My kids are obsessed with food!

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Fran27, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    I know it's Summer break and they're bored, but this is driving me totally nuts. My kids ask what 'time it is' all day. Meaning... 'is it breakfast time? is it snack? is it lunch?'. Sometimes they even ask what's 'after lunch' so they can think about what snacks they're going to get next... Heck they've just had lunch and are already asking if it's snack time! They're obsessed with food! It's driving me crazy! They ask me 100 times a day and they'd snack all day and not eat dinner or lunch if I let them. I'm just not even giving them snacks anymore, I tell them to get something in the fridge (basically, cheese or yogurt) so at least they're not filling up on carbs if they're really hungry.

    Does this pass? I've had overeating issues all my life so I'm really worried about this (they're adopted, so at least they don't share our genetics and are still slim, but still).
  2. gina_leigh

    gina_leigh Well-Known Member

    Mine do the same thing. They would just snack and never eat if it was up to them.
    I did cut out snacks this week. I got fed up with it all. Granted, they started school, so it's not as bad. But the new rule is they get a fruit and one piece of cheese when they get home from school. That's it until dinner.

    The overeating or eating because they're bored does bother me too and that's something I try to watch out for.
  3. lharrison1

    lharrison1 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My kids eat small amounts of food several times a day...they just dont ever eat a large amount at one setting so they get hungry more often-I'm fine with this so long as whatever they eat is healthy-I know at school they get one snack in the afternoon after lunch (crackers of some sort). Eating several small meals a day is actually healthier than eating 3 large meals a day. Also, kids are growing so much right now and I imagine their metabolism is pretty fast at this point. I'd check with your pedi and see what they feel is normal at this age.
    I wouldnt worry about them overeating as long as they are active and eating healthy. I am sure the constant asking is frustrating, though.
    2 people like this.
  4. gina_leigh

    gina_leigh Well-Known Member

    I do agree with you Lesley on smaller meals, etc.

    I guess my biggest problem comes when they decide they aren't hungry for meals and then 30 minutes later ask for a snack! That's when I want to :headbang: . LOL! Or when it's just
  5. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We just had two weeks off from daycare and had this problem with the all day eating. I agree with Leslie that it's actually healthier to eat smaller amounts more frequently. The real challenge is finding them healthy things to eat. So I started leaving out washed raw vegetables and fruit, and they could go grab a bite whenever they wanted and they didn't have to ask.. and I didn't have to prepare anything. We stopped buying granola bars and stuff like that so we could cut down on our sugar, and both of those measures helped us a lot.
  6. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    There's actually a lot of varied research on whether it's healthier to eat more smaller meals.

    The kids have a snack at daycare, but at home we do breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No snacks. My kids never ask for them. I'm not saying I wouldn't give them one if they asked, but they don't. I can barely get them fed three times a day without upping the pressure to five times a day. And I like that we don't have an all day focus on food.
  7. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We've never been able to get away from snacks, but what does drive me nuts is when kids need to have snacks after every activity, at the grocery store, all the time. I don't want a purse full of crackers! We were doing that and I realized it was "quiet food". I have totally cut that out since.

    By leaving fresh stuff out while we're at home, I feel like that's a good compromise and allowing them to make their own decision about when they're hungry during the day. We always sit down for breakfast and dinner together, but in between is less structured and it's just not a hassle that way.
  8. lharrison1

    lharrison1 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I am not sure about varied research-my family all eat around 5 small meals a day-mostly healthy snacks and we are all thin and active. (and its not genetics, I can promise you that) My kids cannot physically eat a large amount in one setting-I dont force it, ever.
    Kids stomachs are very small, and when they are growing they digest and metabolize it quickly, especially when they are particularly active.

    We have just always done the 'you eat when you are hungry and you dont when you are not'. And we guide them with making healthy choices.

    I am not telling anyone how to feed their children-this is just how we go about it.
    1 person likes this.
  9. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We do four meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, mid afternoon, and dinner. I used to feed the girls whenever they asked but it was making me ornery (understatement of the year) so I decided to consolidate food times cold turkey. They were grumpy at first but eventually figured out they need to eat when food is served if they don't want to be hungry. That being said, if they genuinely aren't hungry at a meal time that's fine. I put their plated food in the fridge and they're welcome to grab it themselves if they get hungry before the next meal time. But I won't prep something else for them.
    1 person likes this.
  10. jenn-

