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Food Obsessed 5-year-old

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My 5 (almost 6) year old daughter is literally OBSESSED with food. She is of a healthy weight, but only because I rarely buy treats and try to teach her to eat right. She has always been a grazer, but lately she is eating full meals and she still has the desire to graze. She is CONSTANTLY asking for food. After each meal, not 10 minutes goes by before she is asking for food again. When I am making her lunch, she obsesses over the size of her serving ("There will be an extra boiled egg, so can I have TWO?") As soon as she's finished something, she is asking for more. She eats as much as I do and I am pregnant!
Has anyone else encountered this problem? I need suggestions. I really don't want to take her to the pediatrician if I don't have to.
post #2 of 7
Has she always eaten like this? Or is this recent?

I would keep an eye on it and see if it goes away, subsides in a few weeks. If this is recent behavior it may just be that she is going through a growth spurt (or preparing for one) and not meeting her body's needs is going to be physically and psychologically unhealthy for her.

If she has always eaten like this, I would probably take her to see the pediatrician, b/c this volume of food on a healthy weight child is not normal, IMO. I would wonder if there is something else going on.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
It's been going on for a while. I don't think she eats too much, because I am careful about her servings. I am also careful not to deprive her if she really *needs* food. I know she's not hungry, though, because she turns her nose up at some things which I know she used to like (like carrots, for example) and turns around and asks for something else. She has grown a lot lately, but has maintianed a healthy weight. She is a bit meatier than some of her little friends, but not at all chubby.
I tend to think this is more of a psychological issue. Do you think she needs more stimulation? Maybe I need to start her education (we'll homeschool) a few weeks earlier than I had planned and see if that works.
post #4 of 7
Yes, maybe she is just bored and looking for a way to get more interaction from you. This would be the perfect time to steer her away from the idea that food = fun/stimulation.
post #5 of 7
OMG! I could have written that post about my 5yo DS!!! We joke that he must be feeding an entire community of tapeworms! He is just as you described -- he will literally tell me that he is hungry as he is walking out of the kitchen after dinner, or as we are leaving an all-you-can-eat buffet where he had three plates of food. He will ask me, and DH, and my other children, as we're serving ourselves dinner, "You're not going to eat it all, right? You'll leave some?" And then if someone should leave some of their meal on their plate, he will ask to finish it. I even have had to physically restrain him from taking food off his sister's plate, when it's something he especially loves -- she eats slower than he does, and he is convinced that she must be finished when he is, so obviously she doesn't want whatever is left on her plate.

As I mentioned in another thread yesterday, he has our city landmarked by the availability of food. You know, there's the cookie store. Let's go to the park by the pizza place. We're coming up on the grocery store that sells the green juice, Mom. There're the fairgrounds where we got that really good icecream (it was homemade) at the fair last year, Mom. He organizes everything we do by when and what he will eat. He also accounts for about 3/8 of my grocery budget -- the other 5/8 feeds four people!

I, too, rarely buy treats. But he has a memory like you would not believe, and can remember what we ate on vacation in Florida three years ago. Seriously! When he was two! He can remember where we've purchased any single item of food that he liked. So he knows where the cookie store is because his preschool class visited there and helped them make cookies last year.

Honestly, I don't know what to tell you about being worried. My DS is skinny, has always been skinny, but is extremely healthy and has had consistent growth. (He's got the same arc on the weight chart since he was about 18 months.) It worries me, because I don't know where this obsession comes from and I don't know if it's going to lead to eating disorder issues later on. I have always, always fed him whenever he has asked, even if that's every ten minutes, so he's never had reason to be so obsessed with when and how much he'll be able to eat. He drinks plenty of water, so I know it's not a hydration issue masking as hunger. And it's absolutely not boredom or a cry for attention -- we have a very attached relationship, I spend a lot of time with him, as do his father and brother and sister, and he is involved in a lot of activities that he enjoys, both inside and outside of the home. But things like taking food from his sister, and begging food from people whenever we go somewhere to visit, are really starting to be an issue for us.

In our case, this has been ongoing for DS's entire life. We've had him checked twice for GI issues, including Celiac disease, as our older son was diagnosed with that, and there is a genetic disposition. Our docs all say he is fine, including our very well respected homeopath and our holistic pediatrician. (We just found her, and she's fantastic, and I trust her more than I trust all of my other docs combined.)

So, I can offer commiseration, if not some answers. Hope you find those, though!
post #6 of 7
I have a 7 yo dd who would eat all day if she was left unattended. She is also so skinny she looks as if you could break her arm if you grab it. She just has a super high metabolism, like her two uncles. The pp about finishing off leftovers of siblings had me The rest of us are definitely meatier than her, and when we go to a restaurant adn she is finishing off everyone's food, I think people must think we starve her at home. One thing that has worked is when she asks for extra food very soon after a huge meal is to give it ten minutes. That has helped her gauge whether she is craving food or an activity.
post #7 of 7
There is a great book available called "Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense" by Ellyn Satter. It addresses some of same issues you mentioned with your DD. You can probably locate it at your local library.
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