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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dd will literally snack all day long. It's so frustrating. She is constantly in the fridge or pantry looking for something to eat. She takes cups of yogurt to other areas of the house ect. I will find spills and such. Then, she doesn't eat her meals. I have never been one to set limits regarding food but this is getting out of hand and it is getting on my last nerve. I am finding boxes of dry cereal, crackers ect all over the house. Empty yogurt cups, applesauce cups, wrappers under or near the couch. She is not hiding them, its just where they land. What can I do? I have tried to set a limit by saying that we have breakfast,snack, lunch, snack, dinner and then maybe another snack before bed depending on what time it is. Isn't this enough? My dd is a little thing, certainly not overweight, just healthy. We buy mostly organic healthy foods. Is it a bad thing to put a limit on the times we eat? For exaple, she may only eat buttered toast for breakfast. I use the good bread theogh. Ezekial (sp?) In less than an hour she is wanting something else. I try to tell her she is hungry because she didn't eat enough at breakfast but she whines and whines.

What is your typical day like food wise for a 5 yr old?? I think the real issue here is she is turning up her nose at mealtimes. Meaning she only wants snack type foods. She used to eat all kinds of chicken dishes I made or steak. Now, she won't even go there. Ugh!!

Yesterday, I bought some organic cookies because I enjoy them. I allow the kids to have some too. lol Today, while on the phone with Hanna Anderson customer service, she brings me the package of cookies and starts screaming for me to open them. Yelling "cookies, cookies". I was so embarrased. I yelled for dh to take care of it. I didn't give her cookies of course but still.

The other day, I bought some organic lollipops. I got so tired of hearing she wanted a lollipop I lost it and threw them in the garbage and took it outside. So you see it's clearly an issue in my house. What can I do? I am tired of the battles.
 

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Wow, for a second there I thought I was losing my mind...I had to check to make sure I didn't write that post, because I totally could have!! I'm going nuts about the same exact thing today!

My 3.5 yr old constantly asks for food...says she's starving even if she'd just finished eating. And yeah, I have a problem with wrappers and whatnot left all over the place.

She isn't and hasn't ever been a big eater and I try not to stress about her constant snacking but the "I'm hungry" whine is getting annoying. I offer her healthy snacks when she does ask though so I guess I shouldn't complain?
 

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Really? Just know that it will pass.


My dd went through this at 6 (she's about 7 1/2 now). She had always been a picky eater and it just went to an absolute extreme and she whined about being hungry all. of. the. time. I know its so frustrating.

I tried some structure and some limits to try to get her to eat well at meal times. I tried many variations of that and really, I just drove us both crazy, created unnecessary power struggles and I felt the beginnings of food issues forming. I decided to let it go. I had healthy food in the house, some healthy treats. I let her eat what she wanted when she wanted it. If she wanted to eat a bowl of grapes for dinner, I let her. If she wanted to eat and PB&J 20 minutes after a meal was served, I let her (natural organic peanut butter and whole grain bread of course!). If she ate nothing but cheese for an entire day, I let her. And I didn't comment on it or get frustrated or enforce any limits. I just let it go.

And lo and behold, she totally turned a corner. She has become much more willing to try new foods, eats a lot more of what I make for meals, has developed some really healthy preferences (her favorite food in the whole world right now is broccoli. She wants it with every meal and often as a meal). And she has stopped being hungry all of the time.

The only thing I'd say, insofar as limitations are concerned, is that it's pefectly reasonable to have designated eating areas and to enforce that food doesn't leave those areas. That would help eliminate your frustration with finding food all over the place. I couldn't stand that.

Also, is she well hydrated? When you don't get enough fluid intake, your body sends you the same signals you get when you're hungry. Encouraging and reminding my dd to drink water helped reduce the amount of times she was whining at me that she was SO hungry five minutes after she ate.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Originally Posted by Shonahsmom View Post
Really? Just know that it will pass.


My dd went through this at 6 (she's about 7 1/2 now). She had always been a picky eater and it just went to an absolute extreme and she whined about being hungry all. of. the. time. I know its so frustrating.

