Tips for dealing with DD (7) who is OBSESSED with candy and dessert foods, but refuses most regular foods and meals. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-12-2012, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The title pretty much says it all.  

 

Anytime we go somewhere she is thinking about whether there's a snow cone stand nearby or what store is on the way that she will try to talk us into where she could buy candy.  She always tries to bring her money so that she can buy some treat or other.  

 

She is always going into the kitchen to see if she can find candy or cookies, which sometimes we have and sometimes we don't.

 

When I take her to my mom's she always goes straight for her kitchen to rummage there!  (Plus we have the problem of my mom giving her too much of it as well.)

 

When we started talking about camp for the summer, the first thing she talked about was the candy shop and what she plans to buy there.

 

And so all of this and we already have trouble getting her to eat real foods and eat at mealtimes, whether she has eaten junk food or not.  She has sensory issues that often come into play.  

 

It is not only the fact that I want to help her have better eating habits but also it just really puts a damper on any outings we do because it is all she thinks and talks about.  So far her weight is not a problem at all but who knows what puberty will bring.  

 

Sorry this was a bit disjointed and rushed but I don't have a lot of time.  I am just so frustrated and need to get a handle on this.  


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#2 of 12 Old 05-12-2012, 02:39 PM
 
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I don't know that you should outright forbid her from spending her money on candy/sweets, but maybe encourage her to save it up and spend it on something more meaningful that will last longer....a toy, book or game.  I would also make it less easy for her to spend money when out...don't make special trips to stores that sell candy, don't take her to stands that sell treats, etc.

 

I also think you need to look at habits of the whole family.  If your family frequently buys treats when out, stops at coffee shops or fast food places for treats then she will get out of the habit of wanting to stop at snow cone stands or candy stores while out, etc. In other words, if your daughters sees you going out of the way to stop for coffee on the way someplace, then she will want to go out of the way to get candy or other treats.   But, if you stop doing then, then eventually she won't come to expect it or beg for it.  Growing up, my parents never really bought us treats when out (except for very special occasions) and I didn't see them stopping for coffee or themselves all the time, so I never learned that habit.  We don't do that with my kids either, so they don't expect it. 
 

As far as the treats at home goes...that is a bit trickier.  In our house, we have rules, like generally we only eat sweets/treats on certain days (namely Sunday) or certain times.   I also don't buy candy or cookies, so generally we don't have it in the house (except for ice cream, which we eat every Sunday).

 

A lot of people also say that when they up their protein intake, their cravings for sweets and sugar goes down...so maybe encouraging her to eat more protein or offering more protein foods might help.  

 

good luck!


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#3 of 12 Old 05-12-2012, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, we are working on not keeping treats around the home.  

 

But your reply made me realize that really it's the obsession part of it that is really bothering me.  

 

We have tried many types of restrictions, from very little to mostly forbidding it.  It doesn't matter.  She pesters and pesters and pesters.  

 

Maybe it's just another one of those things that just comes back to the lack of impulse control and the fixating on things that is part of the ADHD.  

 

I really do believe in upping the protein intake.  I have been trying to help her with this but we have a hard time getting her to eat these things.  


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#4 of 12 Old 05-12-2012, 07:35 PM
 
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I crave sugar when I am tired, or when my blood sugar gets low.  I know the later seems obvious, but I don't feel hungry, or anything else, I just desperately want sugar.  Protein, at that point, doesn't usually fix it.  Regular snacking does, though.  Maybe if she ate more regularly, she'd find less of a need for sugar?


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#5 of 12 Old 05-13-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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We limit dd 6 yo to 2 treats a day.  1 treat is about 100 calories.  This is more than i'd really like her to have, but she seems to be unable to deal with having less & becomes deceptive and tryies to cheat the system too much. We put it in her hands as much as we can - when she asks if she can have a treat, we ask her how many treats have you had?  so can you have a treat or not?  The reality is that I don't always have control of what she's eating, so i need her to be on the same page and working with the program.  I want to get her thinking about what she's eating and managing it as much as she can.   I'm mostly interested in teaching her to deal with cravings, so I feel that putting my foot down and enforcing something she can't abide by doesn't further that goal.  I try and compensate a bit by not having too much really bad stuff in the house - most treats have some kind of nurtitional value, and unredeemable stuff like chips, pop, and candy don't make frequent appearances in the house.  We also have occasional free days, mostly at parties or on vacation where I know the temptation is going to be overwhelming.  The whole plan is basically to avoid hoarding and binging and lying, while increasing healthy food as much as possible.

