My Child Eats a Lot One Day and Nothing the Next
Common Age: 12 months to 3 years
According to nutrition experts, this is nothing to worry about. For the most part, children are better than adults at monitoring their hunger. While adults tend to eat because food is in front of us or we're bored, a young child is innately in touch with his appetite. Moreover, children's second and third years are prime times for rapid growth spurts that may encourage what seems like binge eating. These episodes will ebb and flow as your child grows. The bottom line? Don't put yourself through torture trying to get your child to eat.
Set a reasonable time limit for your child to eat his meal, and then move on, suggests Kathleen Zelman, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Make sure, too, that your child isn't drinking all of his calories; too much milk or juice could quash her appetite for food. Three or four ounces of juice a day is enough. To wean a child from the juice-all-day habit, slowly dilute each cup until she's used to drinking water whenever she's thirsty, suggests Roberts. It's important for children to get the nutrients that dairy provides, but it doesn't all have to come from milk. Children this age need four half-cup servings of dairy a day, so serve healthy choices such as yogurt as part of your child's meals.