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#1 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Alright mamas. Hit me with your opinions, even better if you have some links to share some info. Here's my question:

Is my small almost-five year old really hungry every three hours, or is she just a chronic snacker? Typically, this is how her day goes:
  • 8 am: breakfast (usually an egg or sprouted grain toast with almond butter)
  • mid-morning: snack at pre-k (I don't send this, so it varies)
  • noon-ish: lunch (often a half almond butter and jelly sandwich, or mac and cheese, both with veggies and fruit)
  • 2 to 3: another snack (current fave is pretzels, cheese, and an apple)
  • 5:30 or so: begs for another snack even though I try to stall her--usually I give in (for example, she just ate some sunflower seeds)
  • 6:30: dinner

She eats a variety of foods, mostly healthy, some indulgent.

So, the question is: is this a reasonable eating pattern that is serving her well, or am I setting her up for issues later in life? (I'm a bit paranoid about this, since I've struggled with my weight since my mid teenage years.)

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#2 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 07:09 PM
 
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My son is almost 5 and that sounds very similar to how he eats. He also snacks all night long. I think it's good that he listens to his body and eats when he's hungry.

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#3 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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That sounds like how my dd eats and all of her friends. Sounds 100% normal to me!

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#4 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Sounds like ours. We do breakfast at 7, snack at school at around 9:30, lunch at 11, snack at school between 1 and 2, comes home and has a snack around 3:45, dinner between 5 and 6 and there is often a snack around 7:30.

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#5 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK--I feel better that I'm not screwing up her metabolism for all time!

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#6 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 07:50 PM
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Eating 5 to 6 times a day is much healthier than eating 3. The idea is to provide your body with fuel without getting very hungry. Eating once or twice a day really messes up your metabolism because your body 'thinks' there's a famine and your metabolism slows down so you won't starve to death. When you do eat, you're hungrier and overeat. Little ones natural eating patterns are much less like to cause obesity than our cultural 3 meals a day.

We let our DD completely self regulate her food intake and she usually eats 5 or 6 times a day. Sometimes she seems to snack all night, but it's things like strawberries and grape tomatoes. I'm surprised your DD doesn't want a snack before bed. Mine often just wants some veggie juice, but she goes to sleep easier if she has something.
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#7 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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I'm on the daycare food program, and that's pretty much how often we are required to serve meal or snack. They always eat at those times, and are always hungry.
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#8 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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That sounds similar to what my dd did at that age except that she also had a light bedtime snack also.
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#9 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 09:18 PM
 
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Sounds exactly like how we eat around here - 2yo, 3yo, 6yo, + me!

Keeping busy with 2 boys & 1 girl ('04, '06, '08)
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#10 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I'm surprised your DD doesn't want a snack before bed. Mine often just wants some veggie juice, but she goes to sleep easier if she has something.
I think it's because we eat late. She's usually is only up an hour after dinner, if even that.

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#11 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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My kids are 5, 3, and 3, and they eat roughly six times a day, every two or three hours. So your DD sounds just fine to me. If you want to try and stall her until dinner, you might try making her mid-afternoon snack one that is particularly high in fats and protein, because those will keep her full longer.

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#12 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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My ds would eat that on a light day. Other days he eats WAY more. Some meals he can eat more than I do! He's 5yo and 50lbs, though (skinny-ish and tall).

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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#13 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 08:15 PM
 
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Sounds like what my 5 year old eats. Growing, active kids need a lot of fuel.

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#14 of 34 Old 05-08-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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Overall it sounds fine. Breakfast doesn't seem like much. I would try and move the 2-3 snack later or split it up so she doesn't eat as much then and has some snack for later.

We also eat dinner at 6:30, K has his afternoon snack at 4. Even then he is sometimes hungry before dinner. But I make him wait. Of course he will be starving at 5 and when we eat dinner he will barely eat.

And I completely understand that being worried about future weight problems. DH and I both have weight issues and are very concerned about DS not having them.

~*Heather*~
Wife to J 9/00 Mama to K 12/05
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#15 of 34 Old 05-08-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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I'd say she is hungry. If mine only ate that much, they'd want to eat much more often than every 3 hours. But they're also huge eaters.
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#16 of 34 Old 05-08-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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I would feed her more breakfast, like instead of egg OR toast and almond butter, both, otherwise it sounds pretty good. But I find a large breakfast makes the rest of the day smoother.
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#17 of 34 Old 05-08-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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That is exactly our eating schedule, minus the begging at 5:00, because we eat dinner at 5/5:30! If they don't eat a good dinner, then they might also have a piece of fruit before bed w/milk.

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#18 of 34 Old 05-08-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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If anything, you're setting her up with a healthy eating pattern for life. Fruit and/or veggies, some protein. It looks good.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
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#19 of 34 Old 05-08-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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Seems reasonable.

I would serve her larger portions at the meal times and then set the parts she doesn't eat aside as the snack though. Just because she's going to be growing and needing more so if she eats it all in one go, you know to make a larger lunch, etc.
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#20 of 34 Old 05-08-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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It has been proven that eating small meals every 2.5-3hrs is much healthier for the metabolism than waiting and only eating 3 big meals. We are meant to be grazers and not gorgers.
I think for breakfast I would do egg and toast not or toast. I would probably up the protein overall to help fill her up between meals.
My son loves cottage cheese and fruit as a snack....the protein helps sustain the energy a little longer. He also love hummus on ww pita. For his mac and cheese....the base is box style (usually Annies organic) but I add to it real shredded cheese and a jar(toddler) of butternut squash or carrots for a veggie and dairy boost....it is his favourite way to have it.

