Tell me about your eating habits - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
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So I'm just wondering what everyone else's eating habits are in your house. I am a SAHM and my 4yr old just wants to snack all day long. She's a very picky eater and very often doesn't want what we're having for lunch or dinner. I usually give her the choice of breakfast. We've tried letting her eat what she wants all day long(healthy choices only) and we've also tried the whole, "this is dinner, if you don't want to eat it I guess you'll just be hungry till next meal" She askes for snacks all day long and it's driving me crazy. I will usually only let her have one mid morning snack and one mid afternoon snack but she wants something different than what I give her. Over and over. So let me know what it's like in your house and if you have any rules about when your kids are allowed to eat.

Mama to three wonderful girls, H (9-2-04), A (8-23-07), and Q(4-24-11, our Easter baby). Married to D since (6-3-00).

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#2 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 12:43 AM
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We are a free snacking family. NOw, that isn't as free as it sounds though because the kids have always been in at least part-time daycare and preschool, and are now in school. But when they are home they are allowed free access to snacks. The only time I limit is when I am actually dishing dinner onto plates.

That said, I make sure I buy things I am comfortable with them eating and I don't make snacks -- they are in charge of their own snacks after about age 3. At 5 and 9 this isn't really an issue anymore, they can both use the microwave and a knife. They know that most snack foods are on one shelf in the pantry and one shelf in the fridge, plus the fruit basket. I used to have to think about how snacks were packaged and such, but now I don't

For meals, DH or I cook. If they don't like it, they can get themselves a healthy alternative, but neither of us will disturb our hot meal to fix an alternative. NIcely enough, this means that they could make a sandwich by the time they were about 3 or 4.
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#3 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 12:46 AM
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Our house is kinda random. I think overall DS gets to eat when he says he's hungry. I imagine if I was busy or I had lots of kids I would want everyone to eat at once. If I am in the middle of cooking dinner and he asks for a snack I won't give it to him. Sometimes I cook things that DH or I want and doubt that DS will want so I ask him to take a couple bites before he can have something different. We don't follow a schedule during the day, so we eat when we are hungry but dinner is always around 6 when dad gets home from work. We've tried the 'eat this or starve' it's not worth it for us. I remember being an unadventurous eater, I'm not anymore, it's okay.

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#4 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 01:01 AM
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I've recently realized that need to eat every 2-3 hours or I get light headed and shaky. Breastfeeding probably adds to that! I just make sure I'm snacking on healthy foods, and have 5-6 mini meals instead of 3 big ones and a couple little snacks.

Editing here - I really didn't read the post properly before replying and realized it wasn't that relevant. Time to go to bed! Our baby is 7 months old and eating some solids as well as breastfeeding. Once he is older we plan on having lots of healthy snacks around (chopped veggies, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, etc). I have never been able to eat much in one sitting and do better with smaller meals more often so am prepared to feed him the same way. If he is hungry just before dinner I think I would give him a healthy snack (low blood sugar is no fun!) and reduce that food group during the meal. Not sure if that is any help... ok, now it's time for bed!
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#5 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 07:45 AM
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the kids can snack when they are hungry, but it has to be healthy... that way if they fill up on snacks, they are still eating good food. (so its not like ds won't eat because he's full of junk). Kids have a great ability to know when they are hungry/full and I dont want to mess with that just because I/DH want to eat dinner at 6!
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#6 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 07:52 AM
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DD eats whenever she wants to (like me). We try to have dinners together but sometimes she doesn't eat then, and that's ok.
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#7 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 09:02 AM
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I found that my sons are much more even tempered and happy when they eat larger meals at well spaced intervals. So I limit snacks and make sure they are hungry for their meals. It works better for us than constant snacking. But I am like that too, and our nutritional standards are such that a single meal will hold for many hours. We're heavy on the fat and protein.
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#8 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 09:03 AM
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Dd is 6 and is not a picky eater - well, compared to dh who will eat literally *anything* (including "bizarre foods") she might be, but not compared to most people. Nobody is really picky in our house. I love cooking and dd participates often when she's home. When we eat a meal together, she eats what we eat. I think since she's been involved with the meal preparations for a long time, she doesn't think much about resisting trying foods. Sometimes meals are not her favorite foods, but they are always homemade and healthy. We don't eat fast food (perhaps once a year) or food with additives/preservatives (she has some food intolerances), so she is not used to that "taste". If I serve something new and she really doesn't care for it, she doesn't have to eat it, but that happens very, very rarely. As for snacking, the rule is that fruit and veggies are *always* allowed in any amount. Cheese, in moderation (that is, you can't just eat cheese and crackers all day long and dd would probably do this if we let her... to the extent that she would skip all meals to eat nothing but cheese). Things like all-natural chips, pretzels, Annie's crackers occasionally. We don't keep candy in the house. Dh is diabetic and we do that out of consideration for him. A typical snack for dd might be a peach and some Annie's crackers or pretzels and a glass of milk. Basically, she's allowed any snacking, but is expected to not fill up so much she doesn't want meals... I expect everyone in the house to follow this basic rule.
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#9 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 09:32 AM
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we have mostly healthy things, but we do have organic crackery things... the kids can always have something to eat, but if they have already had crackers or bread (zucchini, pumpkin or blueberry muffins) or something like that, I usually defer them to fruit or vegetables, raisins.. that kind of thing..... often times if they have already had a snack, they wont eat a fruit or vegetables, which tells me that they are just munching to munch.. sometimes they will, but its usually fruit....apples or bananas.
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#10 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 10:24 AM
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I love to snack, so I really watch it. My kids got a snack mid morning and mid afternoon and if they were claiming to be starving I usually gave them a healthy snack. If I let them "free snack", they would probably eat all day. I find kids eat out of boredom a lot, so I tried to keep them occupied. I am a big believer in family meals when possible, so I wanted them to sit down for meals and actually eat them. I like to cook and wanted them to participate and enjoy the making and eating of meals. Luckily, this worked and now they are grown and using the same tactics in their households.
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#11 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 01:49 PM
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I don't allow free snacking. DD1 and I used to snack all day long when it was just us, but with two young toddlers and a preschooler, it doesn't work for me. I would spend my whole day making snacks and cleaning up after them. I just don't have time.