    jenn- Well-Known Member

    Figure out how many times a day you want them snacking if you don't want to keep a completely open kitchen (I do not allow random snacking). Once you have a schedule, print it out nice and big and post it next to a digital clock. Then teach the kids how to read the clock, or at least match the first numbers. Teaching my OCD child how to tell time helped with knowing when he was going to get his food next and he quit asking me. Granted we then went through a phase of freaking out if snack was served at 3:04 instead of 3:00, but that was short lived.
    2 people like this.
  11. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    There's research that says it doesn't matter how many meals you eat a day--it's calories. There's research that says 3 meals a day is healthiest. There's research that says more frequent smaller meals are healthiest. I just don't think it's necessarily true that it's healthiest to eat more frequent smaller meals. If it works for your family, then it's healthiest for you. But I'd guess that the type and amount of food you eat contributes more to your "thin and active" family than the fact that you eat more frequent meals. I also think it's such a misunderstanding to suggest that eating three meals a day involves forcing kids to eat larger quantities of food than they can handle. My kids determine what they eat at a given meal. And like I said, they would get snacks if they asked. They don't. In large part I think because we don't build our day that way.

    I don't think there's a right or wrong way. Just pushing back against the common refrain that eating smaller, frequent meals is healthiest. There's not definitive evidence of that.
  12. dtomecko

    dtomecko Well-Known Member

    I wish my kids were obsessed with food! They don't ask for snacks much. I sometimes give them when they don't ask, just to make sure they're eating. It was a huge annoying fight to get my son to eat his chicken wrap for dinner last night. I had to remind him every 5 minutes to take another bite. I don't get why he's just not hungry. It took him over an hour to eat some green beans and a half of a wrap. And he only did it because I got mad and said forget it, put your plate on the counter you're done. Then he got mad that he wasn't "allowed" to eat and wanted to eat, so he hurried up and actually ate. Guess I'll have to try that more often! He never asked for anything after either. I'm curious to see how things will change now that they started school today. I wonder if he'll come home starving! They only get 20 minutes for lunch, which should mean he got about 5 bites in! I'm worried because lunch was always his best meal.
  13. lharrison1

    lharrison1 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Rachael-I am in no way suggesting that eating 3 meals a day is forcing kids to eat larger quantities in one setting. I am certainly not an expert, my husbands degree is in Exercise Phys and Nutrition...he's where I get my information. I believe you are correct in that it matters more in how much and how healthy the food you consume in a day is rather than how often, but there are studies that show the time of day you eat has certain benefits as well.
    It has to do with metabolic rates. IF you eat a large meal you may only need 1000 calories, but you just consumed 2000. Then your body will store the rest.
  14. AimeeThomp

    AimeeThomp Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I am the worst when it comes to letting my kids snack. When we are both working days and I pick the kids up from daycare they are hungry the minute we get home. So I find myself making whatever I can as quickly as I can or I pick up McDonalds on my way home.

    On weekends I swear they can tell when I'm trying to get something done so that's when they ask for food so I tell them to go get a snack.

    It seems like I am always messing it up and they have a snack right before a meal time and then don't eat the meal. I just try to do the best I can do and I figure as they grow it's going to get easier.
  15. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    This is me too. I think my kids work better on the small meals. That being said, they do usually want a snack between lunch and dinner and one before bed. My rule about snacks is you have to put a good hit on your meal before getting a snack.
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  16. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    I randomly googled "healthiest number of meals," and every article on this topic on the first page says it either doesn't matter or that eating more frequent meals is actually less healthy (including one that said that eating more frequently is associated with higher risk of colon cancer--not sure about that). Healthy eating is calories in and quality in. Yes, eating 2000 calories in a meal is unhealthy. Dividing an 1800 calorie a day diet into 3 600 calorie meals is not. Likewise, dividing an 1800 calorie a day diet into 6 300 calorie snacks is not. Or 3 500 calorie meals and 2 150 calorie snacks. I think the real magic in number of meals is what number of meals helps you the individual stay in the range that's healthy for you. For some, that's 3 a day. For some, it's 6.
  17. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    I find my kids snack when they are home. When we are active, at camp, or at school, they don't snack as much. Last year, they would snack after school many times, but they did get lunch at 10:30, so probably were really hungry at 3. Same with camp, they ate at 12:30 and were looking for a snack on the way home at 4:30-5. But, when they are eating meals at "normal" intervals, they rarely snack.