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#21 of 34 Old 05-08-2010, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hear you on the breakfast, but it's like pulling teeth. She's not a very carb-y kid, so she'd actually just lick the almond butter off the toast if I let her! She was doing the same thing when I served an egg on the toast. I'll try to see if I can get more food in her in the morning, though.

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#22 of 34 Old 05-09-2010, 02:41 AM
 
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fast metabolism. frequent, small meals. that's why she's smallish.

actually verrry healthy way to be.

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#23 of 34 Old 05-09-2010, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post
fast metabolism. frequent, small meals. that's why she's smallish.

actually verrry healthy way to be.
Yeah, I wish I could have a reverse-inheritance there... my metabolism is so sluggish!

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#24 of 34 Old 05-09-2010, 06:14 PM
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My boys eat more than that. Maybe not more often, but more in a sitting for sure.
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#25 of 34 Old 05-10-2010, 10:22 AM
 
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Try the same schedule for you--I went to see a nutritionist last year to help lose weight and that's what she recommended for me at 40 with a slowing metabolism.

I eat:

8am oatmeal
10 am fruit, nuts, or granola bar
12 chicken in a wrap or salad
2 or 3 pm fruit, nuts, or granola bar or cheese and crackers
6 or 7 dinner

and I did finally lose the weight. I don't work out much, either.

DD eats about the same as yours, and she's a slim-framed 5 now. Eating regularly really helps with her moods and behavior, too. She still melts down if she goes too long without some protein.

One thing DD likes for breakfast is plain yogurt with a handful of raw oats and slivered almonds on top. She gets to stir it up. The oats absorb the yogurt and soften up. You can make it with greek yogurt to up the protein.
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#26 of 34 Old 05-10-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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Personally that doesn't sound like enough food to me. Here is an average day for my 7 year old:

Breakfast: muffin or waffle, banana, orange juice

Snack: Cheese string, baby carrots

Lunch: Turkey sandwich, mini cucumber, veggie chips, 100% juice box

Snack: Granola bar, yogurt

Afterschool snack: Crackers & cheese, applesauce, turkey pepperoni

Supper: Roast beef, mashed pototoes, veggies, toast

Snack: Apple, toast & peanut butter

Some days she eats more than that. She is a very skinny kid. I would never restrict food in a child...well, I do restrict unhealthy food but even that we do treats at least 3 times a week. If a child is allowed to eat a variety of healthy foods when they are hungry they will do better than if they are restricted as to when they are allowed to eat and give restricted portion sizes.

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#27 of 34 Old 05-10-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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Sounds like a good schedule to me, but my dd would need more protein and fat. If you want reassurance, just read some of Ellyn Satter's work:

https://ellynsatter.com/default.jsp

Emily, cooking allergen free, knitting, reading, gardening Mom to 1 beautiful girl, born in the water on July 1, 2006 Wife to 1 handsome man since September 10, 2005
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#28 of 34 Old 05-10-2010, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link Emily. There's a lot of info on that Ellyn Satter site (and a lot of things we're guilty of...especially DH!).

I'm going to start more closely monitoring how much she's eating to make sure she's getting enough. She does actually lean towards protein, especially at dinner. And I do cook with butter, coconut oil, and olive oil, so most of her veggies have fats in them.

I definitely don't restrict Shawna, other than sugar. And I do give her food whenever she asks for it... I was just questioning, because food for me has always been so much more than just hunger.

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#29 of 34 Old 05-11-2010, 04:20 AM
 
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when does she have her growth spurts. at least physical ones when she is eating a lot more.

my dd has from teh age of 4 gone thru sudden spurts. she eats like crazy in summer and what seems like overnight grows a couple of inches. she basically doubles all her meals.

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#30 of 34 Old 05-13-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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Sounds normal, though I did notice most of the items you listed are kind of higher-carb. Nothing wrong with that, kids need a lot more carbs than adults do (proportionally-speaking), but I've found that my kids stay fuller longer if we focus more on higher protein/higher fat foods like meat or cheese, along with a fruit or veg. A snack like pretzels (or cereal, bagels, etc.) are less likely to tide my kids over for any length of time. If you're vegan, she will probably need more food to eat throughout the day anyway because vegan options are generally lower-fat (with the exception of pecans and avocados). Though, someone might have some suggestions about vegan foods that help them feel fuller longer. For me, nuts (with the exception of pecans) and nut butters just don't make me feel full, but everyone is different.

You could also try asking her if she's hungry or if she's just bored, saying something like "are you sure you want a snack, or would you rather do x.y.z with me?" Sometimes kids ask for food because they want to spend that time with you, or need some sort of other stimulation. I think the point is that you don't want to apply any sort of judgment about eating or not eating. If she's hungry, then it makes sense to eat. If she's bored, than maybe she'd like to do something together.

*Oops, didn't notice the cheese and eggs, so you're obviously not vegan! I would offer a few more animal-based proteins as snacks, along with the fruits and vegetables. I don't know if you're vegetarian or omnivorous, but you might also try offering meat as snacks. I like to make a pound of chicken breast and then (after it's fully cooled so you don't lose the juices) cut into cubes and keep it in the fridge for snacks. That way, you don't have to cook for each snack, and she has access to a high-quality protein to eat whenever she's hungry. You can also cube other types of meat (though other types just seem weird to me to eat them cold), hard-boiled eggs (they last for around 3 days after you boil them), and cubes of cheese ready in the fridge for snacks. Then, all you have to do is take out her choice of protein and her choice of fruit/veggie for a snack time. We do have one rule about snacks and meals in our house, and that is each snack has to have a protein component (unless they're just hungry for a piece of fruit; this is mainly a "meal" rule as we don't have set meal times or usually set meals).
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