kids.

  • Low level of Zinc

According to Science, low appetite has been linked to Zinc deficiency in your body. Zinc produces hydrochloric acid which is required for proper digestion of food. A low level of Zinc produces less HCI which leads to poor appetite.

You can increase the levels of Zinc by providing chicken, wheat bran, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds in your little one’s diet.

  • Unbalanced agni or digestion

According to Ayurveda, the ‘Pakwagni’ or the fire helps us to burn the food in the tummy and convert it into energy required by the body. Indigestion, gas and flatulence are all caused due to imbalance in this Agni.

In babies and toddlers usually the Agni or digestion process goes seemingly slow due to illnesses like fever, cold or cough.

  • Appetite slump

In toddlers, there can be a constant weight for about 3-4 months. Their growth has slowed down; calorie requirement is less during those months and hence low appetite results.

  • Failure to thrive

Babies can also have the constant weight or no increase in weight for a few months. It’s known as ‘failure to thrive’ which is again caused as a result of infections, fever or any other illnesses.

  • Inadequate gaps between meals

When food is given without a proper gap of 3 to 4 hours, it won’t digest properly. In such a case, the baby or toddler won’t feel hungry for a long time.

  • Whole grains

Whole grains can make the tummies of babies and toddler full for long as it is rich in fibre. It might also cause low appetite.

  • Too much of milk/ dairy products

You read it right. Too much of cow’s milk or formula can result in low appetite among babies and toddlers. In case of toddlers, limit the cow’s milk or dairy products to 2-3 cups a day.

12 Foods to increase appetite in babies, toddlers and kids:

Here are the 12 foods that can help to increase appetite in babies, toddlers and kids naturally.

increase appetite in babies, toddlers and kids
increase appetite in babies, toddlers and kids

#1. Ajwain

Ajwain or omam is an excellent appetite booster. You can give it to babies of 6 months and above in the form of ajwain water, parathas or as the tempering or tadka in food.

#2. Asafoetida

Hing, kayam or asafoetida is the anti-flatulent known to increase appetite in babies and toddlers. You can add hing to baby foods like khichdi, butter milk, khadi or rasam.

You can also read how asafoetida worked wonders for my daughter’s gas problems.

#3. Ashtachoornam

Ashtachoornam is an Ayurvedic powder made of ‘ashta’ or eight herbs. It can help to increase the appetite in toddlers and kids.

You can mix Ashtachoornam in warm ghee and rice for your toddler. It can also be mixed with buttermilk or warm water for your toddler every day.

Ashtachoornam can be started from the age of 1.

#4. Basil or tulasi

Basil or tulasi can help to improve digestion process and increase appetite in babies above 8 months.

#5. Cinammon

Cinammon can increase appetite in babies, toddlers, kids and even adults. It contains ‘hydroxychalcone’ which increases appetite.

From 7th month, you can add cinnamon powder in porridge, mashes and kheer for babies and kids. For older kids you can add cinnamon powder in homemade cakes, toasts, pastries and hot chocolate drinks.

#6. Chyawanprash

Chyawanprash is an effective remedy for loss of appetite in kids. It can also help in the proper digestion.

Chyawanprash can be given for kids of 6 years and above.

#7. Rajanyadi Choornam

Rajanyadi Choornam has turmeric as the main ingredient. It is very beneficial for worm infection, constipation, low appetite, indigestion and improving strength in babies.  The quantity can be 1-4 gm mixed with ghee before meals twice a day.

It can be started for babies from 6th month.

#8. Ginger

Ginger can help to increase appetite in toddlers and kids.

Crush ginger with a pinch of salt. Add in the buttermilk or chaas given to your toddler every afternoon. This can help to increase the fire/agni which can improve the appetite in toddlers above 1 year.

You can also read about dry ginger coffee for babies and toddlers during cold and cough.

#9. Musthaarishtam

Musthaarishtam is a tonic that can help to increase appetite in babies, kids and adults as well. It can be started for toddlers above 1 year.

#10. Oregano

Oregano is another spice which can improve appetite in toddlers and kids. Add in homemade pizzas, breads, omelettes and pastas.

#11. Rasam

Rasam is a herbal soup made in South India. It can boost appetite in babies and kids as it eases the digestion process while boosting immunity.

Rasam can be given for babies of 7 months and above.

#12. Thyme

Thyme can also boost appetite in babies and kids. You can add in rice and dals.

You can consult your paediatrician if your little one’s low appetite seems to continue for months. The paediatrician might prescribe Aptivate syrup or any other appetite booster medicines.

However please DO NOT try these medicine without the consent of any paediatrician. In case of Ayurvedic medicines, it’s better to consult an Ayurvedic doctor before starting any tonics or choorna as he will give you the right quantity to be given for your baby as per the age and physical attributes.

Further reading:

  • 13 finger foods for babies
  • 31 iron rich foods for babies, toddlers and kids
  • Why cheese and butter, but no cow’s milk for babies below 1 year?

Hope you liked this post on foods to increase appetite naturally in babies, toddlers and kids. Is your little one fussy about eating foods? What do you do to increase his/her appetite? Share with me in comments.

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