So I serve food in the kitchen every two to three hours, at regular times, and I decide what the meal is, while allowing for everyone's personal likes and dislikes. We eat breakfast at 8, a snack of fruit or veggies at 10, lunch at 12, a starchy snack at 3, dinner at five, and milk right before bed, at just before 7. When I serve the food, they can eat or not eat, to please themselves. If they don't eat, I don't worry; there'll be more food in two hours. If they ask for food at other times, I gently refuse, and we get involved in some other activity.

I leave water out for everyone to help themselves, in between times.

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#12 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 02:15 PM
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We have a snacking tray. My 18mo son has sensory issues reguarding his mouth and is really skinny (18lbs) so EI suggested it and it's worked really well for him and my almost 4 year old daughter who was asking for snacks all day. Now I fill up the tray right after breakfast and right after lunch and if she asks for a snack, I tell her the tray is out. Usually she doesn't even ask unless the tray is empty (rarely.)

Mama of three.
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#13 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 02:23 PM
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I don't like free snacking... DSD was refusing to eat dinner, and generally it was because she eats a late afternoon snack at preschool, then when she got to our house Grammy would slip her something, and she just didn't have room for dinner.

I think a blanced dinner is more important than the fruit snacks. As we don't have control what she eats at school or her Mom's house, we try to make sure she eats healthy with us.

On the weekends, she will typically get a morning and afternoon snack of fruits and/or a peice of cheese.

I feel learning to eat right is a good thing to start all along so it isn't as hard as an adult and trying to correct years of bad habit. I struggle with my weight a lot, and don't want my kids to have to, so snacking all day is just not feasible in our house.

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#14 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 07:25 PM
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My little guys are total snack attackers.
I have a shelf with a tub filled with fruit leather, baggies of pretzels, nuts , dried fruit etc. If they get the munchies they are responsible to feed it.
I have a cut off time in the afternoon, about 2 hours before dinner. And they respect it.
As for dinner et al I give them a choice or ability to help in the construction.
If they do not want to eat they are still required to stay at the table until everyone else is done.
Seems to work for us.
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#15 of 23 Old 09-10-2008, 09:18 PM
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We are a homeschooling family so we are here all day, and the kids eat what they want when they want. I try to prepare something (usually small and informal) for breakfast and lunch to make sure they are eating, and we always have dinner together, but I don't limit what they eat at other times. If I don't want them to eat something, I just don't have it in the house. I don't prepare snacks all day, but my oldest DD (12) does a lot of baking and fixing things for herself and her sisters. She doesn't usually clean up afterwards, so I do that.

We are very relaxed about food as far as timing, but I'm very picky about what I buy at the grocery store. I have fruit and nuts and such for them to pick at, and they make quesadillas and all sorts of things for themselves.

Fwiw, my little ones eat lots of little things all day long, and my older ones eat larger amounts less frequently and they are all healthy weight and overall very healthy.

Keri, wife to Tony, mom to five DDs: M ('96), S('01), E('04), A('07) and J('10);
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#16 of 23 Old 09-11-2008, 02:56 AM
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I'm a hypoglycemic SAHM to a 2yo. We eat mini meals all day, usually every 2-3 hours. My mini meal is typically a single portion that my toddler and I share, generally pretty simple and whole foods based (e.g. rice cake with peanut butter and a little jam, black beans and avocado with salt and lime juice, apple with honey and nut butter as a dip).

