When you are a concerned parent – it is extremely worrying and terribly annoying when your child says “I am not hungry” at mealtimes.
Parents who are faced with children who say they are not hungry rush to doctors requesting a prescription of appetite stimulants – but that is NOT the solution. Definitely not the permanent solution.
To ensure that your child is hungry – it is important for you to understand the gut.
The gut or the gastrointestinal system is one of the most important organs in the body and it is really important to understand how it functions.
In my workshops on nutrition when I introduce parents to their children’s guts and tell them that in a child - the gut is an inexperienced new organ that needs patience and understanding to function well – I get incredulous looks at first.
Then as I go about explaining how the gut functions – its needs - what makes it happy and what makes it sad – I have the satisfaction of witnessing the very rewarding
“Aha!”moment when parents realize how they have ignored and neglected the needs of their children’s guts.
The gut needs a lot more than just FOOD and that is what parents need to understand.
One of the most important things that the gut needs besides food – is ROUTINE.
The gut thrives on routine and when it is happy – the other organs in the body that depend on it for food – thrive as well. As a result you have a healthier and happier child.
To keep the gut happy - it is important to serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day.
This is because the gut is like the kitchen of the body. And it is a kitchen that caters to the needs of millions of cells. The food that your child eats has to be cooked further in the gut to become cell food. Each cell needs to be fed on time and so the gut has a mammoth task to perform at all times.
When the gut is relatively sure of food coming down at specific times it keeps the ingredients and sufficient manpower at hand to tackle the food. This then makes its life much easier.
So when meals arrive in expected amounts at specified times - the gut is able to digest meal 1 and get ready for snack 1 and then digest snack 1 and get ready for meal 2 at just the right times. As a result - it never feels overburdened.
Forcing the issue – never works with the gut. It begins to protest by aching and paining and packing up.
Serve meals on time so that you never have a misunderstanding with your child’s gut.
Wishing you happy meal times!