 

We have also made some other rules to support healthier eating - no treats before you've had 2 healthy things to eat, no eating treats in front of the TV, drink a glass of water before eating, etc.  We have a number of healthier snacks that dd enjoys that are not on the treats list, such as sweetened yogurt, chocolate milk and fruit juice popsicles, that she can have for a sugar hit if she needs to.  We put out some healthy things on the table always, like a bowl of cheerios and some carrots, which often get grabbed and seem to make healthier choices more likely.  It seems that the longer she goes without eating the more likely she is to choose high sugar items.  If she gets something as soon as she thinks "im hungry' it seems to be more manageable.  We do what we can to increase her protein and fibre intake as much as possible, use whole grains as much as possible etc.  We talk a lot about why we make the food choices we do, the good things that various foods do for you, the importance of caring for your body and the dangers of too much sugar and junk food. 

 

This isn't ideal, I'll be the first to admit.  I'm not a real foodie kind of mom, but i would prefer that my youngest had a healthier diet.  Ultimately, she is a healthy, active and if anything slightly underweight kid, tho, so I've decided I've just got to work with what we've got and do our best to encourage her to eat better, respect her body and set her up for success as much as we can. 

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#6 of 12 Old 05-13-2012, 12:18 PM
 
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If she likes sweets, you can try to include them in family meals. We have dessert almost each day, after supper, but one portion only. a bowl of ice cream, a couple of pieces of chocolate or a slice of cake.

I also like Ellyn Satter's webite, you can find more ideas there:  http://www.ellynsatter.com/using-forbidden-food-i-51.html?osCsid=200m12qgm4uni9r2jb3m7eobn2

 

"

  • Manage dessert (if you like dessert) by putting one serving at each plate, then letting your child eat it when she wants: before, during or after the meal. No seconds on dessert.
  • Periodically offer unlimited sweets at snack time. For instance, put on a plate of cookies or snack cakes and a glass of milk, and let her eat as many cookies as she wants.

The dessert recommendation breaks the rule about the division of responsibility, but with good reason. Your child will push herself along to learn and grow with food, but she will also take the easy way out if it is offered. Letting her fill up on dessert offers an easy way out. But because the dessert rule sets up scarcity with sweets, you must counteract that scarcity. At snack time (that would be a sit-down snack), you can let your child eat as many sweets as she wants because the sweets aren't competing with other meal-time foods. At first she will eat a lot of sweets, but the newness will wear off and after while she won't eat so many.

"


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#7 of 12 Old 05-14-2012, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen Muise View Post

We limit dd 6 yo to 2 treats a day.  1 treat is about 100 calories.  This is more than i'd really like her to have, but she seems to be unable to deal with having less & becomes deceptive and tryies to cheat the system too much. We put it in her hands as much as we can - when she asks if she can have a treat, we ask her how many treats have you had?  so can you have a treat or not?  The reality is that I don't always have control of what she's eating, so i need her to be on the same page and working with the program.  I want to get her thinking about what she's eating and managing it as much as she can.   I'm mostly interested in teaching her to deal with cravings, so I feel that putting my foot down and enforcing something she can't abide by doesn't further that goal.  I try and compensate a bit by not having too much really bad stuff in the house - most treats have some kind of nurtitional value, and unredeemable stuff like chips, pop, and candy don't make frequent appearances in the house.  We also have occasional free days, mostly at parties or on vacation where I know the temptation is going to be overwhelming.  The whole plan is basically to avoid hoarding and binging and lying, while increasing healthy food as much as possible.

 

We have also made some other rules to support healthier eating - no treats before you've had 2 healthy things to eat, no eating treats in front of the TV, drink a glass of water before eating, etc.  We have a number of healthier snacks that dd enjoys that are not on the treats list, such as sweetened yogurt, chocolate milk and fruit juice popsicles, that she can have for a sugar hit if she needs to.  We put out some healthy things on the table always, like a bowl of cheerios and some carrots, which often get grabbed and seem to make healthier choices more likely.  It seems that the longer she goes without eating the more likely she is to choose high sugar items.  If she gets something as soon as she thinks "im hungry' it seems to be more manageable.  We do what we can to increase her protein and fibre intake as much as possible, use whole grains as much as possible etc.  We talk a lot about why we make the food choices we do, the good things that various foods do for you, the importance of caring for your body and the dangers of too much sugar and junk food. 

