Children are natural grazers and love to pick at different options of food throughout the day. This is normal and often a good way to get a variety of nutrients into your child, as you can offer them little bits of different foods to snack on. However, if you have a child who loves to snack and then barely touches their main meal, you may need to pull back on the snacks or leave a good 1-2 hours before their main meals that is snack-free. If your child gets hangry easily, then make their last snack before the waiting period a protein dense snack, like a boiled egg or some good quality cheese and seed-based crackers.
Children also go through natural periods of eating less, and then suddenly increasing their intake as they hit a growth spurt. Unless your child refuses food for a longer period, try not to force feed them if they seem disinterested for a couple of days. Their appetite will naturally pick back up again and remember that you too may occasionally just not feel like eating as much as usual.
There are occasions when lack of appetite that is persistent is due to nutritional deficiencies that can be common with children, including zinc and iron. If you are concerned about your child’s appetite (and often subsequently their mood and behaviour) then please get in touch, as working with children and families is a passion of mine in clinic.