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Trust Your Child's Appetite

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Trust Your Child’s Appetite

Trust that your children know how much they need to eat. Encourage children to listen and respond to their signals of hunger and fullness. As a parent, offer your children a variety of healthy foods at their meals and snack times. Your children can then decide which foods and how much food they want to eat. Let children serve themselves healthy foods until they are full.

When children are growing quickly, they may eat more. They may eat less when they are growing more slowly. It is okay if your children do not finish their meals. Try these tips:

  • Offer regular meals and snacks each day to help children with their hunger.
  • Let children eat based on their hunger and fullness rather than set portion sizes. Do not pressure or force your children to eat everything on their plate.
  • Offer a variety of foods. Allow children to eat higher sugar, higher fat foods in small amounts along with healthy foods. Avoid labelling foods as good and bad. Do not use food to reward or punish children.
  • Turn off the TV, computer and phone to allow children to focus on eating. Children can listen better to their bodies if they are not distracted.


For further information, please contact the Pick n Pay Health Hotline registered dietitian on 0800 11 22 88 or healthhotline@pnp.co.za. To find a registered dietitian in your area, visit the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) website at www.adsa.org.za.

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