 

This isn't ideal, I'll be the first to admit.  I'm not a real foodie kind of mom, but i would prefer that my youngest had a healthier diet.  Ultimately, she is a healthy, active and if anything slightly underweight kid, tho, so I've decided I've just got to work with what we've got and do our best to encourage her to eat better, respect her body and set her up for success as much as we can. 

 

Thank you so much for this!  Definitely some things here really clicked with me and there are definitely ideas I can use.  I don't feel so alone in this issue.  I was really getting down about it and it's nice that you really got what I meant. 

 

Thanks everyone else too! 


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#8 of 12 Old 05-14-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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I like what Jen Muise has said, and we aim toward a similar balance of sweets/treats (though less formally).  

 

My dd can be very particular about what meal foods she'll eat at times also - and as she gets less particular, issues about candy/sweets are less of a problem.  I'd guess that as you're able to do that, it will only help her focus less on candy.

 

 

Would planned ahead and limited (say only $2) trips to a candy shop help?  In that she knows when it will happen (as opposed to not knowing or having control over when it will).  Dd (almost 6) here had a period recently where she was really into spending her money and buying toys.  Such that she was really spending all her money and then, actually, not really using the things she got. . . I started pushing for more planned purchases, making sure we wrote it on the calendar, talked about how much would be a reasonable amount and what toy 'gaps' might fit her wants (as opposed to always getting things she already had).  A few times practicing this all really helped.  I mean she still loves buying her own toys, but it helped her recognize some good limits for doing so and there were fewer requests when we weren't out to get toys and less impulse 'i've gotta buy something!' buys.

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#9 of 12 Old 05-15-2012, 11:40 AM
 
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As I was reading your post, I was thinking about my Aspie/ refluxy kid and thinking that you should come on over to the special needs forum.

 

My son also has a hyper-focus on treats and healthy foods can be a challenge both because of the reflux and the Aspergers stuff.

 

I DO find that not letting him get too hungry helps.  With my kid, having a clear routine about when treats happen helps, but I don't know if that will work with your daughter, as she has a different dx.

 

Good luck!

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#10 of 12 Old 05-18-2012, 07:11 AM
 
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I get your frustration about having every outing centered around getting a treat or kids buying stuff. You will think you are out on a nice family outing and then all people care/think about is when are we getting a treat, getting Magic cards etc. It helps me to prep before we leave that these things will not be happening, or if they will be happening, do it right away and get it over with so people (including you!) can move on and think about something else.

Good luck!
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#11 of 12 Old 05-19-2012, 06:32 PM
 
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My oldest is fairly sweets-obsessed (he's 7) and we instituted "dessert night" three times a week. Mon/Wed/Fri I make or buy a dessert and the kids have their treat after dinner (regardless of whether they ate "well" at dinner because I'm trying to take the reward out of dessert). There is no dessert any other time during the week. No stops at coffee shops, no cookies while at the store, etc. THey've grown accustomed to their dessert nights and have stopped asking for treats when out because they know I'll say no. If we get a snack while out its always more of savory snack, not a sweet.

 

It helps because they just don't beg like they used to. Now when my 7yo begs for a cookie I say "Tomorrow night is dessert night, so we'll think about it then." 


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#12 of 12 Old 05-22-2012, 06:42 AM
 
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Lots of great advice here!

 

Two other thoughts:  my four year old also has a huge sweet tooth but I've found that giving her just a LITTLE will cure her nagging (sometimes).  So, saying yes more often but letting her have less.  (like one square of chocolate from a chocolate bar, for example).  Another thing that has helped a lot is adding more sweet elements into dinner.  I have a more savory palate but DD likes PB&J, syrup on waffles, etc... So, I let her have Nutella on wheat bread or PB&J for a snack/treat/ meal.  As such she satisfies her sweet craving and gets some protein and real food all at the same time. 

 

Doesn't help with the nagging though :)


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