Rethinking Snacking - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 04-06-2011, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As I learn more about TF it's occurred to me that once upon a time people did not snack constantly.  They did not pack snacks every time they left the house or leave snack trays out for their kids to graze all day.  (i don't mean to point fingers, I was part of this camp for years.)  We did not eat 6 small meals/snacks a day.  There were not food/snacks available EVERYWHERE one went - gas stations, drug stores, vending machines.

 

I do still have a snack drawer for my dds - dried fruit, nuts - and in the fridge: fruit, applesauce, carrot sticks.  (they do not like cheese).  And frankly, the appeal of snacks has warn off.  I used to also get rice cakes, crackers (whole grain of course) and organic cookies.  Those had much more appeal, and a much higher chance of having the whole container polished off at once.  The dried fruit and nuts get eaten much more sensibly.

 

And we really fill up at our meals which of course are intrinsically more health-full than one's average snack.  There's just nothing good about having a few crackers to "hold yourself over" until dinner.  It's OK to get hungry!!  It makes your meat and vegetables taste better!! :)

 

WHile we're at it, does anyone want to discuss the fear of leaving the house without --- dare I say ---- water!??!?!

 

(ok, now i'm just looking for trouble :) but would love to hear thoughts on these ideas)


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#2 of 21 Old 04-06-2011, 08:24 PM
 
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I guess I'm a bad mom or something, but I've never subscribed to the notion that my children (or myself) need to have snacks constantly available to them.  Generally speaking, we have a snack in the afternoon (we usually have a pretty light lunch), esp. if we have an after-school activity that pushes supper back.  That snack usually looks a lot like a piece of fruit, some raw veggies, or maybe a small baked item (muffin, slice of banana bread) if I'm baking.  Otherwise, I figure no one is going to die of starvation while they wait for supper to be finished.  FWIW, we don't have eating issues, or I might be more concerned about whether or not my children were getting enough nutrition.

 

RE: water.  We generally take a water bottle for each person, esp. in the summer.  However, I also feel that no one is going to die of thirst in the 10 minutes it take us to get from the activity to home if a child forgets their water.

 

Somehow, we've managed to survive for several millennia without having snacks and a water bottle in our hand 24/7. Again, we don't have feeding issues or anything, so I might feel differently if that was the case.  

 

 

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#3 of 21 Old 04-06-2011, 08:56 PM
 
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Water/drink is a little different than snacks.  People did have ways to get water -sheep bladders, dried gourds, et So in higher tempatures, I do think this is something you have to be concerned about.  However, now days I ask why not use a water fountain?  

 

Because our ancestors might not have done something, it does not mean it was best --- at least when it comes to water.

 

As for snacking, I think sometimes they might have had more fat, protein, unrefined carbohydrates to make them feel fuller longer.  Also they might have hit the berry bush, fruit tree, or other nuts ask needed if they were truly hungry.  People do get accustom to certain eating patterns.  There are Buddhist monks that eat once a day, after time there body is acclimated to it but that does not mean it is the best way just proof that your body will accliamate to the conditions it is provided. 

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#4 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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I guess it depends what you are talking about re: water.

 

To leave the house to run errands, grocery shop, doctor/hair appt, etc there is little risk to not having water handy. If one of us gets very thirsty there are usually bubblers or one of those water dispensers handy.  

 

However when going to the beach for the day, heading out for a long walk around the neighborhood or a hike in the park behind our house having a water bottle is helpful and if its really hot can be a lifesaver.  Nothing ruins a nice walk than a whiny thirsty kid or a mom with a dehydrated induced headache and your 3 miles away from home.

 

The same hold true for really long drives.  I don't want to stop if we don't have too and a lot of rest stops don't have bubblers because they want to sell you the $$$ bottled stuff.

 

We always bring our own water to concerts, sporting events and the like-same as longs rides. I am not paying those prices.

