My son eats only chicken and rice. Is it healthy?

Taking fried chicken and chicken rice alone is not healthy as this type of diet is high in fat and lacking in other nutrients, including fibre.

Q: My 13-year-old is not eating proper meals. His choice of food is very limited.

He eats fried chicken with white rice almost every day and refuses to eat any vegetable or fruit.

Even when we eat out, he prefers to eat only chicken rice.

When we were holidaying in Australia, we had a hard time accommodating his eating habits, leaving us no choice but to buy fast food such as chicken burgers.

According to his health report from school, he is severely underweight.

We have tried all means of getting him to eat proper meals but nothing works.

Although he is active in sports and normal in behaviour, we are worried about how this will impact his future growth. Is there a doctor who can help him or is there a way to change his eating habits?

It is unusual and unhealthy for a 13-year-old boy to eat only rice and chicken.

At the age of 13, he has already established his eating habits and it may be quite difficult to alter his eating behaviour.

Taking fried chicken and chicken rice alone is not healthy as this type of diet is high in fat and lacking in other nutrients, including fibre.

He should take a variety of other protein-rich food such as eggs, fish, beef and bean curd.

For a balanced diet, he would also need to eat salads, green leafy vegetables, various types of beans and fruit.

Typically, at this age, he should be able to understand the necessity and importance of eating a variety of food items to ensure balanced nutrition.

I suggest you find out if there are any underlying reasons for his aversion to other foods. For example, does he take any other fried food besides chicken?

Does he feel uncomfortable when taking other food?

Does he have any adverse reaction when he takes other food?

If he is severely underweight, I suggest you take him to see a paediatrician to assess his nutritional status.

Professor Quak Seng Hock
Head and senior consultant at the division of paediatric gastroenterology and hepatology at the National University Hospital


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