I tried some structure and some limits to try to get her to eat well at meal times. I tried many variations of that and really, I just drove us both crazy, created unnecessary power struggles and I felt the beginnings of food issues forming. I decided to let it go. I had healthy food in the house, some healthy treats. I let her eat what she wanted when she wanted it. If she wanted to eat a bowl of grapes for dinner, I let her. If she wanted to eat and PB&J 20 minutes after a meal was served, I let her (natural organic peanut butter and whole grain bread of course!). If she ate nothing but cheese for an entire day, I let her. And I didn't comment on it or get frustrated or enforce any limits. I just let it go.

And lo and behold, she totally turned a corner. She has become much more willing to try new foods, eats a lot more of what I make for meals, has developed some really healthy preferences (her favorite food in the whole world right now is broccoli. She wants it with every meal and often as a meal). And she has stopped being hungry all of the time.

The only thing I'd say, insofar as limitations are concerned, is that it's pefectly reasonable to have designated eating areas and to enforce that food doesn't leave those areas. That would help eliminate your frustration with finding food all over the place. I couldn't stand that.

Also, is she well hydrated? When you don't get enough fluid intake, your body sends you the same signals you get when you're hungry. Encouraging and reminding my dd to drink water helped reduce the amount of times she was whining at me that she was SO hungry five minutes after she ate.

Good luck!

Ohhh, very good point about the water. She drinks freely. I never really thought about making sure she was getting enough. After I wrote my post I went and searched the boards. I see most people will allow free snacking all day. I think what I will try is setting up premade healthy snacks. I think a lot of my frustration comes from her constantly saying she is hungry or walking past me in the living room with a drippy cup of yougurt. lol Then I have to deal with it and I get mad when I am busy and I just fed her 30 minutes ago. So, I think I will take some time and talk about the areas she is allowed to eat in and have some premade snacks ready to go. She loves things like cherry tomatoes, black olives, carrot sticks. Maybe I could cut some of that kind of stuff up and keep it handy for her in the fridge.

Any other ideas???
 

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My 5 yr old dd was the same way from 3-4 1/2. Except she'd eat meals but want snacks constantly too. One thing that helped was adding more fat to her diet. We have a small frig, so instead of buying one kind of milk for the girls (2%), one for me and dh (skim), I'd just buy 1 % milk for us all. My girls don't like skim milk, and that way I wouldn't run out of milk so quickly for the girls and have to run to the store mid-week. When I began buying 2 % milk for my girls (my younger dd loves milk) I really noticed she'd be more satisfied after a meal. She always has a cup w/breakfast and dinner. That extra fat made a difference. I also began adding more fats to her sandwiches, pasta, etc... I'd put in more cheese, add avocado more often, and to the pasta I'd add some olive oil along w/pasta sauce. The pasta doesn't need both, but my dd does.

She still snacks a lot though. It could be your dd just needs that for her body. My younger dd eats breakfast, has a snack at school, lunch, a snack after school (around 3:20), another snack before dinner (around 5:30), dinner, and often a snack right before bed.
 

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I enforce a "food in the kitchen" rule. He doesn't have to sit at the table for snacks, but he may not walk around dripping food and juice in the rest of the house. I don't care about the kitchen, any mess can be easily wiped up.
I do let him have crackers and dry stuff in the living room, just nothing wet or gooey or drippy. I follow the same rules myself, so I don't think it's unfair to expect it of him.

I know some of my friends think it's too much work to enforce it, but it's become second nature to ds. And I don't have to clean up ick off my furniture and rugs. And I can tell if he's eating out of boredom or not. If he really wants the snack, he'll come in the kitchen for it.
 

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Ds would eat 24/7 if we let him. When I broke my leg and wasn't very mobile anymore(still!) We did designate that kids were only to eat in the kitchen or at the dining room table. 'Special night' on fridays we could eat in the den. Ds does eat almost anything, but we made sure there were healthy things to eat and that he cleaned up his own messes. We still find the occasional apple core and banana skin under a couch, but then ds still needs to clean it up (yucky!!) and in that condition, he usually remembers to throw stuff away for awhile after that!! Oh and no going downstairs to the kitchen before the grownups are awake (he liked to climb on the cabinets to get chocolate chips to eat--scary!). Television priveleges (sp?) are lost for that dangerous infraction.
 