 

The snack thing is personal preference and how you want to run your house. shrug.gif  Some people (like me) have blood sugar issues and it is healthier for me to eat 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day so I often "snack" on yogurt, cottage cheese, a hard boiled egg. Keeps my blood sugar in check and I am much nicer to be around! In fact (god forbid!) I keep a snack in my car for those times I start going down!

 

My son likes a good snack but he is also really active. When I look at his food intake over the course of week he eats a very well rounded  and varied diet.  More varied than if I tried to fit all those fruits, veggies and complex carbs into 3-4 meals a day. Then again his snacks are rarely an handful of crackers or rice cakes which have little to no nutritional value.


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#5 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 07:15 AM
 
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Well people once upon a time didn't live as long and mostly likely didn't have the access to food that we do now.

 

It's up to you how you want to handle snacks and meals.  For me and my children, we eat small meals several times a day.  Dh eats a couple huge meals.  I'm sure we could train our bodies to skip snacks and only eat at meals, but we feel better eating this way.

 

As for water, we do take bottles of water with us so we don't have to buy a plastic bottle of water out somewhere.  I don't really even know why it would be an issue.

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#6 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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Also, we don't really know that our ancestors did not snack thorughout the day. It is really just a guess on our parts. Who is to say that a nomadic mama did not carry a pouch of dried fruit, jerky, or the like for the children and herself when doing tasks away from the home? Or that food was there for the taking in the village as the women (or whomever) cooked throughout the day? Of course they couldn't just pop open the fridge and grab a cherry Coke and a bag of chips from the cuboard. But I'm willing to bet that whenever there have been humans there has been snacking, too. At least in times where food is readily availible.
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#7 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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This may be a spin off from my "neverending snack request" thread. For me, personally, I do better just on 3 meals. It helps me to keep my weight in check to limit myself from snacking. Not for everyone though! My 2 kids are different. The older one is the neverending snacker. My little one is the snack-mealer. He won't eat sandwhiches or most lunch options so he eats a snack type meal for lunch (his tray usually has some meat, baby carrots, cucumber, a fruit, and pretzels or crackers) That said, when we go out I don't bring anything with us. I feel bad because often my kids are begging snacks off the other moms (who quite frankly bring a suitcase of options.) I do bring water when we'll be out for a morning, because I hate paying for it when our well water is great and free! (and my kids will always ask for it if they see it in a cooler)
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#8 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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We don't make food a big deal in our house. Three meals a day are prepared for the family. Dd can eat as much or as little as she wants. We have whole food snacks that dd can eat whenever she wants. I figure, she should eat if she is hungry. I have no problem if she snacks on fruits, veggies, hard boiled eggs, nut, jerky, whatever. I believe in letting her self-regulate. She usually eats meals with us, but sometimes isn't hungry when meals are served. I don't think it's healthy to make her eat if she isn't hungry, or to deny her food if she is. When the snacks are whole and healthy, she regulates quite impressively.

 

I would guess that people snacked for most of history. Not on crackers and cookies, but on fruit and nuts.

 

We also bring water with us whenever we leave the house. Thirst and hunger are often confused- maybe my dd doesn't over snack because she is always well hydrated.

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#9 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess lately I've been seeing the connection between a culture that snacks constantly and one that has such high levels of overweight/obesity.  Picture those mama/baby groups where all the little ones are grazing on organic cherrios or pirate booty the whole time (and as i said in my op, i was once one of those moms) and the fact that there is a whole bazilliion dollar industry of snack bars (which i used to buy) that have loads of sugar in them.    fwiw, i also used to have low blood sugar issues - i rarely left the house without something to snack on, but my blood sugar problems are gone now that the sugar, crackers, etc is out of my diet.  What freedom to be able to trust your body to make it from lunch to dinner without having a "OMG I need food now!" emergency!   This used to happen to me multiple times per week.

 

As for water, I was being a bit facetious.  We of course bring water out on hot days, but have started to skip it for something like a trip to the library (where there is a water fountain anyway.)  I love that someone said "bubbler" - I haven't heard that since I was a kid.