    I also tend to 3 meals a day. Especially with Middle Schoolers, there is no snack at school, so they have breakfast before 7:30, lunch around noon, then dinner will depend on soccer practice--so many days before 6:00 practice.
  18. Specky

    Specky Well-Known Member

    My whole family is obsessed with talking about food! Lol! Seriously, we get together and the conversation always diverts to food somehow. What we ate, what we are going to eat, what We'd like to's like six degrees of food.
    I have 4 sisters and we chat about our favorite book...turns into favorite favorite what's for what can we make right now. It's very unintentional but we've stopped fighting it.
    We had Sista-Fest this year and almost our whole photo albulm consists of food ( usually us eating it), wine (usually giant glasses of it), and inside joke pictures none of us remember.

    Our kids eat 3-6 meals a day depending on the day. There are some days they seem to eat air and others you'd think they were teenagers. We offer healthy choices, with a treat here and there, but let them determine when 'their tummies are happy'.
    They are great eaters typically so we trust when they are hungry or not.
  19. ddancerd1

    ddancerd1 Well-Known Member

    i grew up in a "3 meals a day" household, so that's what we do. i plate the girls meals for them, and make it small enough for them, and if they finish teh plate and want seconds, that's totally fine. i don't offer snacks, and they rarely ask for them (tho if they do, i give them a banana, or yogurt, or some other fruit). if know we'll be gone for quite a few hours out of the house, i try to pack a small snack for each of them in my purse. (fruit leather, crackers, squeezy apple sauce, etc).

    ivana did go a few days this summer asking for a snack daily. she'd come up from the playroom a few times a day saying she was hungry. i figured it must've been a growth spurt. if it was too close to lunch/dinner (within 30 minutes) i'd say no, but otherwise i wouldn't deny her a snack. i also make sure they're drinking water throughout the day.
  20. kim01

    kim01 Well-Known Member

    We do breakfast, a small lunch, and dinner. And they snack they eat all the time. And they are skinny and healthy. I don't ever want my kids to be hungry. With that being said they do have to ask if they can have something. And the only time I will tell them no is if its close to dinner. Other than that eat something for heavens sake. They don't snack just b/c they are bored. And we only have healthy snacks so the junk food just isn't an option.  There are always healthy snacks around for them to choose from. I hate the thought of limiting a growing child's  food. That just seems so foreign to me. I know that we may have to do something differently with the foster baby. But the boys are basically allowed to eat when hungry. And yes there have been many meals where right after were done they ask can I have a snack? If they ate well at dinner I don't care. It bugs me yes but I'm not going to make them go hungry b/c of it. Like I said if they ate at least some at dinner then they can snack. They have a snack before bed every night too. I just make sure there are only healthy options to choose from and its not too close to dinner, or lunch if I'm making a bigger lunch. I have talked with friends who do limit her kids snacks. She is a dietion (sp) and does some weird food stuff. Her kids love to come to my house they know they will get to eat when they are hungry. They don't ever not eat dinner when its time. So seeing that has made me happy to not be all weird about food. When they were smaller I did carry snacks with me in my purse or diaper bag. However we didn't go out when it was lunch time or dinner time. That's another rant of mine lol. But If they needed a snack I had it. I never was one to offer a snack if they got too loud.
  21. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    That's the thing though. At school they barely touch their lunch! I don't get it...
  22. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    It's okay to feel a little hungry sometimes between meals. No one is saying starve your kids, but the idea that kids should never feel hunger isn't really healthy IMO. Sometimes you're a little hungry. Sometimes you eat too much and you are full. It's okay for kids to learn those feelings and develop healthy attitudes for resolving them.
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  23. tarcoulis

    tarcoulis Well-Known Member

    Mine too.  I've often thought about cutting out the middle man and just throwing their lunches straight in the trash right after packing it.
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  24. sulik110202

    sulik110202 Well-Known Member

    Are they too busy talking and catching up with friends to eat lunch?  My kids have 20 minutes for lunch and that was a big adjustment for them.  The first two weeks of school I don't think my daughter ate hardly anything because she was being social at lunch and not eating.  She's better now, but always hungry after school.
  25. kim01

    kim01 Well-Known Member

    Are they eating school lunches? might be the food. My guys b/4 they went to public school always ate great at lunch. Ever since being in public school they just don't eat much lunch.  It could be as pp mentioned socializing. I know when the boys were in school lunch and recess were the only times they could talk. :diablo:  You could talk with the school and ask that they maybe seat your child be someone other than friends to eat.  That might help to give them a few more min to eat.
  26. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    No, packed lunches. They wouldn't have enough time to stand in line and eat the school lunch.
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