Hmm, I'm wondering about the basic assumption that eating for boredom or comfort or because of an advert is automatically a bad thing.
Now, I believe that doing any of these things habitually is unhealthy (emotionally and physically). But doing them sometimes? I personally don't see any harm. Heck, I do it myself. So does dh. We see an advert or read a review of some restaurant, and we want to go to try it out. Or one of us mentions ice cream after dinner, and we want to have some. Is that really so bad?
I think it all comes down to trust. If my kids say something like, "It's hot today - can we get out the ice cream?" mostly, I"ll say yes, and I"ll probably have some too! Or my three year old gets an owie, and says that some strawberries would make her feel better. Fine, she can get some strawberries out. I offer boo-boo bear for comfort, I give cuddles, and sometimes she asks for a story or even a video. But sometimes she suggests a food item. And if we have it in the house, that's fine - even if it's almost dinner time.
I trust my kids. I don't believe that watching a video to calm down after an upsetting incident is going to become a habit. I don't think that eating an ice cream after scraping a knee is going to lead to eating disorders. I believe that making a big deal of the request for food by denying it, is far more likely to lead to a food issue.
Eating is pleasurable, it gives comfort, and it fulfils far more than quenching hunger. I don't think that you need to be hungry before you eat. I don't think that eating a cookie before dinner will automatically 'ruin' your dinner. Heck, I can pick at food as I prepare dinner but still eat my meal.
IMO control over food and not trusting children to make choices severely underestimates their ability to take care of their own needs. Not every choice has to be healthy, and not every item we consume needs to be because we are hungry.
We manage to snack during the day but still have mealtimes. It's not any big deal - nobody here ever 'ruins' their appetite. And we're all within perfectly normal, healthy weight limits. We eat basically healthy diets, but we do snack sometimes on imperfect foods. And we all eat sometimes for comfort, and occasionally through boredom - although I try to take action if we're bored and get out to do something after we've eaten our snack.
Anyway, what the heck are ho-hos. Are they something I need to try? (for when I"m bored or need some comfort eating :LOL