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#10 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UrbanSimplicity View Post

I guess lately I've been seeing the connection between a culture that snacks constantly and one that has such high levels of overweight/obesity.  Picture those mama/baby groups where all the little ones are grazing on organic cherrios or pirate booty the whole time (and as i said in my op, i was once one of those moms) and the fact that there is a whole bazilliion dollar industry of snack bars (which i used to buy) that have loads of sugar in them.    fwiw, i also used to have low blood sugar issues - i rarely left the house without something to snack on, but my blood sugar problems are gone now that the sugar, crackers, etc is out of my diet.  What freedom to be able to trust your body to make it from lunch to dinner without having a "OMG I need food now!" emergency!   This used to happen to me multiple times per week.

 

As for water, I was being a bit facetious.  We of course bring water out on hot days, but have started to skip it for something like a trip to the library (where there is a water fountain anyway.)  I love that someone said "bubbler" - I haven't heard that since I was a kid.


Well I don't eat snack bars, rice cakes, non whole grain crackers or processed sugars but my body does much better with 4-5 small meals a day. Raw almonds are my "snack of choice" for when my blood sugar dips not the foods you are talking about.  I am over weight but my Dr and Homeopath both agree that even if I was a healthy weight this way of eating makes the most sense for *me*.  

 

Sounds like you (and your family) had a pretty poor diet of mostly proccessed, high sugar foods and empty calories which led to your "blood sugar" issues. Now that you eat a health(ier) diet those issues went away. So maybe it wasn't blood sugar related after all?

 


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#11 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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geez hollybear, i was not assuming you ate those things - i said i used to.  And i started this thread with a smile on my face.  i realize i'm throwing some different ideas out there, but i'm doing so in the spirit of using mdc as the great think tank that it is.  my family's diet was not a "pretty poor diet of mostly proccessed, high sugar foods and empty calories" - but for example, we often started the day with soaked oatmeal and blueberries.  Now we have eggs.  And I did buy some packaged snack foods from the health food store.  Now we only eat "real food" - ie nothing in a package whether it's organic or not.  yes, sometimes I ate a Cliffbar till I realized how crappy they made me feel.  


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Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post

 

Sounds like you (and your family) had a pretty poor diet of mostly proccessed, high sugar foods and empty calories which led to your "blood sugar" issues. Now that you eat a health(ier) diet those issues went away. So maybe it wasn't blood sugar related after all?

 



Ouch, that was pretty harsh. She didn't say she lived off of crackers and sugar. A lot of people include those things in their diet, but it doesn't mean that's all they're eating or even a large portion of their diet, you know? shrug.gif


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#13 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 04:36 AM
 
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How am I being harsh? headscratch.gif  The OP stated that her family ate all those things and when they stopped her "blood sugar" issues went away so my (non medical) dx was maybe it was never blood sugar related and could be attributed to diet high in empty calories and starches. 

 

OP I was not implying your said I ate those things but this quote demonstrates pretty clearly what you were saying. Change your diet and you will no longer need to snack. That may be true for someone who snacked on rice crackers, prepackaged bars, empty calorie crackers. But it is not true for everyone.

 

Quote:
What freedom to be able to trust your body to make it from lunch to dinner without having a "OMG I need food now!" emergency!   This used to happen to me multiple times per week.

 


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#14 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 07:03 AM
 
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I guess lately I've been seeing the connection between a culture that snacks constantly and one that has such high levels of overweight/obesity.  Picture those mama/baby groups where all the little ones are grazing on organic cherrios or pirate booty the whole time (and as i said in my op, i was once one of those moms) and the fact that there is a whole bazilliion dollar industry of snack bars (which i used to buy) that have loads of sugar in them.    fwiw, i also used to have low blood sugar issues - i rarely left the house without something to snack on, but my blood sugar problems are gone now that the sugar, crackers, etc is out of my diet.  What freedom to be able to trust your body to make it from lunch to dinner without having a "OMG I need food now!" emergency!   This used to happen to me multiple times per week.