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Is the issue that she is snacking all the time or that she leaves a mess? All of the complaints that you wrote about were either about mess/trash or about being demanding. So maybe its not the eating but the not cleaning up after herself part?

My kids don't hound me for snacks -- they are 4 and 7. They do snack a lot during the day. They know where their snacks are and they are free to get them whenever. But they also know to throw away the wrappers, put the cores in the garbage and so forth. And they ask politely when they need help opening things. Well... mostly, anyway. They are kids after all, not angels. If that were true, would this bother you so much? It took a near endless chorus of "PLease put the trash where it belongs" for a couple of weeks, but they got it.

I don't worry too much about how much they eat for meals because their snacks are generally healthy. If I could do dinner an hour earlier it woudl suit their tummy schedule better. But I can't so they snack and I don't fuss about it.

Shrug. It works well for us.
 

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One thing I did with the kids I nannied for was to take a 12-slot muffin tray and fill it with lots of healthy snacks in the morning, then leave it on the counter or lower shelf in the fridge depending on what was in it (fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers, olives, etc). The kids could eat as much as they wanted from the tray but anything else they wanted they had to check with me (and if the tray was empty they could ask for more). This let them get their own snacks when they were hungry but did limit the more messy/sugary snacks. I also enforced a "sitting at the table" policy. It could be the dining room table, kitchen table or coffee table in the living room (sitting on the floor at the coffee table rather than on the couch) but they had to be a) sitting and b) at an easy-to-clean surface.
 

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I have a low cabinet with "anytime" snacks and cereals, and there are yogurts, fruit, milk and juice in the fridge. The boys can access all of this anytime. They must eat either at the kitchen table or at the coffee table in the family room (there are stools for them there.) They must take care of their own messes.

Once a week I "close" the kitchen for an hour so that I can mop. All hell breaks loose. You would think I was starving them! One. Freaking. Hour.

One thing I have noticed -- they snack more when they are short on sleep. And the tantrums for sweets get especially bad when they are short on sleep. I think they tend to seek stimulation when they are tired -- pretty much like I do when I need coffee! But when they are well rested, they don't demand treats at all. So, I would ask myself -- how is she sleeping lately??
 

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and could she be bored?

i allow all day snacking but no packaged food at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. and right before dinner it has to be a fruit or a vegetable. the reason i do this is b/c if i dont, he will ask for something "real" when i'm unavailable to help (nursing the baby down).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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Originally Posted by nichole View Post
and could she be bored?
I think so sometimes. I notice she does it a lot when she watches tv. So, yesterday, I finally figured out how to lock the channels on the tv. I was trying to do no tv during the day, only while mama fixes dinner. But, she is a smart liitle thing...she figured out how to turn the tv on using both remotes and would constantly turn it on during the day. It was a major battle for us. No more though. Yesterday, she was like "hmm daddy, the tv doesn't work."
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
Is the issue that she is snacking all the time or that she leaves a mess? All of the complaints that you wrote about were either about mess/trash or about being demanding. So maybe its not the eating but the not cleaning up after herself part?
No, not really. I mean, yes, I don't like that part either but the main reason is because I want her to get in other foods and she is not eating her meals. I want to make sure she is getting her protein, fat ect. We drink raw milk here so everyday usually I make her a big cup of chocolate milk using the organic syrup and just enough to make the milk off white. She likes that. BUT her main source is things like crackers, cheddar bootie. She needs to save room for other healthy things and not stuff herself right before her meals.

I decided I am not going to limit the amount of times she is eating. I will be setting a limit before dinner though. Maybe 45 minutes to an hour before dinner, no snacks. I think in the long run controlling the times she eats will just cause trouble. I am going to try and make things and have them ready. Maybe some premade dry snack bags, carrots and dip, fruit, cheese, cherry tomatoes, black olives ect. We also need to do like others posted. Wet, need a spoon to eat items need to stay in the kitichen, period.