Mama to Raina (9/06) and Peter (8/09)!
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#17 of 23 Old 09-11-2008, 03:57 AM
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We also tend to eat more frequent, smaller meals. I find that I feel so much more energized during the day if I eat this way. I love the Body by God books that focus on whole food eating (although they can be a bit overzealous IMHO).


Sarah, Mom to Theo (8/06), Penny (1/08) and Felix 10/30) #4 due 07/11
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#18 of 23 Old 09-11-2008, 08:29 AM
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In our house we have 2 meals and 3 snacks. For meals they eat what is offered, no special order meals. If they don't eat (most of) their meal, no snack, but they are welcome to finish the previous meal, or wait til the next meal.

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#19 of 23 Old 09-11-2008, 06:00 PM
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My son is also a snacker.

He is usually not hungry in the morning, something that always results in a "starving" child when lunchtime comes at school. (I usually pack a little bag of something he can nibble at in the first recess at school, just to keep him alive until lunch. (They start school at 8.30, first recess is 10 and lunch is a little past 11AM. )

The days he is homeschooled (we have a "shared solution", where he goes 3,5 days to school and homeschools 1,5 days a week.) he grazes much of the day. I love eating a familydinner, so I try to talk about how important that is to me. And most days he will join me (and often his father, whom we invite to dinner several times a week) for dinner.

He is allowed to snack whenever. If it is a few minutes until dinner or another shared meal, I ask him if he can wait for that meal. Most times he is ok with that. If not, then he can eat what he wants.

I try to limit sweets alittle, but since that is not something we have much of in the house, this is rarely a problem. IF we do have some leftover sweets, he usually eats a little and then I ask if it`s ok with him to save the rest for another time. Other than that, he can eat what he wants when he wants. He has a shelf with different snacktype foods he can choose from, and also fruit/veggies/yoghurt in the fridge.

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#20 of 23 Old 09-11-2008, 06:14 PM
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We graze all day. We are human, and that is how humans are supposed to eat (it is recommended as the healthiest, and those with weight issues due to eating are recommended to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day). Whoever came up with the idea of set meal times is crazy! lol Humans are not supposed to eat that way and babies/toddlers/small children know all too well how to keep close to our human nature.
I also do not want to create any eating issue. I will not coerce my son into eating - say, but praising him. I will not punish my son or set m own arbatrary rules to his personal body clock.
I have accepted it - this is what we do.
Healthy things of course. I am not talking about snacking on crisps all day. We get all our 5 food groups, and sure, some chocolate too ...I just always have a plate out for him and healthy things made and ready to go (like pasta made the night before in the fridge) for him if desired.
Just because you snack all day or graze all day doesn't mean its 'unhealthy' or a 'bad habit' or that it teaches your children to eat crap food. ...and if thats what your toddler desires (and most do - human nature, can't beat it ), then it can at least prevent some eating issues and food issues later in adult life if you respect their need to listen to their body and trust them to nourish it in the way it was intended. Learning to eat right starts with learning to listen to our own bodies and respecting them. My son can not tell me when I am hungry, what I should eat and when...I certainly could not do the same for him!
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#21 of 23 Old 09-12-2008, 12:40 AM
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We sit down at the table and eat three meals and two snacks together every day, unless we're out of the house, in which case we bring the snack/meal with us or stop somewhere for a bite to eat. I can't go more than a couple of hours without eating something or I feel horrible, and my kids, especially my DD, are the same way. My kids get a snack whenever they ask for one, unless I'm like 10 minutes from serving a meal. If I'm hungry, I eat, so I allow my children to eat when they're hungry.
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#22 of 23 Old 09-13-2008, 07:17 PM
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We have breakfast (cereal/eggs/pancakes/yogurt or fruit), morning snack (some kind of savory item - sometimes pancakes/waffles, sometimes yogurt/fruit/cottage cheese - that kind of thing), lunch (served with either fruit or veggies), afternoon snack (cookie/muffin/brownie - something less healthy), and supper (served with veggies).

As for other snacking, I generally make up a veggie/fruit plate with dip and cheese, which I put in the play room (or whatever room they're in) so that they can help themselves as and when. Sometimes, I will make up a plate of crackers or sandwiches or something instead of the fruit, but there is always something in the room with them. Today, they had cold pasta (the big rigatoni pieces) and cubes of cheese.
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#23 of 23 Old 09-15-2008, 12:25 PM
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On weekdays when DH is at work, I generally graze all day and then we eat dinner at night. On the weekends, we generally eat the standard three meals a day since that's what DH likes and I don't care that much. DS just started eating a significant amount of solid food (he's 14 mo) so I give him bites of what I'm eat but I also try to put him in his high chair with food three times a day. We have been switching to a Traditional Foods diet over the last year which has all but eliminated junk food from our house (I do keep some ice cream around for DH). I'm so glad we did this now before DS has an opinion. Like a PP said, I don't care if DS is constantly snacking as he gets older as long as it's on something healthy.

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