 

As for water, I was being a bit facetious.  We of course bring water out on hot days, but have started to skip it for something like a trip to the library (where there is a water fountain anyway.)  I love that someone said "bubbler" - I haven't heard that since I was a kid.


You can't blame snacking for obesity.  Some of the thinnest people I know eat more often than the overweight people.  It isn't snacking in general, it's what you're consuming and how much.  The cookies, snack bars, crackers, all that isn't healthy and will help you gain weight, particularly if you're eating a large amount for your snack.  My afternoon snack of a hardboiled egg or homemade zucchini muffin isn't unhealthy, it's a good way to keep my blood sugar at a consistent level.  I do eat 3 good meals a day with 2 snacks.  I would bet my portion's are much different from a person who doesn't snack.  I can't eat large amounts at once so eating smaller amounts more often works for me.

 

The problems with obesity in this country aren't as simple as "stop snacking".  People eat many different ways and I believe your body knows how you need to eat.  You feel better without snacking, so that obviously works for you.  It doesn't for everyone. 
 

 

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#15 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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If I stopped snacks in my house, my kid wouldn't hardly eat at all.  She only grazes at meals as it is and goes to bed most nights with her tummy growling because she didn't want to eat much at dinner or afterwards.  If she asks for food, I'll give it to her, regardless of when she last ate or when we will eat.  Her not eating started before snacks though so snacks didn't cause her to not eat meals... not eating meals caused me to start gladly giving plenty of snacks.

 

That said though... crackers aren't a snack in my house.  Not alone at least.  maybe with some nut/seed butter and fruit or with cheese.

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#16 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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We don't really have 3 meals a day, more like 6, if you could call them that, because they mostly seem like "snacks", but they're healthy foods, such as chickpeas, beans, lentils, fruits and veggies, nuts, sometimes dried cranberries. When the weather's warm, I prepare fresh fruit popsicles (without adding sugar), which my toddler loves. Water is what we usually drink, though sometimes I might prepare tea (unsweetened), or a fruit drink. Very rarely do we have crackers or cereal, they're a "treat" over here. When we go out, I always bring snacks and water. Mostly, we eat when we're hungry, lol. Oh, and DS is still nursing...

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#17 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How am I being harsh? headscratch.gif  The OP stated that her family ate all those things and when they stopped her "blood sugar" issues went away so my (non medical) dx was maybe it was never blood sugar related and could be attributed to diet high in empty calories and starches. 

 

OP I was not implying your said I ate those things but this quote demonstrates pretty clearly what you were saying. Change your diet and you will no longer need to snack. That may be true for someone who snacked on rice crackers, prepackaged bars, empty calorie crackers. But it is not true for everyone.

 

 


can i just ask why you had somehow legitimate blood sugar issues, but whenever you mention mine you use "quotes"?

 

my father and 3 grandparents are diabetic so I assume I am at risk for blood sugar problems, and though i did not have the SAD you presume, I was indeed eating too many carbs (and sugar) for my body to handle.  i have found that i can tolerate very little carbs.  like when my spanish husband cooks rice, beans, meat and some sort of veggie/salad I skip the rice but am ok to have some beans along with the protein and veggies.  My daughters have NEVER eaten a Sad American Diet, but I do see now how the rice cakes to munch on were not only unhealthful, but also unnecessary and are not missed since we've stopped buying them.

 

One of the ways I see snacking as contributing to the weight problems in the country is, as I said before, it's hard to go anywhere without being confronted/offered/tempted with a snack.  And while a hard boiled egg is a great way to make it through to dinner time, you are not going to find a hard boiled egg in any gas station, drug store or vending machine.  Indeed, the snacks most americans fill up on are high in both carbs and sugar. 

 

I'm sorry because I seem to have offended people who snack or eat small meals throughout the day.  I had no such intent.  I actually thought I posted in the traditional foods forum, and I do think that traditionally there was a greater focus on mealtime and less grazing throughout the day.  As for the poster that supposed cavewoman mother might have a pouch of snacks, I don't know, I'm sure though she'd stop at a berry bush she found in her travels.