Anyone care to list snacks your kids like that are healthy? I really need a chewy granola bar recipe. Please list what your kids snack on.

Thanks everyone!
 

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I personally do not limit the eating. I make sure she is drinking with everyhting, though. I know that when she is growing she eats more. I would limit where she can eat. I do not let me kids walk around the house with food. I hate food messes and like to keep them contained to the kitchen. Good luck!
 

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I would limit were she is eating first. If she takes yogurt out of them room she needs to clean up the spills. You might need to go a week without.

I would also distract her. Tell her to get a drink of water, and wait 5-15 minutes to get soemthing to eat. Sometimes it is thurst or boredom they are feeling not hunger.

The next thing that could be going on is she is eating high calorie foods for snack. This causing her blood sugar to rise, then fall fast. When her body does this it says feed me. If you limit were she is eating you can offer her something that ads good fats and protien that keeps her "FULL".
 

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Another idea is to ease up on the bagged packaged stuff for a while. I swear my ds will eat something just for the packaging. For instance, yogurt. He really doesn't it, but will insist he does, just so he can open one of the little cups and have it all for himself.


We have pre-meal snacks and "treat" snacks. I know this probably isn't popular but I feel it's helpful to us.

Right after a meal, or in the afternoon lull when a meal is a good distance away, ds can choose a "treat" snack. These are goldfish crackers, potato chips, fruit leathers, ice cream, pirate's booty, pretzels. Basically whatever he wants that we have in the house.

If meal is within an hour, he can choose one of the following (just an example). Nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts), sunflower seeds, cheese slices and crackers, peanut butter and crackers, grapes, apple slices, cut up carrots and bell pepper.

This way I'm not saying "no, you can't have a snack" and if he doesn't eat his meal, I don't worry, because I know he's had something nutritious.

Fwiw, he does ask for snacks alot while I'm making dinner, and often fills up on grapes, cheese, nuts etc. I think that's his real hungry time, and when I can move dinner up to an earlier time (this doesn't always work for me), he eats alot.
 

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My kids also enjoy snacking all the time though they usually eat their meals. Once I upped the fat content of their diet it did slack off some. Try adding more nuts, nut butters, cheese and full fat yogurt instead of just fresh fruit. Also, because of cost we don't do individual packs of anything. It does take more effort to prepare and it just slows everything down a bit which is good imo. My kids (ages 10, 8, 4, and 20 mo) are all very long, lean and active so I am not worried about too much fat at this point.
 

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Pears, bananas, granola bars, yogurt, healthy cereal, popcorn(homemade so I know what's in it!);string cheese; plums; nectarines; mango; crackers; ds(6yo) will eat deli meats(ugh!) but dd is veg(8yo); cinnamon toast--it's about60-40% get-it-yourself and mom prep.---I'm in control of the mom prep stuff, but the rest they can get for themselves. Also, they can get their own juice and mix it with seltzer for 'fizzy juice' and water anytime. No snacks in the 1/2hr before dinner, unless I know they haven't eaten in 2hrs or so, or they've been particularly busy or we've been doing errands. Then, as long as it's a piece of fruit, cheese or something we'll be having for dinner, that's fine and they may get a smaller portion at dinner because I know they're not 'starving'.
 

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How about "pre-emptive snacking?"

Immediately after breakfast I cut up fruit, and announce that whoever is dressed can have their "treat". While I'm thinking about what to make for dinner, I put out raw veggies, leftovers, etc. While they are sitting at the computer or TV, I hand them a bowl full of almonds.

I also try not to buy "attractive" snacks, since they are expensive, wasteful, etc. and are more likely to be eaten out of boredom than hunger. Often, if snack involves "work" (actually slicing the cheese, spreading the peanut butter, popping the popcorn, peeling the orange) than they don't bother. Of course, they accuse me of being a mean mommy, but since they are ages 13, 11, and 6, I'm not too offended.
 
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