You may be struggling to ensure that your picky little eater eats right on a daily basis. But feeding your child when he/she is sick takes the challenge to a whole new level. Besides not feeling well, your little trooper may not have the appetite to eat as much as he/she normally does. In a recent survey conducted by Abbott Nutrition, 88% of parents in Singapore reported that their child suffered appetite loss when sick.
However, it is important to keep your child nourished and well-hydrated with fluids and food that he/she can tolerate during an illness. Here are a few simple tips to help you nurse and nourish your little one back to health.
1. Keep food for sick kids soft, in small serves
Food for sick kids: Make sure that your sick child adequate energy and nutrients from the food that they eat.
Although kids may be less active when they are down with a fever, they still need adequate energy and nutrients from the food that they eat. This is because their basal metabolic rate actually increases by 13% for every 1°C rise in fever temperature, which results in them burning more calories.
When kids do not eat enough during this time, their bodies will eventually use the fat stores and muscles as sources of energy and nutrients. Most kids tend to lose weight when they are sick, and are at risk of being undernourished.
To encourage your child to eat when sick, you can start by giving small servings of ‘soft food’ which are easier to swallow and digest. Options like porridge, oatmeal and soupy noodles are usually well accepted. You can also add in small chunks of vegetables and meat for a balanced and nourishing meal.
2. Fluids, fluids and more fluids!
Food for sick kids: Get your sick child to drink up so that they do not get dehydrated.
It is important that your child replenishes lost fluids when sick to avoid dehydration. Offer water or diluted juices in small amounts and get them to take small sips frequently throughout the day. You can also let them to drink from a plastic drinking cup with a lid and straw to make the whole sipping exercise more fun.
3. Supplement with a nutritious drink
Supplement your sick child’s diet with a nutritious drink, such as the PediaSure Complete Ready-to-drink
If your child is not up to taking in much food while recovering from an illness, there’s no need to worry just yet. Apart from ensuring that he/she drinks plenty of fluid, you can also offer a complete and balanced nutritional supplement like the PediaSure Complete Ready-to-Drink. Available in 2 great flavours – vanilla and chocolate – this nutritious drink is fortified with 28 essential vitamins and minerals including prebiotics and probiotics to support a healthy digestive system and suppress the growth of harmful bacteria. It also has the right proportion of protein, carbohydrates and lipids. PediaSure Complete is a complete and balanced nutritional supplement for your child.
Although most parents tend to worry about their child’s food intake when they are recovering from an illness, there is no reason to force him/her to eat. Just wait for a few days for your child’s appetite and eating habits to get back to normal – and continue offering lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.