 

Anyway, I just like to toss ideas around, no offense intended.


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#18 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post

How am I being harsh? headscratch.gif  The OP stated that her family ate all those things and when they stopped her "blood sugar" issues went away so my (non medical) dx was maybe it was never blood sugar related and could be attributed to diet high in empty calories and starches. 



The point you were making isn't harsh in itself, but the words you chose to make it in came across *to me* as rude and accusatory. This may be due to the notorious difficulty of conveying tone online and maybe a personal difference in style, because rereading your post I can see that you may have just been being more blunt than I would ever choose to be (unless I was trying to offend lol.gif). I do think your willingness to jump to the conclusion that all the OP ate was junk was pretty unfounded, but I see that pretty often on MDC, where many seem to assume their diet is better than everyone else's.

 

OP, in the spirit of the discussion you were actually trying to have winky.gif, I think there are a few different issues at work here. First, from what I've read there does seem to be debate as to whether grazing all day is a healthful pattern or not. Some people seem to think it helps keep their blood sugar more even, but I also seem to recall seeing a report of some study that showed that grazers take in more calories per day than those who only eat at mealtimes, which could obviously be a bad thing. I've also read (no idea how accurate this is) that in France and many other places, people just don't snack the way Americans do, which could be part of the explanation for the "French Paradox". Second, there's the issue of what is eaten as a snack--clearly a hardboiled egg is not the same as a candy bar and is going to affect people's health differently. Third, overall dietary patterns also affect blood sugar and whether people feel hungry between meals. I've heard from a bunch of sources that people who eat a primal type of diet that is high in protein and saturated fat just don't get hungry between meals and don't experience blood sugar fluctuations the way people who eat more carbs do. And fourth is your point about the constant availability of junky food everywhere we go. Even if you have an overall healthy eating pattern, the constant availability of this kind of "hyperpalatable" food probably does influence how much of it you consume and therefore your weight and health status.

 

So--it seems to me that there are a bunch of issues all tangled up in the question of how snacking affects us. But I do agree with you that the kind of snacking many people in the US do is not necessarily found in other places. I just think it's hard to think about whether it's a good or bad thing, because so many other issues are involved.


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#19 of 21 Old 04-10-2011, 06:37 PM
 
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I usually forget to bring food for my 2 year old, and end up buying her a yogurt or a banana when we're out. I should remember to bring snacks more often, it would be cheaper!

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#20 of 21 Old 07-26-2012, 02:52 PM
 
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OP i just want to say that i am with you!  i found this thread because i searched "snacks" and find constant snacking ridiculous.  It never bothered me until my kids were old enough to constantly have to deal with group snacks and food allergies and the idea that 45min of moderate activity waranted a snack and a juice.  ugh!  if that is your cup of tea or you like to cook/plan/shop for lots of snacks or meal per day more power to you but that is NOT me.

 

so i just wanted to say that you are not the only one!  if people feel attacked well they can just be confident in the knowledge that the rest of america agrees with them.  i dont mind being an outlier.

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#21 of 21 Old 07-27-2012, 02:59 PM
 
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I do think snacking has become more prominent. I wonder if it is because many families are living a more on-the-go lifestyle?

 

For my family we don't have to snack a certain number of times per day. I don't prepare snacks for dd and haven't since she was small. I don't really regulate dd snacking at home- she eats when she is hungry and what she wants to eat.

I would probably make sure dd ate something before we go somewhere if we will be gone quite awhile just like I encourage her to use the toilet before we leave the house. I don't expect to feed her 45 minutes after we leave home if it is not a meal time.  We do not routinely leave the house with snacks and drinks in tow.

 

I've never really witnessed people who seem afraid that they won't have access to water if they don't bring it with them. If people want to carry water in a refillable container and drink it instead of buying unhealthy drinks or disposable drink containers it doesn't really bother me.


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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